Glossary of Terms
We realize navigating all the information about olive oil and vinegar can be confusing, so we've put together "olive the facts" here for you!
Balsamic Vinegar A sweet and tangy aromatic vinegar made from the must* of white Trebbiano grapes and aged in various wood barrels. Trebbiano is a white grape, generally used in making balsamics. It typically has a high yield and great acidity. *(must isthe freshly pressed juice of the grape containing skins, seeds, and stems. The solid portion of the must is called pomace; it typically makes up 7–23% of the total weight of the must. This is the first product used to create balsamic vinegar.) Use balsamic vinegar to make your own salad dressings, pour over cheeses and fruits, dress your veggies and proteins, deglaze your pan for a simple pan sauce, flavor your mixed drinks or lemonade and teas, jazz up yogurt or ice cream. Mix into your mayonnaise or sour cream for custom spreads!
Solera Method A process for aging balsamic vinegar. The product is passed through 5 to 9 barrels made from various woods (cherry, chestnut, ash, and more), providing flavor and in some cases, color. In balsamic vinegar making, each consecutive barrel must have residual amounts of aged balsamic left inside to continue the process. Solera means literally "on the ground" in Spanish, and it refers to the lower level of the set of barrels used in the process; the liquid is transferred from barrel to barrel, top to bottom, the oldest mixtures being in the barrel right "on the ground".
Cold Pressed After the olive fruit is harvested, within 3-4 hours, they are pressed at a cool/ room temperature in order to maintain their integrity and freshness. Typically this yields a smaller quantity, but higher quality end-product. Continual heating and re-heating of the olives after crushing lends to diminished benefits, as the olive oil degrades. The actual term "cold-pressed" is now seen as outdated and confusing.
Extra Virgin Olive oil that is made from the first pressing of highest-quality olives. It is a grading scale. You can think of it simply like the USDA grading of meats. Extra virgin olive oil is like USDA Prime versus a lower quality "pure" or "virgin" olive oil like USDA Select.
Mild Intensity A term describing the lowest level of flavor intensity of olive oil. These oils will be delicate and smooth, yet bright with floral or fruity notes. Grassy flavors blend with notes of green banana or green apple peel. Great for fish or eggs and salad dressing or hummus.
Medium Intensity A term describing the mid-level of flavor intensity of olive oil. Being a nice "middle of the road" intensity, you can use these oils for any cooking application or raw use, such as finishing oils for pastas or a salad dressing. They are grassy and some what fruity with a small peppery kick from the antioxidants.
Robust Intensity A term describing the highest level of flavor intensity of olive oil. You'll find our robust EVOO to be high in antioxidants, giving the oil that highly desirable bitter and peppery finish. Perfect for sauteing, roasting or a simple finish to your bruschetta or crostini.
Fused olive oil is created by crushing ripe sound olives with whole fresh fruits, herbs or vegetables. For example, in the winter, citrus fruit is picked at the peak of ripeness, split in half and then thrown in with the olives. The olives and fruit are then crushed simultaneously. This process allows the essential oils from the citrus peel to mingle with the oil from the olives.
Infused olive oil means that the flavor has been added after the oil was made. All of BCOO infused olive oils are paired with complementary natural essences, including spices, fruits and herbs. .
Hemisphere Sourcing Our olive oils are sourced from both Northern and Southern Hemispheres, giving us the ability to offer you the freshest olive oil anywhere. The Northern Hemisphere includes countries like Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and the US (California), and typically harvest and crush in the months of October and November. The Southern Hemisphere may include Australia, Chile, Peru... with their harvest usually occuring in May and June. We strive to provide the freshest oils possible at Bull City Olive Oil, and "follow the harvest."
Free Fatty Acids The lower the FFA, the better. We have set the ceiling for our EVOO's at < .08%. The higher the FFA the greater the indication of damaged fruit, overripeness at time of harvest, insect infestation, overheating during production or too much of a delay between harvest and crush.
Oleic Acid A monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in olive oil. Olive oil is generally higher in oleic acid than other vegetable fats. The range found in extra virgin olive oil is between 55-85%. Think of oleic acid as the defender, fighting off oxidation.
Peroxide Value / Oxidation A very low peroxide value is desirable. Unsaturated free fatty acids react with oxygen and form peroxides, which create a series of chain reactions that generate volatile substances responsible for a typical musty/rancid oil smell. These reactions are accelerated by high temperature, light, and oxygen exposure. This reveals a low quality oil that likely used heat to extract oil from the olive fruit.
Polyphenols A class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods. Polyphenols such as Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, and hydroxytyrosol impart intensity connected with pepper, bitterness and other desirable flavor characteristics. Recent studies indicate that these potent phenols are responsible for many of the health benefits associated with consuming fresh, high quality extra virgin olive oil. Phenols in olive oil decrease over time or when exposed to heat, oxygen and light. Consuming fresh, well made olive oil with high polyphenol content is crucial when looking to obtain the maximum health benefit commonly associated with consuming extra virgin olive oil.