Which is the difference between filtered and unfiltered olive oil? Filtered Vs Unfiltered Olive Oil
Some producers of extra virgin olive oil produce unfiltered olive oils. We will try to explain the differences with filtered ones, and why we produce unfiltered olive oils.
The difference between filtered and unfiltered olive oil is that unfiltered one contains some solids in suspension and small amounts of water from the olive fruit.
From an organoleptic point of view, we have heard many and different opinions: from that unfiltered olive oil is more flavour intense, that in filtered olive oils aromas can be detected much better. These are some of the opinions given by recognized experts in our sector of activity.
Our point of view, after some tasting, is that the differences of aromas and flavors, after filtering properly, are not significant. You can form your own opinion by filtering an unfiltered olive oil at home. Just use a coffee filter. You will see that the olive oil produced is quite more translucent. Obviously, industrial filters are different but this homemade experiment is a good approximation.
One of the advantages of unfiltered oil with a turbid appearance is that the consumer has the security that the olive oil is fresh and that has been produced in the last season, from olives harvested in the last year. That is because unfiltered olive oils decant naturally in tanks as it is explained here. This process takes between 4 and 10 months (there is not an exact period of time, because it depends on the temperature and the variety), and after decantation, unfiltered olive oils have the same appearance that filtered ones.
Another interesting feature of unfiltered olive oils is that preserves additional polyphenols in the small amounts of water that were not removed. Polyphenols are components of great antioxidant activity and therefore very desirable to be included in the diet.
In the olive there are two types of polyphenols: non polar polyphenols that are dissolved in the fatty acids, and polar polyphenols, which are found in the vegetable water. During the olive oil production process, non-polar polyphenols are retained in the olive oil and the polar ones are removed with the water. So, the unfiltered olive oils, with small parts of water, contain both, polar and non polar polyphenols.
Not everything was going to be favorable in the unfiltered olive oil. Apart from the disadvantage of their less attractive appearance compared to those olive oils that have been filtered, another disadvantage is their conservation, therefore it is recommended to be consumed in the same year, because the unfiltered olive oils decant into the packaging. After a period of time these solid remains could transmit any undesirable aroma to the olive oil, although, neither the olive oil never has been damaged for its consumption nor harmful to your health. Therefore it is recommended to be consumed as fresh as possible and not do it after more than 12 months from its packaging.
Filtered and unfiltered olive oils from Las Valdesas
In Las Valdesas we elaborate filtered and unfiltered olive oils, but they are not usually available all year round.
During the oil production campaign, between October and December approximately, we have all unfiltered oils available, but it is possible that we still do not have them available filtered.
Between January and May, most likely we have both filtered and unfiltered oils available, depending on the variety.
During the summer and September months, we will have mainly filtered oils.
You can check on any page of our packaging, which varieties are available filtered and unfiltered. (for example, the 2.5-liter can)
If you are interested in any variety that does not have the type you want (filtered or unfiltered), you can leave us your email and we will notify you when it is available.