How Should You Store Olive Oil? A Breakdown of the Best Options

Preserving olive oil and maintaining top quality taste and the “fresh factor” is a top priority for many individuals who cook often. It’s also somewhat tricky to know what the best methods may be for storing olive oil when it’s not in use. Olive oil consist of a high amount of monounsaturated fat, so it does have the ability to be long lasting but only under ideal circumstances. This does include storing olive oil correctly to maintain all its most critical healthful qualities. A question does come up frequently about this, and it’s simple in nature. How should you store olive oil? After doing some research on the topic, here is what I can tell you.

So, how should you store olive oil? Olive oil loses its desired qualities and great taste due to being exposed to oxygen, light and non-ideal temperatures. If possible, olive oil should be kept out of direct light, stored in temperatures between 57-70 degrees F and be kept sealed airtight to maintain its freshness and quality.

In many situations, controlling the temperature between 57- and 70-degrees F may prove difficult, and you may want further elaboration on the other helpful tips that we have mentioned.

This post is designed to do just that. Let’s break down everything you need to know about storing your olive oil properly to ensure the taste is always perfect for you and you don’t have oil going to waste for no good reason.

Try and Keep the Olive Oil Cool When Possible

Most experts will recommend storing your olive oil at 57 degrees. This, however, is going to prove difficult for many individuals. First off, nobody keeps their house thermostat set this low and secondly, a vast majority of people can’t afford a wine cellar which ironically would be the number 1 place you could store your olive oil.

In this situation, it’s time to move onto plan B. Plan B can consist of storing your olive oil in a refrigerator. This is only necessary when your kitchen is often above 70 degrees. If you’re under 70 degrees most of the time, this is still considered an ideal temperature to store olive oil.

If this is the situation, you don’t necessarily have to store your olive oil in the fridge.

If, however, you know for a fact that your kitchen will often exceed this temperature, we need to move on to the refrigeration method. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s considered the best long-term storage method for olive oil. This is of course if you don’t use extra virgin olive oil.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil can maintain quality for longer periods of time not being refrigerated due to higher acidity levels which we will cover in more depth shortly.

Another Trick You Can Use for Better Results

Many individuals mention that storing olive oil in a refrigerator can be further enhanced and the quality can be maintained even better if you use something such as a capped porcelain jug. This helps ensure that your container remains sealed airtight.

Remember, oxygen is a driving force and primary factor making your olive oil lose taste and quality. The less oxygen your olive oil is exposed to, the better for long term use and storage.

I wanted to be sure we touched on a few other aspects about placing olive oil in the refrigerator. I often see two questions pop up when it comes to storing olive oil in the fridge. I wanted to cover them briefly and provide a quick answer for you.

What Happens If You Put Olive Oil in the Refrigerator?

When you store olive oil in the fridge, you are going to run into a few other small issues. First, always keep in mind that olive oil is stored in a refrigerator is going to cause it to get a cloudy haze and begin to solidify. This isn’t necessarily something to stress over.

Once your olive oil is returned to room temperature, it will start returning to its liquid state, and the color will return to normal.

People are often concerned that the oil will get “thick” or “harden” which is true but like we just stated, it will return quickly to its original form, and it’s nothing to be concerned with.

Don’t Let Your Olive Oil Be Exposed to Heat

Heat is another factor that hurts the quality of olive oil over time. This is when people often get themselves into trouble. What do you think the most popular spot to store olive oil is? If you were thinking that right next to the stove was the correct answer, then you are dead on.

If you don’t want to use the fridge to store your olive oil, you need to find a better spot than sitting right next to your stove. Experts recommend storing the olive oil in an air-tight sealed container and keeping it cool and in a dark place. A cabinet in this sealed tight container could be a perfect solution and can even extend the life of the olive oil and allow it to remain fresh and useable for nearly 2 years.

Don’t Always Buy Olive Oil in Bulk

I know. We all have our Costco memberships or Sam’s Club cards that need some use. Olive oil isn’t necessarily the item to save big money with. Buying in bulk will often result in poor quality olive oil before you have the chance to use it. In fact, using your olive oil within 1 year is recommended.

