Glossary of Terms
Balsamic Vinegar - A sweet and tangy aromatic vinegar made from the must* of white Trebbiano grapes and aged in various wood barrels. Think wine- the more aged, the better. Trebbiano is a white grape, generally used in making balsamics. It typically has a high yield and great acidity. Traditional balsamic can only be sold in 100 ml. bottles which are identical based on two exclusive regions of production, Emilio Reggiano or Modena Italy. Furthermore , it is never, sold in other types of bottles outside of the 100ml, and certainly never in bulk, EVER! *Must is the freshly pressed juice of the grape containing skins, seeds, and stems.
Cold Pressed - Extracting oil through a cold-pressing procedure involves neither heat nor chemical treatments since it only involves obtaining the seed's oil by crushing it. Cold pressing is simple and does not require much energy. In fact, when oils are produced under lower temperatures (below 122˚F), they retain far more antioxidants and nutrients than they would at higher temperatures.
Condimento This is a quality labeling term used for Balsamic Vinegars, meaning the balsamic was made using the highest quality and traditional methods of balsamic production without supervision by the Consortium. This term allows the product to be sold in larger than 100ml bottles.
Expeller Pressed - If you see that term, it means it’s a good oil to buy. But Why? Expeller-pressed is the way the oil is made. The way it is extracted from the nut or seed. Basically, it means that it gets literally squeezed out of the item in one single step through the use of an intense force. Oils that are expeller pressed are squeezed from the seed through a barrel-like cavity by using friction and continuous pressure. This can produce higher temperatures (140-210˚F) even if there isn't any direct heat added during the process. Though this method contains higher temperatures than cold pressing, it does not use any additional chemicals, like some other processes do in order to obtain larger quantities of oil.
Free Fatty Acid - The lower, the better. The IOC requires that this number be below 0.8 in order for an olive oil to be considered Extra Virgin grade. Our average is about 0.18! Also, the lower the FFA, the higher the smoke point of that particular oil.
Oleic Acid - In order for an oil to be called extra virgin olive oil, the Fatty Acid Profile must be comprised of at least 55% Oleic Acid. The higher the oleic acid, the better. Our average oleic acid content is around 77%! Because your body will absorb any peroxidized fats that you consume and incorporate them into your cells, oleic acid’s superior resistance to free radical attacks also protects your cell membranes, proteins, and DNA from being damaged, even as it protects the oil from spoiling.
Peroxide Value - (PV) This number must be equal to or less than 20. This is the primary measurement of the rancidity of a particular extra virgin olive oil. Peroxide value is affected by procedures used in processing, and storing of the oil. Peroxide is responsible for color and aroma changes as the oil oxidizes. Our average PV at time of crush is around 3.2!
Polyphenols - Antioxidant substances that we measure in Extra Virgin Olive Oils. The higher the better! Polyphenols extend the shelf-life of an oil & also determine the “style” in terms of bitterness and pungency. Generally, when an oil has a high polyphenol count (presented in parts per million), it will have more “pepper” or more “bitterness”. Many consider polyphenols to be free-radical “scavengers”.
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".