basic characteristics and qualities
of EXTRA virgin olive oil
Defining the quality of olive oil is a complicated process. It is not very difficult to understand that the quality is not the defining value, especially when it comes to food, there are all sorts of criteria to live up to: taste, colour, smell, physical and chemical composition , nutritional, therapeutic, cooking qualities etc.
However, information or cultural habits unify the criteria and, with support from the commercial sector, which needs a fixed reference in order to establish any kind of economic relation, over time will create rules that define the concept of quality olive oil.
In the case of olive oil, it can be said that the maximum quality is that which is obtained when the fruit is ripe and healthy before its harvesting. Olive oil from Lower Aragón is an oil that comes from healthy and ripe olives of the 'empeltre' variety, that has an extraordinary colour and flavour.
Olive oil from Lower Aragón, is made principally from Empeltre olives.
The quality criteria that's followed for olive oil depends on the following physical and chemical characteristics that give out accurate and objective values as:
- Acidity: This is the main reference used by consumers, as is indicated on the package labels. Keep in mind that this data can be misleading if it's not taken into account whether it is virgin or refined oil .
The acidity is a measure of the free fatty acids present in the oil. A high rating of acidity in oil means that the oil has undergone certain changes with consequent effects on the aroma and flavor. The acid value of virgin oil does not usually exceed 0.5%.
- Peroxide: indicates the amount of active oxygen that the olive oil contains and reflects its risk of oxidation and its preservation state. Virgin olive oils for consumption musn't exceed a peroxide measurement of 20 ( 20 milliequivalents of oxygen per kilogram of oil).
- UV absorption: This is the K-270 index. This parameter is used to detect compounds containing unsaturated oil. An extra virgin olive oil should not exceed the value of 0.20, and in ordinary fine virgin oil, the value should not exceed 0.25. This figure also indicates the purity of the oil because the interference of industrial processes lead to the development of other different fatty acids that increase the absorbance.
- Moisture and volatile substances: As an indication of a good manufacturing process, the presence (even in small amounts) of water and other volatile substances which promote the process of rancidity should be avoided . Regulations only accept 0.15% in moisture and volatile substances.
- Organoleptic characteristics: These are the characterisitics perceived by the consumer; features such as color, smell and taste. They are determined through the tasting of the olive oil . It should be noted that the extra virgin olive oil meets the highest standards of quality. The quality of the oil isn't relative to a specific physical or chemical property such as acidity, through refining processes we can achieve oils with a lower acidity than natural oil, but this does not mean that they are of a better quality.
The extra virgin olive oil from Lower Aragon is a high quality natural oil.