Customers often ask us about the difference between filtered vs unfiltered olive oil. Over the past few years, there has been a huge increase in the amount of olive oil consumption, and with that has come webpages upon webpages of misinformation about the product. Both products are delicious and have an appropriate time and place and one is not necessarily good or bad. As slow as olive trees may grow the industry must move fast in order to ensure consumers are receiving the best quality product possible.
Filtered vs Unfiltered Olive Oil, What Is The Difference?
Filtered olive oil goes through a mechanical filtration process. Filtration removes olive particles, sediment, leftover water, and some defects from olive oil. Filtration can also lower the polyphenol levels of extra virgin olive oil. Filtered olive oils moves from the mill, to the filter, to the bottle and then is sold to consumers.
Unfiltered olive oil does not go through a mechanical filtration process. It moves from the mill to the bottle and is then sold to consumers. The polyphenol content remains high.
Benefits of Unfiltered Olive Oil
Unfiltered olive oil is incredible because it contains the highest polyphenol content and health benefits that olive oil can offer. In fact, the polyphenol levels of freshly milled olives are highest immediately after milling. Unfiltered olive oil truly is like fresh pressed fruit juice. It should be used and enjoyed as quickly as possible.
Problems With Unfiltered Olive Oil
As delicious and wonderful as it is, unfiltered olive oil is not a very shelf-stable product due to the high olive particle and sediment content. This can problematic because once the product degrades to a certain point it becomes rancid. It degrades at a much higher rate than filtered oil. Therefore, unfiltered olive oil should be purchased immediately after milling and consumed within 3 months or less of the milling date (not to be confused with the bottle date). Once an olive oil degrades and becomes rancid it is very unpleasant on the palate and not recommended for human consumption.
Is Unfiltered Olive Oil Considered Extra Virgin?
No, unfiltered olive oil is not usually considered extra virgin because it contains too many defects and degrades too quickly. While the product is delicious and enjoyed by chefs, home cooks, and food enthusiasts globally, it is not technically considered extra virgin olive oil.
An important thing to note, extra virgin olive oil has many standards it must meet in order to be considered extra virgin so while a brand may produce olive oil it may not produce EVOO.
Benefits Of Filtered Olive Oil
Filtered olive oil is an extremely shelf-stable product because most potential contaminants such as sediment and water have been removed. In addition, it also has a high polyphenol content which remains consistent for longer. When shopping for filtered olive oil simply search for extra virgin olive oil. In order to qualify for the term extra virgin, all extra virgin olive oil is filtered. EVOO maintains its exceptional quality for 18 months after the milling date. However, it’s always best to use extra virgin olive oil sooner rather than later to avoid the risk of it going rancid.
If you’re interested in purchasing regular olive oil instead of extra virgin, know that it is almost always commercially produced. It’s a product that is always filtered but will not have the same health benefits as extra virgin olive oil.
Problems With Filtered Olive Oil
If we’re being honest, there aren’t a ton of problems with filtered olive oil. The only main con to filtered oil is that the polyphenol level slightly drops during the filtration process as sediment and water are removed. However, this is a necessary step because it creates a very shelf-stable product that we enjoy year-round!
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