Let us hesitate no longer: it is time to ask ourselves what low acidity really means and learn more about the information printed on the labels of olive oil. Bottles of extra virgin olive oil in particular may bear the claim Low Acidity. An extra virgin oil obtained from ripe, healthy olives using appropriate harvesting, pressing and storage methods, will generally possess a very low degree of acidity, less than 1%. Low acidity is the parameter that best summarizes the chemical quality of an oil.
However, assessing an oil on the grounds of its level of acidity level is like judging a wine on its alcohol content. Nobody would ever claim that a bottle of wine with an alcohol percentage of 13 is better than one with a content of 12.5%. When we choose a wine, others are the factors that we take into account, and the same should be true for oil, especially if you consider that acidity cannot be detected by our senses. The feeling of pungency or piquancy that we often encounter in new oils, does not depend on their pH level. A pungent oil is not necessarily very acidic, but it does however contain a lot of polyphenols, i.e. antioxidants that are extremely beneficial to our health. These compounds are responsible for the pungent, bitter tang that is so typical of extra virgin olive oil.