In European or western cuisine, olive oil is a 1000-year-old staple. But why is that?
Simple; it perfectly matches the flavor profile of most Western foods, is easy to store, tastes delicious, and is healthy as a bonus. Why not drench everything in it?
It’s also a Pinterest food hack craze: freezing it with herbs is part of meal planning for every culinary influencer.
But what happens to frozen olive oil? How can you use this hack in the kitchen? Is it a better way to store olive oil?
Yes, in some ways, it is. Frozen olive oil has different qualities, and we’ll tell you all the tricks to get the best of it.
Let’s explore why and how to freeze olive oil.
Will olive oil freeze?
First of all, yes, you can freeze olive oil. But how you go about it makes a difference.
Simply tossing it in the freezer won’t work; it won’t extend its shelf-life.
Olive oil, unlike canola oil, does not require deep freezing to harden. All it takes is a few hours in the fridge.
However, properly freezing olive oil has so many advantages. For instance, virgin olive oil can quickly lose its flavor and aroma by storing it wrong.
But when you freeze extra virgin olive oil, there’s no decrease in taste or texture.
It won’t solidify uniformly, as it starts white and cloudy before becoming solid all over. Don’t worry about the opaque particles; they will disappear once you reheat them.
So, technically, olive oil can be frozen, but should you? Are there any benefits?
According to studies, frozen olive oil tastes superior to regularly stored olive oil. So how about that?
We think you should start freezing olive oil, after all. But how do you go about doing so?
What is the best way to freeze olive oil?
To sum it up, the best way to freeze olive oil is to store it separately in smaller containers to avoid contamination, solidify it in the fridge, and then place it in the freezer:
- Sterilize a silicone ice cube tray with hot water. Let it dry completely.
- Fill it up ¾ way with olive oil.
- You can put herbs and seasonings in them.
- Put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours to solidify.
- Place it in the freezer overnight.
- Store the olive oil cubes in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
- Mark the plastic bags with the date and the content.
This is the perfect way to freeze olive oil, extend its shelf life, and even improve its taste. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t use plastic containers. Because it absorbs chemicals, olive oil is never sold in it.
- To avoid freezer burn, seal the plastic bag airtight.
- Since frozen olive oil expands slightly, leave some extra space in the freezing container.
Freezing olive oil is a great way to preserve fresh vibrant herbs for a long time. In fact, it’s the best way.
However, another frequently asked question is about refreezing olive oil.
Can you refreeze olive oil?
We don’t recommend refreezing olive oil, fresh or used. It will always impact the flavor and texture.
Never refreeze used oil. Stick to serving sizes and use as much as you need at once.
This is why freezing them in a bulk is a horrible idea, and refreezing them is definitely not worth the trouble.
We’ve covered the tips and tricks of storing and freezing olive oil but you might still have some questions. Let’s look at the most common ones.
Can you freeze olive oil and herbs together?
Fresh herbs and frozen olive oil go together like cookies and milk. Both will have a longer shelf life, as well as better taste.
Fresh herbs, especially green ones, are best preserved by freezing them in olive oil.
This one has its own tricks as well:
- Warm the olive oil and fresh herbs over medium heat in a pan. Just enough to infuse them for about 2-3 minutes.
- Don’t burn them. Heat it until you smell the fragrant aroma of the spices.
- A splash of lemon zest can enhance the process.
- Let them cool before proceeding with the detailed method for freezing olive oil outlined above.
Defrosting herbed or regular olive oil requires the same process. But these flavorful pockets will elevate any dish in the future.
Let’s walk through the steps you need to take before you can use them again.
How do you properly defrost frozen olive oil?
Let’s start with a solidified bottle of olive oil from the fridge;
- Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and immerse the cool bottle in it.
- It will take 30 minutes to an hour to return to a liquid form.
Now, how do you defrost the frozen olive oil cubes? Whether you freeze them with herbs or not, here’s what to do:
- Melt them in a pan over medium heat until they smell fragrant again.
- When defrosting frozen olive oil, avoid using direct high heat.
- You can add them directly to a cooking dish as long as it’s not on high heat.
Unfortunately, the long shelf life of olive oil (18-20 months) is significantly reduced after thawing. Only defrost what you will use within 3-4 days.
Aside from refreezing, there’s one more thing to avoid. That is, microwave thawing frozen olive oil:
Fun fact: The microwave works by heating/evaporating the water molecules in food. Because olive oil has extremely low water content, it will burn and spoil quickly in the microwave.
Is it really worth it to go through all of this trouble to elevate your olive oil and keep it fresh?
Does freezing olive oil keep it fresh?
Freezing olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, will keep it fresh for longer.
According to studies, frozen, fresh olive oil tastes much better, even a year later, than a regular one kept in the pantry. However, this difference vanishes quickly, so use frozen olive oil immediately after defrosting.
You might wonder after all these perks; how quickly do they freeze?
What temperature does olive oil freeze at?
In the fridge, olive oil solidifies at about 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 ℃) and freezes at about 15-17 degrees Fahrenheit (-8 ℃).
Each bottle of olive oil is unique, but they all eventually freeze. They freeze at around 10℉ when separated into small ice cube-size portions.
After a thorough learning curve, let’s recap everything one last time.
To properly freeze olive oil, you need a sterilized silicone ice cube tray, and an airtight ziplock back, with some patience.
Despite the conflicting information online, frozen olive oil is a delicious, aromatic, high-quality addition to any recipe when properly thawed.
Not just the taste, but the shelf life is extended considerably by freezing olive oil, especially with some fresh herbs.
Nevertheless, when choosing and handling oils, keep their smoke point in mind. When cooked incorrectly, they can be one of the most carcinogenic foods.