How to Discover If Your Olive Oil Is Real Or Fake

Olive Oil

About 6 weeks ago I told you about a simple test that determines whether or not your olive oil is real. It turns out the test is not reliable.

How do I know? Read this comment that was left on that blog post:

Okay….so I read this blog last night and thought…hey…I can find out some answers on this. I have some pure olive oil…and I know it is pure because the olives were picked by me from trees on my property. Once picked they were brought into the house, washed, crushed(in a meat grinder), mixed by my kitchen aide and then pressed by my new olive oil press.

So……I know it is pure.

I put it in the fridge last night…all night…it was in there for at least 12 hours and it is not even close to a solid. I also put my favorite brand of locally grown olive oil to see how it would rate and got the same results.

Maybe it depends on the type of olives you use to make the oil??? I’m not sure but I can tell you that my home pressed oil that I for sure know is pure is not solid at all.

We might need to do a little more research on this one. I live in Northern California….in the City where a majority of the olives come from. We have a few really great olive oil companies here. My two favorites are Lucero Olive oil and Pacific Farms(they are less than 2 miles from my house)!! Great olive oil that you can sip and is peppery and delicious!!

She makes her own olive oil from her own olives that she grows. It’s 100% pure. I’ll trust her. However, the test failed for her.

What test?

In the previous post I stated that 100% pure olive oil would turn solid in your refrigerator. I made this attempt with Kirkland Signature olive oil from Costco and it failed. I did it with another olive oil I purchased at Whole Foods and it failed. So I assumed that these olive oils were not 100% pure. It turns out I may never know for sure.

What is the takeaway?

Don’t freak out about your olive oil not turning solid in your refrigerator. It’s not a legitimate test. I was skeptical about it myself and this comment confirms it. I learned this trick from Sally Fallon. I’ll send her an email about it and if she replies back with any valuable information then I’ll add an update.

How do you know if your olive oil is real?

Taste it. Take a swig yourself. Compare it to others. It should have a peppery bite and be smooth. If you don’t like the taste then spit it out and don’t buy it ever again. Call the producer and ask any question you can think of. Find out how it is made and produced.

If you buy your olive oil from a local farmer in California or other state or country that grows olives, then it will be easier to learn for sure if it is pure olive oil or not.

Or, grow them yourself if you can.

Sources of 100% Pure, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I have this neat 2012 Shopping Guide from the Weston A Price Foundation. I received it because I am a member which you definitely should be too! On page 20 I found 19 different companies that sell Olive Oil. I trust the WAPF to recommend only olive oil that is 100% pure.

Where available, I have provided a link to the product on Amazon or the brand’s website.

They are all organic and extra virgin. The phone number is in parenthesis.

And, Frantoia Olive Oil is not listed in this shopping guide provided by the WAPF but it has crazy reviews on Amazon. Out of 27 reviews, 27 are 5 stars…

Kasandrinos is completely legit as I briefly discuss in the previous post. It comes from Greece.

You may also want to check out the California Olive Oil Council.

I think I’ll be spending some time on The Olive Oil Source website learning all about olives and olive oil. Why not?

Where do you buy your olive oil? From what farm or store? What brand is it? Do you know if it is 100% pure? How does it taste? Brag about it by leaving a comment so others, like myself, can be jealous. 

photo credit

Comments

  1. RobG says

    I did the test on high quality oil that I had. It took 24 hours to congeal. Like her, I was worried because at 12 hours it was still clear. So I’m wondering what happened after another 12 hours. I bet it passed the test.

          • RobG says

            I put it in at 6PM yesterday. At 6AM this morning it was getting a bit cloudy. Also the bottle is 2/3 full and is not the large one (half liter?) but the smaller tall skinny bottles (.25 liter?? … I’ll check that next).

            So maybe this is a volume/cooling rate thing? My wife made a huge jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil last year and she told me it took a week for it to congeal.

          • says

            A week? Well, I don’t know the details about this rule. I guess I really need to contact Sally Fallon. I’ll tell her I’ve written 2 blog posts about this rule and I am sure she will be willing to explain it! I am now wondering if the Costco olive oil we have will congeal after being in the refrigerator after a week.

          • RobG says

            6AM today I could see some congealing like small currants spread out on the inside surface of the jar.. It is the small size .375 liter jar. So that’s 36 hours. And I know this oil will fully congeal.

          • RobG says

            This morning it is seriously cloudy throughout – not quite fully congealed though. So we’re at 60 hours, small bottle, previously opened, not full.

          • says

            Interesting. I may have to stick our Costco olive oil in the fridge for up to a week. But, again, I have no idea about the details of this rule. I need to contact Sally when the time allows.

          • RobG says

            So it is decently, say 90% congealed. Not solid like our sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil that have been in the fridge for months. I could pour the out if patient enough. I’ll have to go to the olive oil boutique store and get a bottle of top shelf stuff and compare ;-)

  2. Chuck Currie says

    I live in CA and only buy CA olive oil from Trader Joe’s. Either it’s legit or the Nannies in Sacramento are lying to me.

      • Chuck Currie says

        Nanny, Nannies (plural) – A noun, when used in context with a government or other social entity, is a person with a superiority complex, while at the same time an inferiority complex, who being incapable of managing, or improving, their own lives, proceed to attempt to manage everyone else. Also synonymous with “fun sucker”.
        Fun Sucker – Those who suck the fun out of life.

