We at LIVO Olive Oil have had a love of Olive oil for years but one of our primary interests in Olive Oil, the health benefits, seems neglected.
That's not to say that many of the olive oils out there are not good for you, but the available olive oils in supermarkets and online neglect 2 things: freshness and high polyphenol level. Most olive oils are a blend from different olives to achieve a milder/bland taste for the widest possible taste appeal and the oils don't reach consumers until months or even a year (or more!) after harvest.
We want the FULL benefits of a Mediterranean diet and we're pretty sure that the heart healthy people living in the mountain villages of Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, and Italy etc. get their olive oil FRESH and usually from ONE olive variety. We decided to solve these 2 issues for ourselves, our family, and our friends, and now for you too. The taste is ROBUST and even slightly bitter! Be ready for it!
One of our team members is actually out at the harvests with a mobile milling operation and has first hand exposure all harvest long with the olive conditions, varieties, and readiness.
When the Olive oil that we anticipate will have the best Polyphenol content is ready, we have our own means of testing the content. No two oils are alike and even the same variety of olives produced in the same region may produce markedly different polyphenol levels depending on how the trees have been irrigated, age of the trees, and soil differences. We seek the highest polyphenol level possible and to get it to you as soon as possible. That's it, that's why we're different.
What Affects the Phenolic Content in Olive Oil?
Phenolics vary according to olive variety, time of harvest, soil condition and weather patterns. For example, bio-diversity within the grove adds to the richness of the soil and the nutrition available to the olive fruit.
Rains, drought or winds have greater or lesser impact on phenolic content and amount of olive oil produced depending on when they occur during olive fruit maturation.
For the Producer
For the Purchaser
Considering that olive oil is, in fact, a juice makes the volatility of the phenolic compounds more understandable. It is for this reason that storage and transportation as key factors in the optimum integrity of high phenolic olive oil.
It has been found that the phenolic content tends to have a preservative affect and drops very little in the space of a year if the olive oil has been properly stored in tanks, sealed (usually with nitrogen) and kept below 16 degrees Celsius prior to bottling. That being said, we don't live in a perfect world and in any case, all data about the natural preservative effect of polyphenols aside, WE WANT OUR OLIVE OIL FRESH FROM HARVEST !
NMR tests of thousands of olive oils at the University of Athens over the past five years indicate that an expected attrition of phenolic content under correct conditions is expected to be between 5 – 20% over a year.
Olive Oil properly stored in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks topped with nitrogen to eliminate contact with oxygen.
It is incumbent upon the producer, as part of quality control to properly store the olive oil, to test the olive oil at time of bottling and provide that information on request – or on the label where allowed by federal agency.
If you are purchasing high phenolic olive oil for its health benefits, then you are taking a daily portion as well as using it liberally in your cooking and food preparation. In this case the oil is being used up quickly, well before the Best Before Date.
However, your care of the olive oil after it is opened is critical to minimize the loss of the phenolic content and preserve the integrity of its health benefit.
Light, heat and air are the enemies of any olive oil. Storing olive oil in a cool dark place will prolong its qualities of extra virginity (acidity) and high phenolic content.
That means store it in small dark bottles 250-1000ml out of the light in a cool/cold place, replace the cap right away after use and don’t leave it by the stove while cooking!
Phenolic compounds will simply evaporate from an open bottle within a short period. If you purchase a large quantity, it is advisable to either store the container in the refrigerator and dispense to serve, or decant from the large container into smaller bottles and store in the refrigerator with the fruit and vegetables.
Sometimes the oil solidifies and in this case running warm water over the outside of the bottle for a few moments will usually suffice to 'thaw' out just enough oil to use at that time.