Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-06-2019, 06:22 PM
bienville is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 6,024

If something is swimming in oil, is refrigeration important?

At my job, we often order lunch from a local Italian restaurant.
They often send a bit of olive spread, complimentary, to go with the bread.

We love the olive spread so I always ask for extra. Usually, they just add an additional small cup of it. About a month ago, however, the kind gentleman filled a small tub of it to add to the order.

I got to take the leftover olive spread home. I knew I wouldn't be eating it right away so I put it in the refrigerator. When I was ready to use it I found that it had... congealed? Is congealed the correct word to use here? Basically, it had become a brick of solid white oil filled with olives and capers.

Today we ordered from the same restaurant and again got a nice small tub of the olive spread added to our order. Again, I was the lucky guy who got to take the leftover. Now that I have it home, I wonder if refrigeration is necessary if I'm going to be using it in the next few days.

If refrigeration is necessary, when I'm ready to use it can I just take it out of the refrigerator an hour or two beforehand and will it "melt" back down to oil?

NOTE on Refrigeration: It is still quite hot here. I do not leave the A/C running while I'm at work all day. I am just now getting home from work at 4:15pm and it is 84oF outside (I don't know how hot it is in my apartment but, I'm sure, hotter than outside).
I'm going to start my own messageboard! With Blackjack! And Hookers! In fact, FORGET the messageboard!
Old 08-06-2019, 06:30 PM
Biggirl is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Right here
Posts: 18,789
Oils go rancid. Although it does seem to take a bit of time. It also does not preserve, so your olives would be the real problem. But if the spread has a lot of vinegar that could help.

So, yeah. It needs refrigeration. And yes, if the oil hardens in the fridge, it will melt again at room temp.

Last edited by Biggirl; 08-06-2019 at 06:31 PM.
Old 08-06-2019, 06:31 PM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 28,986
Coagulated is the word you're looking for. I can't say for sure if it'll turn back on it's own at room temperature, but at my store all our olive oil (for retail sale) looks like that when it comes off the truck in winter. We have to spend a good deal of time warming (heating) the bottles to make it look normal.

The oil is still fine, it just looks gross. You could certainly try leaving it out for a few hours and see what happens, if it doesn't un-coagulate, you may have to heat it a bit.

This is why we tend to use salad oil on things that are refrigerated. They're typically a combination of vegetable oil and about 2% olive oil for taste.
Old 08-06-2019, 09:23 PM
thorny locust is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1,002
I don't know about olives in oil; but I do know that unrefrigerated garlic in oil can allow the growth of botulism, which can be deadly.

If there's enough vinegar in the mix, that could make it safe; but I don't know how you'd tell whether there was enough vinegar or not. I'd refrigerate it, then warm it just before eating to re-liquify the oil.
Old 08-06-2019, 09:30 PM
bienville is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 6,024
Thanks for the good info, folks!
I'm going to start my own messageboard! With Blackjack! And Hookers! In fact, FORGET the messageboard!


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:14 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017