Can Your Olive Oil Expire? Essential Storage Tips for Long Life

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Olive oil, a cornerstone of kitchens worldwide, boasts delicious flavors and impressive health benefits. It can boast of a long shelf life, but improper storage can turn this liquid gold rancid. This mini guide dives into the world of olive oil storage, helping you maximize its freshness and reap the full rewards of this culinary treasure. Keep reading to learn how to store olive oil for the long haul and avoid any unpleasant surprises!

Understanding Shelf Life

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While olive oil doesn’t necessarily expire in the same way as perishable foods, it can degrade over time, which can affect its taste and nutritional value. Factors like oxidation or light exposure can cause the oil to go bad. 

Best Before Date

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Check the “best before” or “harvest” date on the bottle. While not an expiration date, it indicates the estimated time frame for optimal flavor and quality. If stored correctly, extra virgin olive oil can last between 18 and 24 months.

Signs of Spoilage

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Rancid or stale odor, off-flavors, or a cloudy appearance are signs that olive oil has gone bad and should be discarded. If you use spoiled olive oil, it can affect the flavor of your dishes and cause an upset stomach. 

Storage Temperature

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Store olive oil in a dark place with lower temperatures. You should also store your oil away from heat, light, and humidity because these storage conditions can accelerate oxidation and spoilage.

Choose Dark-Colored Bottles

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Opt for olive oil packaged in dark-colored bottles or tin containers to protect it from light exposure. Typically, olive oil bottles are dark brown or green to preserve the product. 

Use Airtight Containers

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Olive oil can be stored in other types of containers, but preferably glass ones. Transfer olive oil to smaller, airtight glass jars to minimize air exposure when using the oil frequently. Keep the bottle sealed to prevent exposure to air because it can increase oxidation.

Keep Away from Strong Odors


Store olive oil away from strong-smelling foods like fish or spices, as it can absorb odors and flavors from its surroundings. You can stash your olive oil near pasta or canned foods that don’t emit strong scents. 

Refrigeration Considerations

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While refrigeration can prolong olive oil’s shelf life, it may cause it to solidify or become cloudy. Additionally, keeping olive oil in the fridge may change its flavor and aroma. Freezing olive oil is also not recommended because it will be difficult to use the product if it’s frozen. Keep it at room temperature.

Quality Over Quantity

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Purchase smaller quantities of olive oil that you can use within a reasonable time frame to ensure freshness. This type of oil can be expensive, so it’s always best to buy smaller bottles at a much more affordable price. 

Rotate Stock Regularly


Use older bottles of olive oil first and rotate your stock to ensure you’re always using the freshest oil available. This is especially important if you’re managing a restaurant that uses a lot of olive oil to make food for customers. 

Trust Your Senses


When in doubt, trust your senses. If olive oil smells off or tastes rancid, it’s best to discard it and replace it with fresh oil. You can recycle old olive oil by making soaps with it or using it to polish old, worn leather.


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