As it gets colder, you may find sludge, gel, particulate, “creamy stuff”, coagulation, etc. in our olive oil. Our suppliers tell us that after 80 years of receiving concerned calls beginning in the colder months of fall and winter, this is a topic worth discussing.
However, we would like to take some time to talk about how extra virgin olive oil behaves when exposed to cold. When extra virgin olive oil reaches 55 degrees, it will typically begin to cloud. At 50 degrees most olive oils really begin to set up, at 45 degrees it can become a gel, and any colder, it can look like a solid block. This doesn’t just happen in one fell swoop, however. There is a evolution from liquid to solid beginning at the bottom of the container and working upwards. In many cases, it will look like two separate substances in the same container where the solidifying olive oil meets the still liquid olive oil with floating pieces of solidified olive oil in the liquid olive oil. This process is due to the naturally occurring waxes inside the olive and its pit becoming solid. Different olives have different amounts of these waxes which dictate how readily they will turn from liquid to solid, and at what temperature. In other words, no two olive oils set up exactly the same when exposed to cold.