Alright, it’s time to get honest about our kitchens. If yours is like so many others you’ve probably got items galore sitting in one of your cabinets, shoved WAY at the back that probably expired at some point in 2017. While everyone’s guilty of this there’s nothing to be ashamed about.
Of course, for us, olive oil isn’t really that item since we have a hard time keeping a bottle around for a month before needing a refill, but for others that might not be the case. Perhaps you’ve been away on vacation or maybe you just use it sparingly for only your favorite dishes.
While we explore the joy of cooking with olive oil here, for those of you that have a bottle that’s been sitting around we wanted to tackle the topic of how long olive oil lasts, tips for storing it, and how you can tell when it’s expired.
This is a great question! Of course, because olive oil is a perishable item it does have an expiration date, but it’s not nearly as short as some might think. Research suggests that olive oil is good for anywhere between 20 and 24 months after it’s crush date. However, once it’s been opened you’ll want to use it up within a few months.
That means you’ve got time to use your oil (assuming you can make it last that long). While the price might be a little higher, investing in a high-quality oil might seem like a better investment if you know that you can keep it stored for up to two years.
It’s important to note though that this timeline assumes you’re properly storing your oil and taking steps to ensure it lasts as it’s expected.
1. Store it in a dark bottle – exposure to light can cause your olive oil to go bad more quickly than normal so you should store your oil in a dark bottle and in a cabinet away from light.
This is why you’ll see that our oils and balsamic vinegars are stored in stainless steel containers and then transferred to dark bottles and sealed right in store. This ensures a fresh bottling and helps prevent exposure to light.
2. Don’t Expose it To Air – exposure to the air can also impact the oil and cause it to go rancid before the expiration date. When you use your oil be sure that you get a good seal on it after use. You’ll also want to ensure that you use it up within a few months after you’ve opened it.
3. Exposure to Heat – While your oil is good at room temperature you’ll want to be sure that you don’t over-expose it to additional heat. Make sure you don’t leave it out on the counter where it sits in the sunlight for a majority of the day or it may alter the olive oil shelf life.
If you’ve followed all the tips above for storage but you’ve got a bottle that you just aren’t sure about there are a couple of ways to double check before pouring a bunch into your cooking pan or onto your finished dishes.
Smell the oil – open the bottle, pour some out and smell the oil. A good olive oil should smell fresh and green like ripe olives. Rancid oil will smell a bit waxy like crayons or putty.
Taste the oil – this is the ultimate test. A good oil will taste “green” like fresh grass or ripe green olives. If it is at all greasy or tastes like nuts that have gone bad get rid of it.
While eating rancid oil won’t make you sick, the off flavor you’ll get is likely to ruin a recipe. If you find that your oil has gone bad we suggest tossing it out and making a trip to the store.