Why Do Some Olive Oils Solidify and Others Don’t?

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If olive oil solidifies, that is a high-quality product; I’m sure you’ve heard it a bunch of times. In this post, I’ll show you that that’s not always the case, and more importantly, I’ll show you why some olive oils solidify.

Key Takeaways:

  • Olive oils solidify when they reach the cloud point (ca. 40°F or 5°C).
  • Waxes and fatty acids congeal, making the oil solidified.
  • Some olive oils naturally solidify quicker than others.
  • If the olive oil solidifies, it may be a sign that it’s a good oil, but other things should be checked as well.

What Does „To Solidify“Mean?

bottle of olive oil in winter, illustratin

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 quickly.

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.  

Do Only High-Quality Olive Oils Solidify?

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 had gone rancid because of it).

Most extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) will solidify quickly. 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.

Can You Prevent Solidification of Olive Oil In The Fridge?

pouring olive oil to spoon

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 solidifying. 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.

How To Revert Olive Oil To Liquid State Again?

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. The solid-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 into it, and put the olive oil bottle inside.

Keep The Olive Oil Away From The Fridge

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:

  • Olive oil will solidify, and you won’t be able to use it straight from the fridge.
  • It’ll be exposed to the light much more.
  • It may reduce the longevity of olive oil (it may become rancid quicker).

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 olive oil, so make sure to check it out and learn the right ways of storing olive oil, especially once it’s opened.

Final Words

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

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