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Why does olive oil solidify?

3 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

There are hundreds of ways people use to determine the quality of olive oil. Solidification is one of the methods people like to use. However, is that even a good method to determine the olive oil quality? In today’s article, I’ll talk about why some olive oils solidify, and others don’t. That way, you’ll fully understand the topic, and whether it’s a good or bad technique to determine the olive oil quality.

Olive oils solidify when they reach the cloud point. It’s usually around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius). At low temperatures, waxes and some fatty acids will congeal, and thus make the olive oil solidified. Depending on their properties and nutrients, some olive oils naturally solidify quicker than others.

Solidification may occur due to various reasons, which I’ll explain below, so make sure to read the whole article. Once you do, you’ll be able to understand why do olive oils solidify, and whether it’s good or not.

To solidify means to go from a liquid to a solid state. When you cool most olive oils, they’ll solidify due to low temperatures. But, what’s the reason for that?

The longer-chain fats and waxes in the olive oil congeal at lower temperatures, causing the cloud effect. Some olive oils naturally have larger amounts of longer chain fats and waxes, making them solidify quicker.

So, the oil that has more long-chain fatty acids will cloud earlier than the one that has fewer fatty acids. It can be due to seed cultivar, ripeness of the fruit, environmental factors, etc.

There’s a myth that only high-quality olive oils will solidify. Even I believed in that just a few years back. However, that’s only a myth, and the solidifying method can’t be used to determine the olive oil quality.

Even though you can’t determine the olive oil quality by its solidification properties, it could be a good indication that some further processing has been done. However, the real olive oil properties and quality can only be checked in the lab.

Many companies will winterize the olive oil, so they don’t reach the cloud point so quickly. Mostly, that’s because many customers were unhappy with olive oil solidification (they thought that the olive oil have gone rancid because of it).

Most extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) will solidify quicker. That’s because it’s the least processed olive oil that usually has plenty of long-chain fats. Again, that’s not always the case. Depending on the olive fruit properties, it may or may not contain plenty of these long-chain fats and waxes.

Some low-quality olive oils may not solidify because of the extreme processing they’ve been through in the making process. Some low-reputable companies will even add other types of oils inside (sunflower oil, canola oil, etc.) which are more resistant to solidification and low temperatures.

You can prevent the solidification of olive oil, but not completely. At some point (extremely low temperatures), the olive oil will always become cloudy and solidified. However, there are methods people use to prevent solidification.

The first method is to winterize the olive oil. Winterizing olive oil means removing the waxes and long-chain fatty acids in order to prevent the oil from solidification. Mostly, olive oils used for dressings are winterized. Check the guide on winterizing olive oil.

Another method is to add a bit of canola oil to the olive oil bottle. Canola oil can hold up to lower temperatures without solidifying, and if you mix some of it with olive oil, the overall solidification resistance will be higher. I don’t recommend you do this method since it’s ruining the overall olive oil quality.

Even though it’s not recommended to keep the olive oil in the fridge, some people still do it, and they have solidified oil all the time. If you’re worried about the olive oil that’s solidified, you don’t have to be. Solidify state is only temporary, and the olive oil can easily be returned to a liquid state again.

Naturally, when you put the bottle of olive oil back to room temperature again, it’ll return to a liquid state in a few hours. However, don’t expect it to happen in 10 minutes. If you plan on using solidified olive oil, make sure to take it out of the fridge earlier.

If you need to unsolidify olive oil quickly, you can even pour the olive oil bottle into the warm (not hot) water for a few minutes. That way, it’ll return to a liquid state quicker. Just take a pot, pour some warm water in it, and put the olive oil bottle inside.

Lastly, I just want to speak about keeping the olive oil in the fridge. Keeping the olive oil in the fridge is not recommended, and you shouldn’t do that. There are a few reasons for that:

I know that the fridge is usually the easiest place to keep the olive oil, but that’s not the way you should do it. I have written a thorough guide on storing the olive oil, so make sure to check it out and learn the right ways of storing olive oil, especially once it’s opened.

I hope that now you know why some olive oils solidify, and others don’t. The answer isn’t so simple and straightforward, but it’s easy to understand. The most important thing is that now you know that determining the olive oil quality due to solidification properties is a myth.

If you’re looking for the best ways to recognize high-quality olive oil, I have a perfect guide for you, so make sure to check it out. How To Recognize High-Quality Olive Oil (The Guide)

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J Phillipps
Answer # 2 #

The short answer is yes, all olive oil does solidify if the temperature gets cold enough. Around 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit, the natural wax particles in the olive oil will begin to precipitate out of the oil, making it look cloudy or crystallized.

Inderjeet Anumolu
Answer # 3 #

Considering how frequently we use olive oil, it makes sense that so many home cooks keep the bottle right next to the stove within arm's reach. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in regards to keeping your favorite ingredient fresh. Olive oil deteriorates and turns rancid more rapidly when exposed to light, heat, and air—so storing it next to the hot stove (and under the bright overhead lighting) is just about the worst place possible. Here's all the must-know information from the olive oil experts at Bertolli on keeping olive oil as fresh as possible.

Avoid bright light and opt for a tinted bottle.

At the grocery store, reach for a bottle at the back of the shelf, where the oil is shielded from fluorescent light. Be sure to buy brands bottled in dark-colored glass or plastic to help prevent ultraviolet rays from penetrating the bottle. (If you do buy oil in clear glass, wrap the bottle in foil when you get home and keep it covered.) Long-term exposure to light can affect flavor, too, so store EVOO in a dark cupboard or cabinet to prevent oxidation.

Keep the bottle closed.

In the midst of cooking it's easy to set a bottle of olive oil down, unopened, for some time. But leaving the bottle open–or even not secured tightly–allows air to easily access the oil which accelerates the oxidation process and therefore, could cause the oil to turn rancid. Keep yours tight at all times for optimal freshness.

Keep it cool – but not in the fridge.

EVOO exposed to warm temperatures will begin to oxidize and eventually turn rancid. Bottles should be stored away from heat but not in a cold place that will cause the oil to solidify. Bertolli's olive oil expert, Paul Miller, recommends storing olive oil around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use it or lose it.

Myra Deora