How to Store Olive Oil for Optimal Flavor and Longevity

Olive oil is something you’ll find in most kitchens these days. Considering this, it’s likely that many people are storing their olive oil the wrong way. Learning how to store olive oil properly is important for a number of reasons, including your family’s health (and enjoying the olive oil in the way it was intended). Follow this guide to make sure your extra virgin olive oil, also known as EVOO, is delicious to the very last drop.

Where to Store Your Olive Oil

Olive oil should be stored away from heat and light. A cool, dark place, such as a dark cupboard, is the best place to keep your olive oil when it’s not in use. Avoid storing it close to a stove or oven where residual heat may affect the product. Additionally, olive oil should be kept in an opaque bottle to help block out light.

Oxygen is another factor which can negatively affect olive oil. When it’s not being used, the bottle should be sealed tightly to minimize oxygen exposure. It’s best to select a bottle size you will use within 3 months.

Why Is Proper Olive Oil Storage Important?

Olive oil is pressed from actual olives, so what you get in a bottle of EVOO is essentially fruit juice. When olive oil is stored incorrectly, it affects the taste of the product. When it’s not kept in a cool, dark place, it can go rancid. This will give your meals a strange and unpleasant flavor, even if you just used a bit of olive oil to sauté some ingredients or included EVOO in a meat marinade. Besides the bad oil taste, rancid olive oil also gives off an aroma which be off-putting and show up in meals cooked with the product once it’s gone bad.

Extra virgin olive oil is noted for its antioxidant properties and high levels of healthy polyphenols and monounsaturated fats. However, those properties and health benefits are diminished when the oil goes bad. (Note that regular olive oil doesn’t offer many of the same health benefits, which is why it’s important to always use EVOO instead of other olive oils when possible.)

How Long Will Olive Oil Last?

Storing olive oil correctly helps to increase its shelf life. Typically, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil features the harvest date. When properly stored away from heat and light, you can wait up to two years before opening it up. According to the International Olive Council, the best by date is up to 24 months from bottling. Once a bottle of olive oil is opened, whether before or after those two years are up, it should be used within three to six months (within a month or two is best, however).

Olive Oil Storage Containers

If you prefer to use something other than the original bottle to store your olive oil, there are a many options available. Avoid clear glass containers that don’t block out light or cruets without an air-tight seal. A ceramic cruet that blocks out light and air is a smart choice.

Additionally, wait to decant your olive oil from the original bottle into another container until you’re ready to start using it. You can also keep most of the oil in the original bottle and only pour it into your cruet or other container as needed.