Is Unfiltered Olive Oil Better for You?

It may have a murky look, but unfiltered olive oil is still olive oil, a product admired by many for its versatility and health-giving perks. But you may be on the fence as to whether or not you should give it a try.

Unfiltered olive oil is better for the body in that it has more polyphenols. This means that the oil is more effective in protecting healthy cells from free radicals. Unfortunately, unfiltered olive oil doesn’t look as pretty as the filtered kind because it’s cloudy. It has a shorter shelf life, too.

Read on if you are thinking about adding a bottle of unfiltered olive oil to your shopping cart.

In this post, we will talk about some of the most important things everyone who is planning on welcoming unfiltered olive oil to their kitchens needs to know.

unfiltered olive oil

What is Unfiltered Olive Oil?

Unfiltered olive oil, as the name suggests, is olive oil that has not undergone a mechanical filtration process. The product is bottled and then sold to consumers almost immediately after the olives are cold-pressed. Like filtered olive oil, unfiltered olive oil is delicious, versatile and healthy.

One look and it’s plain to see that unfiltered olive oil is not like filtered olive oil.

Because it didn’t go through a filtration process, which usually involves the use of cellulose pads or diatomaceous earth, unfiltered olive oil has a cloudy and somewhat opaque appearance.

Fret not because it doesn’t mean that unfiltered olive oil isn’t pure and clean. What’s responsible for its slight murkiness is the presence of residual olive fruit particles and a little moisture, too, both of which are removed through a mechanical filtration process, resulting in filtered olive oil that many consumers are familiar with and fond of.

Refrain from assuming that unfiltered olive oil is rancid because it’s not uncommon for olive oil to appear cloudy when it’s bad — the murkiness of unfiltered olive oil is perfectly normal for this olive oil type.

Is Unfiltered Olive Oil Healthy?

Unfiltered olive oil is slightly healthier than filtered olive oil. That’s because unfiltered olive oil contains olive pulp, which is packed with polyphenols — plant compounds with powerful antioxidant properties. Some polyphenols do not dissolve in fat or oil, which is why they remain in olive pulp.

First things first: olive oil is considered the healthiest type of all plant oils known to man.

This means that despite being murky and looking like rancid olive oil, unfiltered olive oil is good for your body like filtered olive oil. As a matter of fact, it is widely accepted that it’s slightly better for you!

What makes unfiltered olive oil a little more health-giving is that it packs more polyphenols than filtered olive oil. Residual olive fruit particles in unfiltered olive oil contain polyphenols just like the oil they are floating in. Those polyphenol-rich particles, meanwhile, are filtered out before filtered olive oil hits the shelves.

But it doesn’t mean that health-conscious individuals should turn their backs on filtered olive oil and switch to unfiltered olive oil. It’s important to note that polyphenol levels in a bottle of olive oil, whether unfiltered or filtered, can be affected by factors such as the types of olives used and where they were grown.

Related Article: List of Olive Oil Brands You Should Avoid

How Do You Store Unfiltered Olive Oil

Unfiltered olive oil should be stored just like filtered olive oil — placed in a cool and dry place, away from kitchen appliances that produce heat. Industry experts agree that unfiltered olive oil should be stored at temperatures between 55°F and 60°F (13°F and 16°F) to keep it from going rancid quickly.

Olive oil, no matter the type, starts to age the minute that olives are processed and the oil produced is bottled.

This is why storing the product the right way is of utmost importance. High-quality filtered olive oil is good for 18 to 24 months after bottling — it can still be consumed after the best-before date, but it’s no longer good.

Unfiltered olive oil, on the other hand, should be consumed within 12 months from the moment that it’s bottled. It has a shorter shelf life than filtered olive oil because of the particles of olive present in it.

Eventually, those tiny bits of olive fruit floating in unfiltered olive oil will decompose, causing the entire product to go rancid.

In addition, olive pulp also contains a small amount of moisture — it’s no secret that olive oil should be protected from the elements, including water, to keep it from going bad faster than usual.

But the good news is that unfiltered olive oil doesn’t require any added care and treatment. Like filtered olive oil, it’s a good idea to store unfiltered olive oil where it’s cool and dark, like in a pantry or kitchen cabinet.

And also, its bottle should be capped tightly to keep air from getting in and wreaking havoc on the highly perishable content.

Since unfiltered olive oil tends to perish at a faster rate, it should be consumed as quickly as possible.

Worry not if you can use a bottle of unfiltered olive oil occasionally only. That’s because you can always keep it in the refrigerator to extend its natural shelf life.

It’s also possible to keep a bottle of unfiltered olive oil in the freezer. Freezing will surely cause unfiltered olive oil to solidify. However, when thawed, unfiltered olive oil can be used as usual.

But always keep in mind that olive oil, unfiltered or otherwise, ages more and more the further the bottling date gets.

olive oil and Italian bread

Uses of Unfiltered Olive Oil

Unfiltered olive oil can be used like filtered olive oil. The product has a high smoke point of 374°F to 405°F (190°C to 207°C), which makes it a safe choice for most cooking methods, including frying and roasting. Unfiltered olive oil can also be used for dressing and seasoning as well as for topical uses.

It’s true that, as mentioned earlier, unfiltered olive oil appears murky and is slightly more nutritious than filtered olive oil. However, you can use unfiltered olive oil just like you would filtered olive oil.

Needless to say, it’s great for making dressings, sauces, dips and so many others.

As a matter of fact, some people agree that unfiltered olive oil has a slightly bolder and richer taste — it’s all because of the residual olive fruit particles present in it. However, because of its appearance, some may feel that filtered olive oil is the better choice when it comes to food-preparation purposes.

Thanks to its high smoke point, you can use unfiltered olive oil for cooking. But to keep the loss of health-giving flavonoids to a minimum, it’s a good idea to use the product for low-temperature cooking methods.

Related Questions

How many types of olive oil are there?

Five primary types of olive oil exist. They are extra virgin oil, virgin oil, refined oil, pure olive oil and olive pomace oil. They have different smoke points, which is why some are best for seasoning and dressing while others can be used for cooking. Different types of olive oil undergo different methods of extraction.

Can you freeze olive oil?

Olive oil can be stored in the freeze, where it will keep for 18 to 24 months longer. It will begin to solidify around 54°F (12°C) and will return to its normal consistency when thawed. There will be no significant change in the texture, flavor and nutrient profile of olive oil after it is frozen and thawed for cooking, dressing, seasoning, etc.

Read Also: Truffle Oil vs. Olive Oil?

Just Before You Buy a Bottle of Unfiltered Olive Oil

Unfiltered olive oil is just like filtered olive oil. However, unlike the latter, it has not undergone a mechanical filtration process. This is why it appears cloudy and almost opaque — it still contains olive pulp, which is great news for individuals who are health conscious and want to benefit from the presence of more polyphenols.

You can use unfiltered olive oil just like you would the filtered kind.

However, it tends to go rancid at a faster rate than filtered olive oil. This is why you should keep a bottle of it in a cool and dry place and consume it within 12 months.

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