The Science Behind Olive Oil: Quality, Extraction, and Preservation

The Science Behind Olive Oil: Quality, Extraction, and Preservation

Have you ever wondered why some olive oils taste better than others, or why chefs rave about certain brands? It’s not just about the olives themselves—there's some serious science that goes into making each bottle of olive oil. From tree to table, let's unpack the art and science that makes olive oil a GREAT olive oil.

Quality Standards: More Than Just Fancy Labels
First things first, not all olive oils are created equal. The journey to premium quality begins with strict standards that categorize oils by their chemical composition and flavor profiles. 

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), the crown jewel of olive oils, must meet rigorous sensory standards and have perfect acidity levels—no more than 0.8%! Higher quality means more heart-healthy antioxidants and fewer processed fats.

How Olive Oil is Made: The Extraction Saga
The method used to extract oil from olives can be as influential as the olives themselves. Traditional methods involve crushing olives into a paste, slowly churning (or malaxing) to allow tiny oil droplets to amalgamate, before separating the oil from the pulp via a press or centrifuge. 

This cold-pressing method keeps the oil less than 27 degrees Celsius, ensuring maximum flavor and nutrient retention. No heat or chemicals means the oil retains its natural vitamins and antioxidants—just as nature intended. 

And that’s how we do it at Saratoga Olive Oil Co.!

Chemistry and Freshness: What’s In Your Bottle?
The chemistry of olive oil is fascinating! It contains polyphenols, which are natural antioxidants that not only contribute to the distinctive flavors but also to the oil’s shelf life and health benefits. Polyphenols are the secret agents fighting against oxidation and rancidity, making freshness a key player in the quality of olive oil.

Storing Olive Oil: Keeping It FRESHER than fresh
So, how do you keep olive oil fresh? Light, heat, and oxygen are the arch-enemies of olive oil. Store your bottles in a cool, dark place away from stove heat and not in clear containers. Even the best olive oil can go bad if stored improperly!