Does olive Oil look like lard when refrigerated? Or am I being deceived?
I recently purchased a jar of sundried tomatoes in "100% Olove Oil", as the label states. Ingredients are listed as : Sundried tomatoes, 100% pure olive oil, garlic, herbs, spices, & sulfur dioxide (for color retention).
After opening it, I stuck in the refrigerator. The next day I notced that the oilve oil had turned into a solid white hard mass. It looked like lard. I've emailed Costco, where I purchased it to inquire if it really is olive oil in the jar, or if it contains something else. I have other things in my ref. in olive oil. The oil will thicken when ref'd. , but remains clear and will still flow.
My question is; Could this reallly be olive oil, or is it more likely something else?
Yes, it could really be olive oil. I have a vacation home that I visit very occasionally. We do put Olive Oil in the fridge between visits so that it doesn't go rancid. It does turn to a white crisco looking substance.
We pull it from the fridge on arrival, and leave it on the counter overnight and it's fone in the morning.
Note: this is not EVVOO for use raw on saladsa, but ordinary for cooking
I frequently buy sundried tomatoes from Costco and stick 'em in the fridge. They congeal just as you have described, but return to "normal" after a couple of hours outside the fridge. It may be that "pure" olive oil, which isn't EVOO or anything approaching it, reacts this way.
I jarred anchovies in olive oil as well as jarred olives in EVOO and store in the refrigerator. That's what happens.
What is in your fridge that only gets thicker? That actually seems wrong.
Could it be that the oil has absorbed some moisture from the ingredients? Also the fridge can have cold spots or warm spots, whichever version you prefer...
Also, it is a fact that some manufacturers or repackagers of olive oil have been up to funny business by mixing in other, cheaper oils and still calling it olive oil. I think you can find something about it here, on Chowhound. You may very well have an oil blend.
I, as many others have experienced, have seen various oils behave differently in the fridge. Some will change, getting milky or solidify and others have no visual change. I think it is related to the useful temperature range of the oil and what it may have absorbed as you cook with it.
My experience has been that Olive Oil in the refrigerator does turn solid, but not as quickly or completely as some other oils. Different oils have different temperature points at which they congeal. As there is a relatively small amount of oil (compared to the quantity of tomato) it would not surprise me at all if it had all congealed, regardless of the type of oil used. In short, the fact that the oil congealed is not in any way indicative of whether it is olive oil or a blend, or another oil entirely.
Although a cool, dark place is best for storing olive oil, there isn't any such place in my home in the summer. Therefore, I store it in the fridge, where it does turn cloudy and waxy (as will peanut oil). It won't necessarily keep it from going rancid though--if you keep your home at a relatively cool temperature (ie. run the AC pretty religiously) then your olive oil might be just as safe outside the fridge. My home tends to be warm (warmer than most people I know), so I believe the benefits of the cold fridge outweigh the disadvantages (being the crystallization that occurs in the oil).
BTW, I'd be curious to know what temperature constitutes a "cool" place. Anybody know this?
Yes. It's only "pure olive oil", not extra virgin olive oil, so it has a relatively neutral color that will turn whitish when refrigerated.