So you’ve made the leap: you got yourself some high quality extra virgin olive oil, or maybe you picked up a delicious flavor-infused oil like this Baklouti green chile infused olive oil or a more basic garlic infused olive oil. Now what? After checking out our list of infused olive oil recipes and trying some out for yourself, you probably still have a decent amount of olive oil left in the bottle. But if you don’t store it properly, your olive oil might not be as fresh and delicious the next time you use it.
Did You Know?
It might surprise you to learn that extra virgin olive oil is perishable. It’s generally shelf-stable for up to two years, but the way you store it during that time is essential to getting the longest usable life from your olive oil. Improperly stored oil, or oil that has simply been kept too long, will turn rancid – no good to cook with anymore, and potentially damaging to your health. So how do you prevent your prized bottle of olive oil from going bad?
The Science of Staying Fresh
Experts agree that there are three main things to keep your olive oil away from if you want it to last and keeping tasting as good as the day you bought it. Air, light, and heat all make olive oil go bad faster. More specifically, it’s oxygen, UV light and higher than room temperatures that cause olive oil to oxidate more quickly, leading to it becoming rancid and unusable faster. Oxidation is unavoidable and occurs naturally, but the key to slowing down that process and maximizing usable shelf life is storing your olive oil properly.
Next to (or even on top of) the stove might seem like a handy place to keep your olive oil, but the warm temperatures will speed up that oxidation process, so resist the temptation. The best temperature for storing olive oil is room temperature or a little below, so keeping it in a cooler part of the kitchen is a good idea. Dark glass bottles help keep out damaging UV light, but keeping your olive oil in a dark cupboard is even better to protect it from the light. And finally, making sure it’s in a sealed, airtight container will limit its exposure to oxygen.
The best way to prevent your olive oil from going bad, though, is to use it! Olive oil aficionados advise that you should use up your olive oil within six months of opening to ensure the best flavor and lowest risk of rancidity. The more you use it, the faster you can pick your next variety of delicious infused olive oil to try!