Is My Oil Bad If It Looks Like Butter In The Winter

Posted by Alexa Ketterling

Do you live somewhere where it is cold out? In the wintertime, does your olive oil become a thick, buttery consistency?

Well, here is the good news: this does not mean the oil is bad! Have no fear — it is an easy fix, and you won’t need to be concerned about the oil quality or need to replace it.

There are a few simple ways to get it back to its original liquid state.



How Do You Thaw It?

To bring the oil back from a solid state (like butter) to its natural liquid state, you will need to thaw the oil out by bringing it back up to room temperature.

There a few different things you can do to thaw out your oil. The first thing to note, though, is that this process doesn’t happen overnight; it can take anywhere from 1 day to a week. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Move product to a warmer area of the warehouse
  2. You can put the container into an enclosed “warm room”
  3. If packed in smaller containers, you can put it in a hot water bath
  4. You can use heating blankets or warming wraps for 55 gallon drums


Why Does Olive Oil Solidify? 

Olive oil will naturally solidify in cooler temperatures. This process happens gradually when the air around it is cool, though the official freezing temperature it is estimated to be between 35-40 degrees.

That being said, the freezing process may not only occur in your warehouse location — so don’t think you are off scott-free if your warehouse is heated. It can also freeze in a shipping truck on the way to your door, or even during shipping vessel during overseas travel.

oil temperatures affected by delivery in the winterIf you think about the different states a freight truck has to drive through (depending on the time of year, especially during winter) they will experience different — VERY COLD — weather. This means that while your warehouse may be warm, the freight trucks could be carrying the oil through weather far below the freezing range of 35-40 degrees.

Most warehouse locations in the wintertime are also not heated fully to room temperature. Many locations, especial in open or unused parts of the warehouse, may be kept below 50 degrees. Remember that the solidification process is gradual, and oil can begin to solidify making it cloudy (as particles begin to crystalize) around 45-50 degrees.

You will find that as it gets colder and colder, it will start to have a very butter-like consistency. When it becomes completely frozen it will be like butter you would pull out of your freezer.


In Conclusion

When you pull butter out of the freezer, you know it is not bad — it just needs to be thawed. That is really the same for your oil. Yes, it might be a very hard butter consistency, but the quality still remains good. If you allow it the time it needs to thaw, your oil will be back to its liquid consistency in no time.

Just make sure this winter you are allowing extra time in between oil purchases, in the event that your oil comes to you and still needs time to thaw.

Topics: Food Manufacturing



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