We get questions all the time about frozen or partially solidified olive oil. Is my olive oil bad now? Will it affect the taste or the quality? How do I get it back to normal? Some of us that live in colder states may receive shipments with solidified oil during colder months, and some of us try to refrigerate our olive oil if we won't be using it frequently (Hi Snowbirds!). Regardless your situation, there's a good chance you've been in this situation before.
What should you do!? Don't worry, everything's going to be okay. We're going over why this happens, what it means, and what to do when you encounter a solidified bottle of olive oil.
Why does olive oil solidify?
At about 45-50°F, olive oil can begin to solidify, making it look cloudy or crystallized. As olive oil gets colder, it slowly turns into the consistency of butter. When completely frozen, it becomes a hard, butter-like solid.
Research proves that the solidification of olive oil is a slow and gradual process that takes the consistency from liquid to room-temperature butter to solid. Therefore, even if your package sits on your doorstep, or is in transit for only a couple of days, the cooling process will still begin. Most freight trucks that carry packages with olive oil can be in weather below 37°F, and if the package waits at a distribution warehouse or on your doorstep, the olive oil has even more time to solidify.
Is Solid olive oil bad?
In short, no, there is no effect to the quality of extra virgin olive oil if it is frozen. The solidifying process is completely natural and will not degrade the olive oil in any way. No matter if your olive oil has sat out in the cold for 1 day, or 5 days, it will not have any negative affects on the oil.
Will my oil Return To Normal Consistency?
Yes! There are a number of stages of solidifying when it comes to olive oil. But even if the oil is partially frozen, or a complete solid, the oil will return to its normal consistency. We recommend leaving the bottle out at room temperature, out of direct sunlight until it is completely thawed. You may see some separation in the bottle, but this is completely natural. You may use the bottle as is, or shake the bottle until the sediment is mixed back in with the oil. A cloudy olive oil does not mean a bad oil!
It is not recommended to purposefully freeze or refrigerate your olive oil (except if you're freezing herbs with it), but it may happen in certain instances. It won't harm your oil, and your oil will return to its regular consistency after it reaches room temperature. There is no real reason to freeze your olive oil. It does not preserve or increase its longevity...always remember with olive oil, fresh is best!
Have you every experienced a frozen olive oil? Let us know in the comments below!