Maybe your friends brought back some olive oil from Italy and you’ve been saving it for a special occasion. Or perhaps you bought bulk extra virgin olive oil in Ohio and you’re worried that you’re not using it fast enough. How long does olive oil last before it goes rancid—and what can you do to postpone that outcome as much as possible?
How long olive oil lasts
Unlike honey and some types of alcohol, olive oil has a “best by” date. Once it turns rancid, it’s no longer suitable for anything except recycling. All olive oil varies, but a bottle should last between two and four years when stored properly. If you have olive oil you’re saving for a special occasion, use it or you’ll potentially lose it.
The harvest and expiration dates are one way to tell how long you have to use a particular bottle. The higher quality the olive oil, the more likely the manufacturer will include these dates on the bottle.
The harvest date tends to be a better indicator of age. Olives are only picked once per year, in the fall, so look for a bottle that has olives harvested during the most recent fall season. Olive oil can oxidize in as little as a year, so you should try to use your bottle before 18 months pass. Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil goes rancid faster.
How to know if your olive oil has gone bad
Why does olive oil go bad? It’s due to the antioxidants in the oil, which are one of the reasons it’s considered a healthy fat. Antioxidants break down single molecule oxygen atoms, which can harm the human body if left unchecked. When olive oil is exposed to light and air, oxidation starts to occur. This breaks down the oil and leaves it tasting and smelling rancid.
To determine whether your olive oil is still okay to eat, smell it and taste it. Olive oil typically tastes and smells very “green,” like grass or twigs. Depending on the variety of olives used, it can sometimes taste fruity, bitter or spicy—which is normal. These are simply flavor variations, and do not indicate whether the oil is fresh. Additionally, the color ranges from yellow to green and also does not indicate freshness.
How to keep your olive oil fresh
Light, heat and air are olive oil’s three natural enemies. That’s why it’s often packaged in dark or deep green bottles. To keep your olive oil as fresh as possible, store it in a dark, cool cabinet away from your oven or any heat-generating appliances. You may also wish to store it away from strong scents, as it can absorb them even when stored in a sealed bottle. (In other words, don’t put it in your spice cabinet.)
For bulk olive oil, including extra virgin olive oil in Ohio, work with the team at Olivamed LLC. Call us today to learn more about our private labeling and bulk services.
Categorized in: Olive Oil Production