As a matter of fact, 2-3 months is even better to make sure you use up all your olive oil but if stored properly, it’s certainly okay to extend this timeline even further.

I’d assume you’d have to be doing some heavy-duty cooking and doing it often to go through bulk purchases of olive oil with that kind of speed. When olive oil gets older, it begins to break down more due to rising acidity levels.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is an entirely different story. Extra virgin olive oil has much higher acidity levels from day 1 which makes age not nearly as big of a factor to consider. This may seem somewhat misleading because olive oil rarely will contain expiration dates or “use by dates.” An easy way to keep track is to write it down for yourself.

Write down the date of purchase so you can track when the shelf life may be coming to an end.

When Does Olive Oil Peak or Begin Losing Quality, Freshness?

I know that we mentioned olive oil should be used within one year, but olive oil exits its prime time after roughly 2-3 months. It’s best to only have enough on hand to last for these 60-90 days to always be operating at peak quality when it comes to health benefits and taste.  After this time frame is when you will begin losing the nutrients and health benefits of olive oil.

Aged Olive Oil Isn’t Helping Anyone

When it comes to olive oil, a lot of factors can come into play with how quickly it will begin to deteriorate. One thing that always holds true is age is never your friend when it comes to keeping olive oil at its peak taste and quality. The longer olive oil is oxygenated, being exposed to light or temperatures, not in the 57-70 degrees that we discussed previously, the faster it will lose Its desirable properties.

Ideally, you should always plan on using olive oil as soon as possible and be sure to store it correctly when it’s not in use.

Now let’s be sure to hit on a few frequently asked questions I often see about olive oil.

How Long Can You Keep an Open Bottle of Olive Oil?

This depends on several factors. First, it will depend on how you are storing it. If you are saving it in a cool, dark place and airtight sealed containers are being used, you may get extra shelf life from your olive oil, but in most circumstances, you are looking at roughly 3 months for the most ideal time frame to be sure to use all your olive oil by.

Can Olive Oil Go Bad?

Definitely. Olive oil is just like all other perishable food items. Eventually, it will go rancid and no longer be worth using. Like mentioned previously, it’s not uncommon to find olive oils that don’t even contain an expiration date or “use by” date, but it’s rare that olive oil will remain good longer than 2 years even under the perfect ideal storing conditions.

Is it Okay to Use Olive Oil Past the Expiration Date?

Theoretically yes. You can use olive oil past the expiration date. Many individuals like to use the same methods and principals you would use to check the quality of milk. Remove the lid and give it a good sniff. If it smells okay to use, it’s most likely perfectly fine to continue using.

After olive oil has been exposed to enough light, warm temperatures or non-sealed containers it will become rancid. Any old school sniff test should give you your answer if the olive oil is still good and, in a position, to use or not.

Could Expired Olive Oil Make Me Feel Sick?

If you have already consumed some olive oil that may be bad, don’t worry. It’s not typical for unsaturated oils to cause any harm to you physically. In most circumstances, you won’t fall ill from consuming expired or lousy olive oil.

I’m also not a Doctor so I’m strictly speaking from my experience. If you have that many reservations or fear about using old olive oil, I’d either not use it all or do your own diligence researching the topic.

Disposing Expired or Old Olive Oil

Simply choose a new container to place your olive oil and seal it tight. You can then freeze your olive oil and scoop it into the trash once the olive oil has hardened up. You should never just pour the olive oil down your sink or dispose of the loose liquid oil into a trash bag.

Pouring olive oil down your sink is eventually going to cause clogged pipes and most household items such as soap and water won’t help to dilute olive oil if this does occur. This is when calling a plumber will be in your immediate future if you to this incorrectly.

Putting It All Together, Keep It Cool and Dark for The Best Quality Long Term

Olive oil is one of the most frequently used items in households across the world. Why wouldn’t it be? It serves a significant function and purpose with everyday cooking. It’s important to keep in mind that it shouldn’t just be used, resealed and tossed on the kitchen counter. Proper storing for your olive oil will help it maintain its taste and quality for much more extended periods of time.

(Last Updated: July 24, 2020)

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