Each type of olive oil may come in two variants – filtered and unfiltered. As an end consumer, I think it’s important for you to know the difference between the two. In this article, I’ll explore the differences between filtered and unfiltered olive oils, and help you decide which one is best for you.
For most people out there, filtered olive oil is the better choice because of its better appearance, longer shelf life, and more constant taste. For people who like extremely fresh and tasty olive oil, and don’t mind the short shelf life, unfiltered olive oil could be a great choice.
Sometimes, people get confused. First of all, there are extra virgin olive oils, olive oils, refined olive oils, etc. And then, you got to choose between filtered and unfiltered olive oil. Choosing may become a headache.
With all the differences that I’ll explain below, you’ll have enough knowledge to quickly decide which type of olive oil suits you the best – which is my ultimate goal for this article. So, without furder ado, let’s go!
What Is Filtered Olive Oil?
After extracting the oil from the olive paste, there are still some water and fruit particles inside. Since they could affect the shelf life and the taste, people very often furtherly filter the olive oil, to get the most purity out of it.
Filtered olive oil is the type of olive oil that has been through the process of clearing out all the impurities, such as bits of olives, leaves, stems, and water. The result of filtering olive oil is an extended shelf life, clearer color, a more constant taste, and a higher smoking point.
People mostly prefer filtered olive oil, instead of buying unfiltered olive oil. And that’s why most of the olive oils on the market are filtered olive oils.
- The most common type of olive oil
- Longer shelf life
- Milder and more constant taste
- Brighter color
- Better transparency
- Higher smoking point
- Some natural nutrients may be removed too
- Not so fresh taste when compared to unfiltered olive oil
What Is Unfiltered Olive Oil?
The newly extracted oil is called olio nuovo. When you say olio nuovo, people will automatically think of it as an unfiltered olive oil.
Unfiltered olive oil is the type of olive oil that hasn’t been through any filtering process after the oil extraction is done. It still contains all the particles from the olives, including bits of olive flesh, leaves, stems, and water.
Because of lack of filtration, unfiltered olive oil will usually look cloudy and opaque, which isn’t so attractive to most people. Also, those tiny particles left in unfiltered oil will start to oxidize quicker, thus changing the taste of olive oil in no time.
Even though it’s the freshest oil type out there, it’s only available during the first 2-3 months after the harvest date (it’s mostly between November and February). After that, it’ll start oxidizing and losing its fantastic taste.
Unfiltered olive oil (while fresh) is a fantastic choice for olive oil lovers who want to get the full taste of freshly extracted olive oil, especially when we talk about EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and organic olive oils.
- 100% fresh olive oil
- Great for people who like a more intense taste
- Lower smoking point
- Shorter shelf life
- Can look a bit dimly
- The taste will quickly start to change
Which One Is Better?
So, which one should you choose? Actually, there’s no definitive answer to this question.
Filtered olive oil is probably the best choice for most consumers. It has a longer shelf life, which most people prefer. People don’t usually consume too much olive oil, and because of that, filtered olive oil is mostly a smarter choice. Also, if you mind the appearance of unfiltered olive oil which is cloudy, go for filtered olive oil.
If you have your own olive orchard, making just a few liters of unfiltered olive oil is welcoming. You’ll be able to enjoy its full and most natural taste. Even if you don’t grow your olive trees but still want to get the most natural taste of olive oil, don’t hesitate to try unfiltered olive oil (just make sure that it’s as fresh as possible). It’s one of the best choices for making salads and spicing up meat and fish.
Also check out: 3 Best Ways To Neutralize The Olive Oil Taste and Its Bitterness
In the end, it’s all up to you and what you prefer. Also, since unfiltered olive oil isn’t always available (only from November to February), you should take that into account.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it OK to cook with unfiltered olive oil?
Since unfiltered olive oil has a lower smoking point, you shouldn’t cook with it at extremely high temperatures.
What’s the shelf life of unfiltered olive oil?
The shelf life of unfiltered olive oil is only about 2-3 months after the harvest date. After that, it’ll start to oxidize and lose its fruity taste.
How much do unfiltered olive oils cost?
Unfiltered olive oils are usually a bit more expensive than filtered olive oils. The prices usually start from $20/liter and can cost even cost up to $100 for some award-winning olive oils.
Do restaurants use filtered or unfiltered olive oil?
Restaurants always use filtered olive oil. That’s because they’re widely available throughout the year, have a longer shelf life, and people mostly prefer filtered olive oils.