Does extra virgin olive oil go bad?

Make the most out of the extra virgin olive oil’s sensorial and health properties by following a few storage tips!

Written BY

Ylenia Granitto

Olive Oil taster and writer. Italy correspondent @oliveoiltimes . Human Rights advocate.

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December 22, 2023

Make the most out of the extra virgin olive oil’s sensorial and health properties by following a few storage tips!

The extra virgin olive oil has outstanding sensorial qualities and health properties that are worthy to be well preserved so that we can enjoy them fully.

The exceptional sensory attributes and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil deserves careful preservation to enable us to fully appreciate and enjoy them.

What is the shelf life of extra virgin olive oil?

A high quality product can maintain its positive attribute from one up to two years from extraction. Although it is commonly linked to wine because of their close cultivation, extra virgin olive oil exhibits a contrasting pattern in the evolution of its organoleptic characteristics. Unlike alcoholic beverages, it does not enhance with time. Instead, owing to its lipidic nature, it is susceptible to oxidation processes, leading to its natural degradation.

The negative consequence of oxidation is the generation of free radicals and undesirable flavors, particularly a rancid taste. This process simultaneously leads to the depletion of antioxidants and a decline in both sensory and health attributes, attributable to the creation of peroxides and other low molecular weight oxidizing substances.

On the other hand, the presence of oleic acid and phenolic compounds, commonly referred to as polyphenols, contributes to the preservation of the extra virgin olive oil. Most olive varieties, including Tunisian Chemlali and Chetoui, have antioxidant properties and great nutritional value, which make the extra virgin olive oil not only more resistant to deterioration but also very healthy.

The higher the quality of extra virgin olive oil, the greater the concentration of essential nutrients. This implies that premium products not only taste better but also boast increased health benefits and a longer shelf life compared to lower quality options. These compelling reasons make opting for high-quality extra virgin olive oils a wise choice.

Feel like trying Tunisian olive oil? Shop in our store today!

Does Extra Virgin Olive Oil Go Bad?

Yes, extra virgin olive oil can go bad over time. It is recommended to check the label for origin, nutritional info, and the best before date, indicating the product's expected quality if properly stored. Best before date regulations vary globally. Certain countries like the United States adhere to the International Olive Council's standard, setting a 24-month limit post-bottling. In the European Union producers have to add the best before date, often including the harvest season on labels for informed choices.

Beyond the best before date, the olive oil can still be consumed, but its properties are likely to have diminished. If the oil remains unused, it's important to note that it is not typical waste and should be disposed of responsibly.

What factors affect extra virgin olive oil’s longevity? 

Proper storage of premium olive oil will extend its lifespan and prevent it from becoming rancid. Several variables can affect the quality of a product at the origin, including:

• the type and state of the fruits from which it is obtained
• the extraction technology used to make it
• the packaging in which it is contained
• and the environmental conditions in which it is stored

Once we have chosen our extra virgin olive oil, a few easy precautions can help us to better preserve its positive features.

How to store extra virgin olive oil?

Proper storage is crucial to preserving the quality of extra virgin olive oil. There are three main factors that can negatively affect your extra virgin olive oil’s during storage:

• light
• excessive temperatures
• oxygen

To preserve the freshness and quality of your extra virgin olive oil, follow these guidelines: 

• Avoid Light Exposure: Keep the oil in a dark place or a dark-colored bottle to shield it from light, which can cause oxidation.
• Maintain Cool Temperatures
: Store the oil in a cool environment. While it doesn't require refrigeration, it's best kept away from heat sources.
• Minimize Oxygen Exposure
: Seal the container tightly after each use to prevent air from entering, as exposure to oxygen can lead to oxidation.
• Choose Proper Containers
: Use containers made of materials that protect the oil from light and air, such as dark glass or stainless steel.
• Be Mindful of Odors
: Keep the oil away from strong-smelling substances, as olive oil can absorb odors.
• Ideal Storage Places
: Optimal storage environments are dark, cool, and dry places, with a recommended temperature range between 12°C and 18°C (53.6°F and 64.4°F).

Extra virgin olive oil shelf life depends on its quality. High quality olive oil products can preserve their positive attributes longer. For proper storage, a good rule of thumb is to store in a dark, cool and dry place.

Feel like trying Tunisian olive oil? Shop in our store today!

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