Filtered vs Non Filtered Oil
For some years before we started to get to know Extra Virgin Olive Oil properly, we bought our oil in clear glass bottles with a beer-bottle cap and an attractive cloudy appearance. I’m just telling you this, so that you don’t feel rubbish if you have done the same.
Of course, we subsequently found out that dark glass bottles are essential to preserve the quality of your oil, as are the highest possibly quality screw caps and ideally bottles of 50cl so that you use them up within a relatively short window, reducing the risk of oxidation.
Filtration of extra virgin olive oil is however still something we debate. This is probably because of my background in wine – it’s personal of course, but I like my wines to be lightly filtered at best with a bit of texture and I also enjoy unfiltered wines very much as they reveal more of the true character of the site, grape and vintage. That said, there is nothing I like less than a wine or oil that is faulty. It is wildly frustrating, especially if you don’t have a direct replacement to hand.
I’ve talked extensively with Olive Oil producers about filtration and although many of them offer un-filtered oil as an option, the general consensus is that if you want to ship oil abroad then you really must lightly filter to ensure the oil is stable and will arrive in the best possible condition. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is freshly pressed, uncontaminated juice and therefore it is living. And the great thing about modern technology is that very light filtration is achievable without stripping the oil of its qualities or goodness.