Comparison: filtered and unfiltered olive oil

If you consume olive oil regularly, you may be wondering if the fact that it is filtered or unfiltered makes a difference in the quality of the oil. Let’s try to answer this question in this comparison between filtered and unfiltered olive oil.

Both types offer some benefits, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide which one to choose. Below is a list of some of the advantages of each type, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

You may have heard of people buying only unfiltered olive oil because they claim it is superior, but ask yourself: Is this really the case?

Olive oil is obtained by squeezing the fruit of the olive to extract its juice, as you probably already know. In order for the olive to become the oil we know and love, it must first be cleaned, ground, kneaded, separated and then, if necessary, filtered. These are the processes that need to be taken.

The most important distinctions are the following:
Olive oil that has not been filtered is hazy because it still contains bits of olive and also because it still contains water. After a certain period of time, this sediment will eventually fall to the bottom by itself (called pouring). Unfiltered olive oil has a shorter shelf life than filtered olive oil because the remaining olive particles continue to ferment in the bottle. For this reason, unfiltered olive oil should be consumed as quickly as possible for the best flavor.

Although some oils settle more quickly than others, this is in no way indicative of the quality of the oils. This depends on the type of olive, the amount of moisture present in the olive, the depth of the oil, the temperature at which it was stored and a number of other parameters.

Since the filtered olive oil does not retain particles from the olive, it has a completely transparent appearance. To filter the oil, it is passed through a thick layer of cotton fabric or a mesh filter. Since the filtered olive oil does not contain any fermenting olive particles, its shelf life can be extended up to a maximum of two years.

When it comes to positive health effects, any option is excellent. You may have heard that olive oil contains something truly useful and that that something is a plant molecule known as polyphenol. Fatty acids are known to have non-polar polyphenols, which can be dissolved in them, while vegetable water is known to contain polar polyphenols. Olive oil that has not been filtered will retain both of these polyphenols, while olive oil that has been filtered can only retain non-polar polyphenols.

Significant differences
The only significant difference between filtered olive oil and unfiltered olive oil is the length of time each can be stored before becoming unsuitable for consumption. No matter which olive oil you choose to buy, you will still receive a sufficient amount of the antioxidant benefits, as well as the delicious flavor of olive oil. We will always advise you to safeguard it from the following potential risks:

  • heat
  • light
  • air

These are the three things that are harmful to olive oil and the easiest way to protect it is to store it in a dark bottle, in a dry, ventilated and not exposed to air (well sealed) and light (just like wine).

In summary – recap
Olive oil that has been filtered is generally considered to be of higher quality, has a longer shelf life, and has a more nuanced flavor than olive oil that has not been filtered; however, the two are not interchangeable. Olive oil that has been filtered does not include any of these leftover fruit particles, unlike olive oil that has not been filtered. While the differences aren’t huge, it’s important to point them out. It is possible that if you try both, the degree of difference between the two will surprise you.