by Kate Heyhoe
I bought some Filippo Berio brand extra virgin olive oil the other day, and by the time I got it home (it had been shaken considerably en route) I noticed that it had got a bit turbid and I could discern what appeared to be tiny blobs—maybe seeds? spores? Today, after some time to settle, the oil looks completely normal. Vigorous shaking cannot reproduce yesterday's weird murky phenomenon. I hope you could shed some light on this situation, and perhaps advise me on the safety of consuming this particular bottle of olive oil.
C. J. Kalloor
You do not mention the temperature of the weather, although your letter came to me in March, where it's still quite cold in many areas. Olive oil will cloud in cold temperature, as in storing it in the fridge. Once brought to room temperature the oil becomes clear again. This is likely the problem you encountered. Rest assured, if this is the case, the blobs you saw are totally safe. Enjoy the oil.
Flavored olive oils can also be found in markets or can be made at home using herbs or flavorings as shown in the photo above. From your description, it appears you have an unflavored oil, and the tiny blobs were most likely due to cold temperatures.
For more olive oil recipes and the lore of olive oil, check out
Here's a particularly tasty recipe using extra virgin olive oil, from the book Parmigiano! by Pamela Sheldon Johns:
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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