One of the many myths encircling this extraordinary super food, extra virgin olive oil, is the testing of its authenticity by placing it in the refrigerator and watch if it solidifies. If it does than it is extra virgin, if it doesn’t, than it isn’t. This refrigerator test is not a reliable indicator.
The majority of the extra virgin olive oil’s consistence is made from monounsaturated fats and mostly the oleic acid. About 65% – 80% is monounsaturated fats with about 15% – 20% of saturated fats and the rest, very small percentage is polyunsaturated fats.
The monounsaturated fat’s melting point, is higher than the polyunsaturated fat’s melting point. The superior monounsaturated fat (oleic acid) in olive oil, has a melting point around the refrigerator temperature of 39 F or 4 C.
Above the 39 F or 4 C the monounsaturated fat liquefies and below the 39 F or 4 C it solidifies. On the contrary the polyunsaturated fat melt in very cold temperatures, such as -22 F or -30 C. Such cold temperatures do not exist in domestic refrigerators.
If the extra virgin olive oil was formed by monounsaturated fats only and the sunflower oil was formed by polyunsaturated fats only (sunflower oil contains the most polyunsaturated fats than any oil), the refrigerator test would be accurate time after time, with the extra virgin olive oil solidifying and the sunflower oil not. This is how the myth arises.
Canola oil contains about 60% of monounsaturated fat, as peanut oil and many other seed oils, and if they get placed in the refrigerator they will partially solidify. If extra virgin olive oil has seed oil added to it, it still can solidify and it is not extra virgin.
When an adulterated olive oil has 80% of extra virgin and 20% of canola oil, is still high in monounsaturated fat levels, will solidify in refrigerator temperatures and in comparison with a high quality extra virgin olive oil, you could not tell the difference.