But what is acidity and why is it a factor when it comes to the overall quality of the product?
Acidity is the percentage in weight of free oleic acid in relation to the total quantity of oil. So basically it’s all about the total amount of fatty acids the oil contains.
When the oil is naturally generated within the olives (if you are interested in learning more about the types of olives please check out this post
) triglycerides are being formed. Each triglyceride is made up of three fatty acids linked by a molecule called glycerol. During the production of olive oil, any potential oxidizing atmosphere would lead to a breakdown of that link between the glycerol and the three fatty acids. This causes the fatty acids to be released and consequently, the olive oil starts degrading as the olives are under the production process, and the pulp comes in contact with the air and exposed to oxidation elements. Most vegetable oils including olive oil are weak acids. They are not soluble in water, hence their acidity cannot be measured in terms of pH levels. It is usually estimated in percent free acidity.