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Susan W
Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Dr. Wang from UC Davis said that the refrigerator test is not reliable. Unfortunately without taking your oil to a lab, there's no sure way to tell. She did say that the date of harvesting should be within 12-15 months of harvesting and that it should be packaged in a dark bottle to protect it from light which could cause rancidity.

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drbabs
drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Thanks, Susan. It is in a dark bottle, dated, and doesn't smell off or rancid, so I guess I'll just chalk it up to a normal variation.

Susan W
Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Absolutely. She doesn't go into why it's not a reliable test, so it could be that refrigerators are not all kept at 40 or below which is what all the people who advocate this test requires. My fridge is definitely colder in some spots, so that could be a factor as well. I just put my California Olive Ranch bottle in my fridge just for fun. I'll check it tomorrow.

Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Nancy is a food writer, historian, and author of many books, her most recent being Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin.

added over 3 years ago

The refrigerator test (widely promoted by Dr. Oz, apparently) is completely unreliable. Olive oil will clump together, but only if it's kept cold long enough, and in my experience there's always a certain percentage of oil that stays liquid in any case. So even if your oil stays liquid (and how long did you leave it in the fridge?), that's no proof that it's not extra-virgin. It might also be that mixing the oil for salad dressing (with vinegar? with lemon juice?) could have an effect on its reaction to cold. But I'm convinced that if it looks good and tastes good, it most probably is good. One thing to check for: Does it have a harvest date on the label (not a "use by" date--a real date of harvest)? That's one of your best guarantees of the quality of the oil.

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drbabs
drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Thank you, Nancy. I'm honored that you answered my question. Yes, there is a harvest date of November-December 2013 on the bottle, and it tastes and smells fine. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

drbabs
drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

oh, and I had no idea about the Dr. Oz thing; I've just noticed that when I use good olive oil in a salad dressing and refrigerate it, the olive oil separates into a solid layer on the top.. this didn't.

ChefJune
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

drbabs: I have the same experience with salad dressings made with extra virgin olive oil.

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Alison
added over 3 years ago

I've read that only unfiltered olive oil goes solid.

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