Olive Oil Glossary

ACIDITY

Amount of free fatty acids in a food or other substance. In olive oil, measured by free oleic acid content.

ANTIOXIDANTS

Natural or synthetic substances that prevent or delay process of oxidation (process of combining with unstable form of oxygen) that can be damaging to cells and tissues. Help protect body from harmful substances called free radicals (unstable, highly reactive form of oxygen that can attack cell membranes and harm body) Found naturally in body and in some foods.

CENTRIFUGATION

Process used in olive oil manufacturing to separate olive liquid (including water) from oil. Because oil lighter than water, separates by gravity (oil rises), assisted by process of rotating mixture in container.

CHOLESTEROL

A fat-soluble waxy substance (sterol) classified as fat that is the essential constituent of every cell. Made in body and found in all foods of animal origin, not in plants or vegetables. High levels of cholesterol are dangerous for human body. Olive oil is naturally cholesterol free.

Two types of cholesterol:
HDL (good cholesterol)
LDH (bad cholesterol)

CHOLESTEROL FREE

A food item containing less than 2 mg. cholesterol per serving per 50 grams of food. Olive oil is cholesterol free.

DECANTATION

Process of drawing off a liquid without disturbing underlying sediment, precipitate or lower liquid level.

DETERIORATION

Chemically, oils and fats are stable, neutral substances. Two types of deterioration may occur during storage, resulting in color and flavor changes of fats and oils:

Oxidation by exposure to air; accelerated by high temperature and strong light

Hydrolysis, which causes splitting of neutral fat, resulting in free fatty acids; accelerated by presence of water, high temperature, and microbiological agents such as moulds and yeasts.

FAT

Class of organic compounds known as lipids. Insoluble in water. Most concentrated source of food energy. Provides 9 calories per gram (carbohydrate and protein each provide 4)

FATTY ACIDS

Main constituent of triglicerides, basic chemical units (“building blocks”) of fats. Fatty acids can be divided as following:

Monounsatured Fatty Acids: are considered the most healthy among fatty acids because there is evidence that they don’t increase cholesterol in general and decrease LDL (bad cholesterol). Among ordinary fats olive oil has the highest content of monounsatured fatty acids (avarage 77%).

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: a certain amount of polyunsatured fatty acids is needed by the human body, while a huge quantity is dangerous because it leads to cells oxidation. Olive oil has a very balanced composition with the right content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They also reduce the level of LDL (bad cholesterol). Such fats are found in most seed oils.

Satured Fatty Acids: they contribute to increase the level of bad cholesterol in blood. Such fats found naturally in foods of animal origin, including meat, poultry and dairy products, as well as in some vegetable food like coconut, palm and palm kernel oils.

FREE FATTY ACIDS

Occur when acids in mono-, di- and tri-glycerides are broken down into free acids by chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis. Is measurable, e.g. free oleic acid in olive oil.

GLUTEN

Olive oil is gluten free.

HIGH DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN/HDL

See “CHOLESTEROL”

KOSHER

Prepared for use according to Jewish dietary law. The Kosher designation for food indicates that a certified official of Jewish faith has inspected the production facility and found that the source, processing and handling of the food satisfies Jewish dietary regulations

(U): indicates that the certifying organization is the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (333 7th Ave., NY, NY 10001)

PARVE (P; ALSO PAREVE): Indicates that a food is made without milk, meat or any of their derivatives.

LIPIDS

Term used for cellular waxes, fats and fat-like substances characterized by one or more fatty acids. In body, fats (or lipids) combine with other substances to form compounds:

– Glycolipids (carbohydrate)
– Lipoproteins (protein)
– Phospholipids (phosphate)
– Cholesterol

LIPOPROTEIN

Molecule of protein-coated fat and cholesterol. Since fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) not soluble in water, lipoproteins needed to circulate them throughout body.

Lipoproteins of medical and dietary interest classified according to size, composition and density (High, Low or Very Low).

LOW DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN/LDL

See “CHOLESTEROL”

MONOUNSATURATED

See “FATTY ACIDS”

OLEIC ACID

Most widely distributed of all fatty acids. Found in almost every vegetable and animal fat. Rich sources are olive and peanut oils.

OLIVE OIL

Obtained from pulp of olives (fruit of olive tree; genus Olea europaea sativa)

Contains 77% monounsaturated fat. Is naturally cholesterol free. Prominent in Mediterranean diet, to which many potential health benefits have been attributed.

OLIVE OIL, EXTRA LIGHT TASTING

Pure, very mild oil with only hint of olive flavor and aroma. Like all pourable oils, Extra Light Olive Oil has 120 calories per tablespoon. This term is a flavor designation. Commonly used as a substitute for other cooking oils. Used for baking and excellent for sautéing and stir frying.

OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN

First cold press olive oil, which meets exacting taste and aroma standards and has acidity level of less than 1%. Characterized by a rich and fruity flavor. Used where a full extra virgin olive oil flavor will be appreciated.

OLIVE OIL, PURE

Characterized by a full-bodied and mild flavor. Used for sautéing, stir frying and pasta sauces.

OLIVE OIL, STAIN REMOVAL

Put cloth on flat surface, preferably on towel. Cover stain with thick layer of cornstarch, salt or baking soda. Allow to sit until dry ingredient begins to cake. Scrape off with table knife and discard dry ingredient, which will have absorbed most of oil. Launder as usual, in hottest water recommended for fabric.

OLIVE POMACE OIL

Extracted from remaining olive and fruit debris with aid of solvents, refined and then blended with virgin olive oil to add flavor. Usually least expensive olive-derived oil but may not be sold as “olive oil”. Production limited and continues to decline due to advances in olive pressing technology.

ORGANOLEPTIC TEST

Testing, especially of foods, by using sense organs to evaluate flavor, odor, appearance and even “mouth feel”.

OXIDATION

In fats and oils, process in which unsaturated fatty acids react with oxygen, resulting in rancidity.

POLYUNSATURATED

(See “FATTY ACIDS”)

RANCIDITY

Off flavor in edible oils and fats, or in manufactured food products, caused by oxidative deterioration.

REFINING

Process of removing impurities. In pure olive oil processing, involves removal of free fatty acids and other components providing aroma and flavor.

SATURATED

See “FATTY ACIDS”

SHELF LIFE

Olive oil naturally lasts for a very long time (ca. 15 months if properly stored), keeping its natural properties due to the presence of natural antioxidants in the product.

SMOKE POINT

Temperature at which smoke becomes visible as oil is being heated. Depends on content of free fatty acids and other volatile compounds in oil. High smoke point desirable, especially when using oil for frying. Smoke point of Olive oil is generally higher than other vegetable oils. In general pure olive oil has the highest smoke point.

STABILITY

For fats and oils, refers to resistance to deterioration.

STORAGE

It’s very easy to store olive oil because if you store it closed in a dark place, at room temperature, it has a natural resistance. Remember that storing olive oil in the fridge can cause partial/total solidification although it doesn’t affect the quality.

VITAMIN E

One of the fat-soluble vitamins (Others are A, D and K; vitamin C and B-vitamins are water-soluble). Functions as antioxidant in the body, protecting cell membranes. Natural component of olive oil.

Source: Bertolli


This article was last updated November 29, 2014 - 7:32 PM (GMT-5)