Filtered or Unfiltered Olive Oil? Making the Choice

February 7, 2022

Ever wonder what the difference is between filtered olive oil and unfiltered olive oil? Having a hard time choosing which type of olive oil you’ll bring home to your kitchen?

To understand the difference between filtered and unfiltered, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how extra virgin olive oil is developed.

After the olives are picked and washed, they get ground up into a paste that is then stirred in a process called malaxation, which results in a separation of the oil from the solids and water. This paste then gets sent into a centrifuge, where the oil is further separated from remaining solids and water, and then into a second, higher-speed centrifuge to complete this separation process.

Once the oil is removed from that second centrifuge, it is now considered brand-new extra virgin olive oil that is ready to use. At this point, it is unfiltered oil, which contains a few of the remaining olive fruit particles and water. These particles create a sort of cloudy, hazy appearance, characteristic of unfiltered oils.

Additional processes for filtration

Now you know the general process used to create extra virgin olive oil and what unfiltered oil is. But what needs to be done to create a filtered oil?

To filter the oil, it needs to go through an additional step of production that will further separate the olive oil from remaining fruit particles. To achieve this, the oil will be sent through filter media (typically cellulose pads or diatomaceous earth) to capture particles of the fruits and water that may still be suspended in that extra virgin olive oil.

In a process known as racking, the olive oil rests in large, stainless steel drums for a certain time to allow the last remaining bits of sediment to settle down to the bottom of the tank. The clean oil is then pumped into a brand-new tank, where it no longer contains sediment or any of that hazy appearance associated with unfiltered oil. At this point, the oil is officially considered filtered.

Why do people have preferences?

Unfiltered oil and filtered oil are both categories of olive oil, but one simply has more particles or moisture than the other. Why do people have a preference regarding which oil they will purchase and use in their homes?

The biggest point in favor of filtration is that it is more stable than unfiltered oil because it lacks those particles and moisture. Without those elements still in the oil, there’s no concern about them potentially fermenting within the oil. This means the oil will last longer and better preserve its flavor.

However, some believe unfiltered oil has a richer flavor because of those remaining fruit particles. The difference in flavor, though, may disappear within a couple months. This is a very subjective issue that’s completely up to personal preference.

Others choose unfiltered oil because of its additional polyphenol compounds, meaning you can get more antioxidant properties out of such oil. This difference may not be significant, but it does exist. Finally, some simply prefer the hazy appearance of unfiltered oil.

For more information about the differences between filtered and unfiltered olive oil, contact us today at Liquid Manufacturing Solutions, Inc..

Categorized in:

Liquid Manufacturing Solutions, Inc.