In this article we would like to explain what the acidity of extra virgin olive oil is.
Some people confuse acidity with the intensity of its flavour, but did you know that the acidity of extra virgin olive oil can only be detected in a laboratory?
What is acidity?
Acidity is one of the quality indicators of extra virgin olive oils. It is the amount of free fatty acids in the oil. The lower the acidity of an extra virgin olive oil, the better, as low acidity indicates that the oil has been made from healthy, fresh olives.
Of the fatty acids present in extra virgin olive oil, there are two that are essential for human life: oleic acid and linoleic acid. Extra virgin olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed directly virgin and raw.
The acidity value of extra virgin olive oil is detected exclusively in a certified laboratory by means of a specific test.
There are many people who associate the acidity of an olive oil with the intensity of its flavour, but this is a mistake. Possibly this confusion is due to the fact that this acidity is related to one of the basic tastes: sweet, salty, acid (sour) and bitter, when in fact they are not related.
Percentage of acidity according to olive oil
In another of our articles we talked about all types of oils, from the worst to the best, and on this occasion, we would like to review this classification by looking only at the acidity of olive oils suitable for consumption:
- Olive oil: it has a maximum acidity level of 1.5%. This oil is marketed as “mild” or “intense”, but you should bear in mind that most of it has a high percentage of refined oil.
- Virgin olive oil: the degree of acidity is usually above 0.8%, and should not exceed 2%.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: has a maximum acidity of 0.8%. This is the main difference between virgin and extra virgin olive oil.
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If you want to know in depth the elaboration process you can do it in the article about the elaboration of extra virgin olive oil that we have published in our blog.
The acidity of EVOO under the Protected Designation of Origin Estepa
The Estepa PDO is the most demanding when it comes to certifying extra virgin olive oil. For this reason, acidity is another of the parameters where the Designation of Origin Estepa is strict.
The PDO Estepa requires its certified oils to have a lower acidity level than that stipulated by international regulations, specifically, it must be less than or equal to 0.3%.