Can Olive Oil Be Refrigerated?
Disadvantages of refrigerating olive oil
The most noticeable drawback of chilled olive oil is that it congeals into a thick, turgid substance. The oil is unsuitable for meals like salads in this crystallized state because it won’t drip.
Olive oil is a liquid at room temperature, which is seldom as warm as the human mouth in most countries. This means when frozen olive oil enters a human’s mouth, it is bound to warm up and turns into liquid. Unfortunately, the warming process is uneven and can result in an unpleasant taste and, most likely, an unhappy culinary experience.
Many studies strongly suggest that repeatedly removing and returning olive oil to a refrigerator stresses the oil and shortens its shelf life. This is due to repeated oxidation (when oxygen in the air mixes with fatty molecules, causing the oil to lose its cohesion, consistency, and flavor).
Since using it congealed isn’t preferred, a final disadvantage of refrigerating olive oil is that you must wait for the oil to warm up. No one wants to wait around for their olive oil to warm up.
How to properly store olive oil
With refrigerating your olive oil not an option, what’s the best way to store olive oil? We’ve got a few recommendations…
- To help prevent spoilage, we recommend storing your olive oil where it’s dark and in a well-sealed container. Olive oil and oxygen don’t mix well together. On top of that, a poorly sealed container could potentially allow for bugs and other unwanted substances to get into your olive oil.
- Store olive oil where it is dry, along with air, moisture is the oil’s worst enemy. As water hydrolyses its fatty molecules, turning them into horrid-looking clumps of goop that neither you nor any dinner companions would willingly eat.
In brief, store olive oil in a cold, dry cupboard in a sealed container. For best results, we recommend using a pour spout to seal the container, especially one with a separate intake for air and a flap to keep the tap closed when oil isn’t pouring out of it. Contact us for more information on olive oil pour spouts!
Refrigerating olive oil myth
There is a persistent rumor that refrigerating olive oil will help you tell whether you have authentic olive oil. This in fact isn’t true.
Manufacturers of genuine olive oil produce liquids with different chemical compositions. Each composition acts differently when refrigerated. Thus, there isn’t a way to use refrigeration to distinguish that quality of olive oil.
In short, should you refrigerate olive oil?
While it’s completely up to you, we highly recommend not refrigerating your olive oil. When stored in fridge-cold temperatures, olive oil forms crystals and turns solid. In this hardened state, olive oil is difficult to pour out of an open-topped container and even impossible to use out of a pour spout.
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