Store extra virgin olive oil in a cool, dark, dry place away from heat, light, and moisture. Extra virgin olive oil begins to deteriorate when exposed to light, heat, air, and time. If you’re purchasing from a reputable producer all of these elements would have been properly monitored before the product arrived in your hands. Even better, once you purchase a bottle of EVOO you can control all of these parameters.
How Heat Damages Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Heating and reheating extra virgin olive oil greatly damages the product. Stop storing olive oil next to your stove, oven, microwave, toaster oven, and any other appliances that heat the surrounding area. Repeatedly heating and reheating extra virgin olive oil essentially homogenizes the product, a process used to produce commercially refined olive oil. What we are trying to say is, it diminishes the oil and is equal to turning it into a commercial product… or pouring it down the drain.
This does not mean stop cooking with EVOO. Cooking with olive oil is wonderful, but would you cook your steak or vegetables 3 times in a row and then eat them?
How Light Damages Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Light greatly contributes to the deterioration of extra virgin olive oil. Do not store your EVOO on the countertop or other places with direct light, regardless if it’s natural or artificial. Olive oil should always be stored in a dark place away from all sources of light. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to purchase extra virgin olive oil in dark glass or tin.
How Air Damages Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil begins to oxidize the moment it comes in contact with air. Therefore, once a bottle of olive oil is open it should be consumed within 45 days to enjoy peak flavor profiles. After olive oil starts to lose some of its zing. The flavors don’t disappear, however, they do start to fade away and become lackluster. You may notice that the oil doesn’t have quite the same punch it had shortly after opening the bottle.
Make sure you’re closing your bottles/tins of oil properly after each use. The best closures have a DOP screw top because it’s more difficult for air to enter the nozzle. Also, the nozzles are next to impossible to remove, this is why the EU requires them. Do not replace a regular top/stopper/nozzle with an olive oil pourer as this is essentially leaving the bottle open and allowing the product to oxidize. Yes, they look great, but they’re damaging your EVOO.
Find a detailed study of lipid oxidation here.
How Time Damages Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Time is the slowest killer of EVOO. Olive oil should be consumed within 18 months of the bottle date or 2 years of the harvest date. While olive oil never technically goes bad, it absolutely does become rancid. Rancid oil can smell of crayons or plastic and is not pleasant to eat. It can have an oily consistency in the mouth and fall very flat. You can tell if an oil is rancid by smelling it. This article by Olive Oil Times can help you further identify rancid oil.
Where to Store Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We realize it’s not convenient to store your everyday olive oil(s) away from your stovetop, however, this is the best way to preserve the product. We store our everyday cooking and finishing oils in a closed cabinet in the kitchen away from all heat and moisture. The rest of the oils remain in their cases/tanks in our storage. Our storage area keeps a constant, cool temperature year-round.
If you live in a place with extreme temperatures and/or humidity throughout the year (i.e. Arizona, Minnesota, Florida) try storing the oils in a box under the stairs or a closet in another room.
Apartment dwellers, it may be difficult to find space for oil, maybe try a storage cabinet in the living room that has doors. Be sure to label the boxes with the harvest year and do not forget about the oil!
For many EVOO will be one of the most expensive foods in their kitchen so it’s a waste to store the product improperly. We want you to enjoy the oil while it’s fresh and full of flavor. Now might be a good time to do an audit of your olive oil storage situation or go through and make sure not of the oils in your pantry are rancid.
If you have oil that’s on its last leg of freshness use it for baking! We love this olive oil chocolate loaf cake recipe. If you do have rancid oil it can be upcycled and used for other things around the house. Do not pour it down the drain.
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