Do you ask yourself what the differences are between pure unfiltered extra virgin olive oil and what is unfiltered but decanted and one which is totally filtered?
In the lines that follow, we’re going to answer this question.
Let’s get started. And we’re going to do so by defining what unfiltered extra virgin olive oil is.
If the choice is made not to filter the olive oil at all, you can see by simply looking at it that it contains a huge quantity of impurities.
A really clear example to help you to understand: it’s the same as when you squeeze an orange and see the pulp. We can see then that unfiltered extra virgin olive oil is the juice of olives. It contains between 1 and 3 percent impurities.
Is this bad? No. What is certain is that you’ll enjoy all of the aroma and flavour of the extra virgin olive oil as long as you consume it less than 3 months from when the olives were ground.
Advantages of unfiltered and decanted extra virgin olive oil
At Masía El Altet, annual production of extra virgin olive oil is 55,000 litres approximately and given that we we market all of our production the same year as the harvest, we choose not to filter but to decant, a purifying process which takes around 2 months in an inverted conical-shaped stainless steel tank to make work easier.
For that reason, we start putting it on the market at the beginning of the following year.
Harvesting takes place at the end of October and after these months of purifying have passed, we start the marketing campaign.
Every day, some litres of olive oil juice with sediment (containing bits of the stone, water, pulp, …) are extracted.
This could seem strange but for us, it’s the best method since if we were to filter the olive oil through cellulose filters, it would lose a tiny bit of its colour, aroma and elements beneficial for health, among them, polyphenols.
Unfiltered extra virgin oil ages more quickly
The consequence of this is that the unfiltered extra virgin olive oil ages more quickly and for that reason, it should also be consumed earlier.
If you choose to buy this type of oil, you must take more care storing it and be even more careful in ensuring that it isn’t exposed to light and heat.
So, it has to be said that it’s a bit risky to buy it from supermarket shelves. And we’d also recommend that you consume it before six months have elapsed.
In contrast, our bottles can be in your home unopened for up to a year and you won’t notice any difference.
Some more advice. If you choose pure unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, it’s much better to buy it directly from a cooperative or an oil mill since it will be better conserved and fresher than what you’d get in a supermarket.
You must look carefully at the year when harvesting took place. If you see that it’s from the previous year, don’t buy it.
Ask and observe in what conditions it’s been stored. Bad conditions in this aspect will accelerate ageing and it’s possible that when you get it home, it won’t be fit for consumption.
Reasons for buying unfiltered but decanted olive oil
At Masía El Altet, we’re convinced that for consumption in the same year, the best oil is that which hasn’t been filtered but decanted and for the following reasons:
1. It lasts longer than pure unfiltered oil
We’ve already said it in what has gone before. Through our system of decanting, we maintain intact all of the oil’s important properties.
Properties connected to aroma and flavour and also to the magnificent effects it has on people’s health.
The impurities that exist in 100% pure unfiltered extra virgin olive oil can produce a type of fermentation which can lead to a deterioration in quality. This deterioration can sometimes happen very quickly.
2. Increased flavour
It’s true that unfiltered decanted extra virgin olive oil has become fashionable. And it’s no less true that there have been campaigns to persuade the consumer that unfiltered oil has more flavour than filtered.
But we have to aware of the fact that the flavour of the oil depends on many other factors.
An oil with flavour is the one whose fruit has been harvested at the right moment. In our case, it’s before the olive has started to change colour when the olive is still green on the tree.
The flavour is also predetermined by the way in which it’s transported to the mill or by the use of the best technology in the food sector.
3. A greater quantity of extra virgin olive oil
If you buy a litre of a filtered extra virgin olive oil, you’re buying a litre of pure oil.
If you buy extra virgin olive oil which has been neither filtered nor decanted, you’ll never have a litre because you’ll have to take into account the impurities present in the bottle. For that reason, with filtered oil, the quantity you’re buying is greater.
4. A question of aesthetics
A question of aesthetics can obviously be subjective. A bottle of filtered oil has a much better appearance than one of unfiltered oil. The latter will always have a somewhat cloudy aspect and it’s much denser.
There are various ways of carrying out the process of filtering an oil, with cellulose filters being the most recommendable.
In filtered and purified extra virgin olive oils, only the sediment is eliminated and the flavour of the best extra virgin olive oils is maintained.
We don’t remove any of the flavour and besides, we guarantee that they are more stable and that means that we can even cook with them up to a temperature of 180 degrees.
We store the purified olive oil in small stainless steel tanks at a fixed temperature which means that its properties can be much better conserved.
They can be consumed up to 18 months after bottling although we would recommend that they should’t be consumed after a year has gone by.
In summary, pure unfiltered extra virgin olive oil presents disadvantages compared with olive oil which has not been filtered but has been purified as we’ve seen during this post.
The big advantage of oils filtered with cellulose is that they last longer and better than the year of harvesting.
Have you already tried unfiltered virgin olive oil? Which do you prefer, unfiltered or filtered? We’d love to know your opinion. Let us know in the comments section.
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