Is frozen olive oil safe to eat?
Well, I like my ice-cream sweet, not savory.
But if you plan on waiting to defrost it, then…
Yes. It is safe to eat. Frozen olive oil is nothing to worry about.
I answered a related question on my blog earlier, specifically whether the olive oil “fridge test” can prove if your extra virgin olive oil is real or fake.
The way the test works is to leave your olive oil in the fridge over night. After about 8 hours you’ll start to notice that your olive oil is cloudy, and that just like molasses it will move very slowly around the inside of your bottle.
After a full day, your olive oil will be frozen solid.
The fridge test test doesn’t prove anything by the way, because all oils freeze at different temperatures. Oil molecules in the same mixture don’t even freeze at the exact same time. Imagine a glacier. It just doesn’t form all at once.
In fact, there is no correlation between monounsaturated fat content and freezing point. For example, both hemp seed oil and extra virgin olive oil solidify at about -7°C. Extra virgin olive oil is about 79% MUFA and hemp seed oil has a paltry 13% MUFA.
Anyway, a few customers of ours at Selo Oils have asked us whether the nutrient content of their extra virgin olive oil was compromised after receiving a frozen bottle.
The short answer is NO. We do scream at Canada Post and USPS when this happens (because they probably let some propuh into the truck), but other than worrying about the blood vessels popping in my neck as I scream at my phone, you have nothing to fear.
The long answer? Freezing your olive oil may even strengthen its aromatic profile.
Olive oil is an extraordinarily robust fruit juice so freezing temperatures just won’t affect its nutrient content.
If you don’t believe me, then I encourage you to read some research by Mulinacci et al (2013).
Basically, a bunch of very smart chemists from Italy discovered that freezing extra virgin olive oil for 12-18 months improved its aromatic profile compared to olive oil stored in the dark at room temperature for the same period of time.
The recorded nutrient differences were statistically negligible, though the frozen olive oil did preserve slightly more of its nutrients on some trials.
So, nothing to fret. If you’re not into olive oil-flavored popsicles then I recommend placing your olive oil in the pantry for a day or two if you receive it frozen or accidentally left it in the fridge over night.
And everything will be back to normal.