WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OLIVE MY HEART’S EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL AND WHAT I CAN ALREADY GET?

We have the some of the FRESHEST extra virgin olive oils in the world, which is CRITICAL. The longer olive oil sits, the more it deteriorates in terms of potential health benefits and flavor. Not all of the extra virgin olive oil out there is high quality. Some of it is diluted or worse, and the U.S. doesn’t have classification standards in place to help consumers determine the difference. (If anything, labels are confusing). Our extra virgin olive oils are tested and exceed the norms for freshness and quality (testing results can be found with specific product information). It’s like the difference between instant coffee and Starbucks. Once you understand what high quality olive oil is, you won’t accept stale, refined or defective olive oil anymore.

CAN YOU REMIND ME WHAT THE POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL ARE?

Substituting olive oil for other fats may keep hearts healthy, reduce inflammation, lower the risk of certain cancers, and assist with controlling diabetes and weight gain.

Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat; it lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) without affecting good cholesterol (HDL). Saturated and trans fats — butter, animal fats, tropical oils and partially hydrogenated oils — do the opposite.

SUBSTITUTION TABLE

Butter/Margarine  > Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon  > 3/4 teaspoon
1 tablespoon >  2 1/4 teaspoons
1/4 cup >  3 tablespoons
1/3 cup >  1/4 cup
1/2 cup >  1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup >  1/2 cup
3/4 cup >  1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup >  3/4 cup

OLIVE MY HEART’S OILS HAVE BEEN ‘TESTED’ … HOW SO?

Knowing the chemical composition of an olive oil reveals a lot about its potential health benefits and shelf life. Many factors affect an olive oil’s composition — time of harvest, ripeness, time lapse before crushing, and of course, the variety of the olive. At crush time, we like to test our extra virgin olive oils for four things: free fatty acids (FFA), peroxide, oleic acid, and polyphenols. The first two are what you want little of; the latter you want loads of!

CAN WE HAVE THE HARD NUMBERS?

Sure!

Each of our oils is comprehensively tested for free fatty acids (FFA) and peroxide — both considered to be indicators of freshness and quality.  As an olive oil begins to age or decompose, the level of each of these compounds will rise. In terms of olive oil, less is better, so it’s desirable to purchase oil containing the lowest values of each of these compounds.

The international standard for FFA levels found in extra virgin olive oil is less than 0.8%.  Our supplier doesn’t purchase any oil with an FFA level above 0.3%; in fact most of our oils have an average FFA level of 0.19. That’s 75% less than the international standard.

The standard for peroxide levels is less than 20. Our oils have an average peroxide value of 6.1 — less than a third of the international standard.

Conversely, our supplier hunts for oils with significantly higher levels of polyphenols and oleic acid.  In this case, higher is better!  Polyphenols and oleic acid are naturally occurring compounds found in all extra virgin olive oil.  Both have been proven to be very powerful antioxidants.  Polyphenol intake is associated with lower incidence of cancer and coronary heart disease.  There is also conclusive evidence that oleic acid can cut a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by 45%.

Additionally, oils high in phenols stay fresh longer and are generally more robust. (Thus, the rankings of mild, medium or robust on our EVOOs. The polyphenols leave a peppery finish — if you do not experience this quality when tasting — you can be assured it is either old oil, or not extra virgin).  The standard range for polyphenols is anywhere from 50-300 PPM (parts per million); anything above 300 is considered high. The average level of polyphenols in our oils range from 150-600 PPM!

The oleic acid content in any extra virgin olive oil must be higher than 55. You will find ours consistently run above 70 or better.

WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MANY EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS IN YOUR STORE? DO I REALLY NEED MORE THAN ONE BOTTLE OF OLIVE OIL ON HAND?

You’ll have to taste it to find out! (Online customers, you’ll see what we mean)! Thirty years ago, most American consumers couldn’t tell you how they liked their coffee roasted, or whether they preferred a Merlot to a Shiraz. Nowadays, people are very particular about these things. They know exactly what they want when they walk into a coffee house, and carefully pair their wines with dinner. We hope to accomplish the same understanding with olive oil.

To that end, we carry around fifty extra virgin olive oils, specialty oils, aged balsamic vinegars, and also spices. Customers will probably be most curious about all the ‘fused’ or flavored oils we carry.

Part of the experience at Olive My Heart is to taste as many oils and vinegars as you’d like! So if you’re in town, stop by! It is truly a unique experience.

OLIVE OIL IS ALREADY KIND OF EXPENSIVE, AND OLIVE MY HEART’S COSTS A LITTLE MORE. WHY?

Quality standards are so loose in the U.S., that the ‘kind of expensive’ stuff in the grocery store, may not even be what it claims to be on the label. Freshness is critical when you’re talking about olive oil. The longer it sits, the more it deteriorates in terms of health benefits and flavor. Our supplier imports from both hemispheres, which allows us to offer the freshest oil possible, year-round. Your money is buying some of the best available extra virgin olive oil on the market.

HOW SHOULD I STORE MY OLIVE OIL?

Olive oil is perishable — if it sits for too long, or is exposed to light, air or heat, it’s going to degrade and eventually turn rancid. Keep it in a dark pantry or cupboard.