  3. Memory says

    It took a couple of days for my olive oil to go cloudy in the fridge. I knew it was legit before I did the test but I wanted to “test” the test :)

  4. says

    Learned a lot from this article. Never guessed that olive oil might be fake but now I wish I’ve read this before. Thank you!

  5. Kari says

    Just a shout out for my favorite organic California grown olive oil. Kitehawk Farm out of Atascadero. Small batch, small grower, award winning oil. I savor this stuff. So delicious!! Being in Minnesota and rural, it is very hard to find good oil. I am so thankful to be able to order this. http://www.kitehawkfarm.com
    I do buy the Trader Joes California olive oil when I manage to get to the metro area.

      • Chuck Currie says

        I really believe it is. According to an article I read quite some time ago, all imported olive oil during the 50s, 60s and beyond, was really corn oil that was produced in the U.S., sold to importers in Italy and other countries – but mostly Italy – was then mixed with a little olive oil and resold in the U.S. as Italian olive oil (you can probably guess who the main exporter / importers were).

        Any way, the article went on to say that olive oil that was produced in Cali, from Cali olives, grown on Cali olive trees, with a Cali cert on it, was under the watchful eye of our friends in Sacramento, and therefore, legit. And, the bonus is, it’s pretty damn good.

        • says

          That’s a scary thought about the corn, olive oil. Really scary. I learn something new everyday about our ridiculous food industry.

          I taste tested real olive oils the other day from Old World Olive Press. It is amazing how big of a difference there is between real olive oil and fake olive oil. Balsamic vinegars too.

          • Ann says

            How can you tell the difference between real and fake balsamic vinegar? I love that stuff with salad…

          • says

            That is a GREAT question and I am not sure outside of taste. I think that it all comes down to knowing the source. There are lots of olive oil/balsamic vinegar speciality stores around which are always safe bets. Whole foods and other health food stores are likely safe bets too. kl

  6. Kania says

    I am wondering if olive oil can be frozen. From the ones listed above it seems the 1 gallon size at Mountain Rose Herbs is the best price, even with $15 shipping, but I really don’t use olive oil that often. I mostly use it to marinate meat or fish, and for gallbladder flushes.

    Also, are you sure about Spectrum? As I was doing Google searches about fake olive oil and came across your post, I also came across some posts and forums where people said Spectrum is not pure.

    Buying good quality olive oil should not be this complicated!

    • says

      Yes, it should NOT be this complicated. A lot of brands have 2 sides to the story. The one I have right now, Colavita tastes like it’s real but I’ve found articles saying it’s fake while others say otherwise. So how do you know? I think it’s best to not stress about it too much. Tasting it is the best way to tell and you just need to go from there. If you can know who your grower is then that is of course best.

      I have no idea about freezing olive oil. I don’t see why not. Just about anything can be frozen, can’t it? As long as you prevent freezer burn on any food then it seems ideal.

      I am not sure about Spectrum. The WAPF recommends it. It’s just really hard to know. I am 100% certain about Kasandrinos Imports.

  7. Cynthia says

    UC Davis conducted a test on tons of olive oil. Only a few passed as extra virgin and not rancid or containing OTHER types of oils. Look at their list. Napa Valley extra virgin makes one THINK it’s from Napa but turn the bottle over and it’s from Spain. Deceptive labeling! It did not pass the fridge test either after 2 days. My McEvoy Ranch passed the fridge test and it was on the list as real olive oil!

  8. Tony says

    recently found out the olive oil brand (Saporito) my mom has been buying is secretly diluted with 40% canola oil…ridiculous…

    im never trusting any non organic oil again.

    I think I’ll stick with my organic grass fed butter/coconut oil

    • Joe says

      We just not got the artisanal site up, but I’ve involved in the food business for about 7 years now. One of the other good tips here is to find an olive oil that’s won some notable awards. When the producers submit their oils to their contests, they’re subjected to a chemical test. This means structurally they’re olive oil and if they win consistently, they should meet the taste/flavor requirements for EVOO as well.

  9. Tony Kay says

    Watch Italian oils they say source is Italy but mix with Greek oils due to quality. Source: saw transaction and know sellers. Best oil due to purity I have ever tasted and seen is from Kolimbari region of Crete, Greece. Its pure, smooth, and award winning. Not cheap but pure with no mixes.

    • says

      Tony, Most of Italian olive oil come from olives that they import from other countries. We sell a majority of our olives to Italy. Then they do whatever else they do from there…..best to stick with a small scale operation you can trust……just like with all your other food.

  10. Diann says

    I did the same refrigerator test for 12 hours and it did not work either. I decided to leave the oil in there for a few days and yes it is turning solid. The reason I did this, my homemade dipping oils turn solid when I store them in the refrigerator. Give your oil test more time

Trackbacks

  1. […] Kasandrinos Imports Olive Oil: I have not been lucky enough to try this olive oil but many folks in the primal community rave about this constantly. These folks include Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe who I sincerely trust. From what I can tell, it’s real, while the far majority of olive oils sold in stores are not. […]

  2. […] The fridge test will not always be 100% accurate.  The region where the olives originate may play a part in the percentage of monounsaturated content.  It is generally accepted that cooler regions (e.g. Tuscany) will yield oil with higher oleic acid than warmer climates. That is, a cool region olive oil may be more monounsaturated in content than a warm region oil.  (source)  This could explain why one “pure” olive oil would solidify while another wouldn’t (as in the reader’s comment noted in this article). […]

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