Olive oil is a versatile oil that can be used in cooking and baking, and as a seasoning or garnish for meals. When stored properly, freshly harvested olive oil can last up to two years. To store oil properly, it must be protected from light, heat and oxygen. If stored improperly, olive oil will become rancid and smell unpleasant.
Part 1 of 3: Extend Oil Shelf Life
Step 1. Protect the oil from light
Sunlight and fluorescent lights will degrade the quality of the oil. Store oil in a pantry, closet, or other dark place with a lockable door. Never leave olive oil on a table, windowsill or any place where it will be exposed to light for an extended period of time.
Step 2. Choose the correct container
The ideal container for olive oil is a stainless steel or dark glass bottle, which additionally protects the oil from light. Olive oil usually comes in clear glass bottles, but if you have nowhere to pour the oil, wrap the bottle with aluminum foil to protect it from light.
Do not use containers made of reactive metals such as iron and copper. These materials can contaminate the oil and cause unwanted chemical reactions
Step 3. Seal the oil with a sealed cap
Oxygen is another element that contributes to the deterioration of olive oil. Whichever container you store your oil in, it must have a sealed lid that does not allow oxygen to pass through. Close the cap tightly after each use of the oil to protect it.
If you are concerned that the cap is not closing properly, wrap a small piece of plastic wrap around the top of the bottle before closing it
Step 4. Keep the oil in a cool place
The ideal storage temperature for olive oil is 14 ° C, but it can be safely stored at no higher than 21 ° C. The ideal place for olive oil is in a basement or cellar, which is cool and dark, but a cool pantry is also fine.
- The oil can be kept in the refrigerator, although it is not necessary if you can store it at the correct temperature outside the refrigerator.
- In hot and humid climates, where temperatures are typically 27 ° C and above, keeping the oil in the refrigerator will help preserve it.
- The oil becomes thick and cloudy when stored in the refrigerator, so warm it to room temperature before use. Just transfer it to the pantry and wait about half an hour for the oil to turn liquid again.
Step 5. Store large volumes of oil separately
If you bought the oil in bulk, pour about 1 quart into a smaller bottle for daily use. Close the lid of the remaining oil container tightly and store it in a cool and dark place, opening only to refill a smaller container.
Buying olive oil in bulk can save you money, but keeping your olive oil properly stored becomes even more important
Part 2 of 3: Choose Freshly Harvested Olive Oil
Step 1. Check collection date
Olive oil retains its freshness for a year after the olive harvest, but it remains usable for another year. To make the oil last as long as possible, look on the bottle for information on the date of collection and buy what was obtained from freshly picked olives.
If no collection date is listed, look for a bottling date. When stored properly, the oil remains usable from 18 months to two years from the date of bottling
Step 2. Buy oil that is sold in dark or metal containers
A dark glass or stainless steel container will protect the oil from UV and fluorescent light in the factory, during transport and at the grocery store. Since light can degrade the quality of olive oil, oil in a dark bottle will last longer than oil in clear glass containers.
Step 3. Avoid oils in plastic bottles
Plastic bottles do not protect olive oil from light as much as dark glass or metal containers, so oil that comes in plastic bottles may have a shorter shelf life. Olive oil stored in plastic bottles is also lower in carotenes, chlorophyll and phenols, which are antioxidants found in olives.
Step 4. Take the bottle at the back of the shelf
If the store does not have oil in a dark glass or stainless steel container, take the bottle at the back of the shelf. Front-facing bottles partially protect the farther oil from light pollution in the grocery store.
Part 3 of 3: Use olive oil
Step 1. Water the food before serving
Olive oil is a delicious side dish that can be added to food right before serving. The oil will add additional notes to the aroma, add richness to the dish and reveal its taste. Add a little oil just before serving to dishes such as:
Step 2. Season the meat with olive oil
Before serving your favorite steak, fish fillet or other piece of meat, drizzle a little olive oil over the dish to add richness and juiciness. Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Step 3. Use it instead of butter
In some situations, olive oil is a great substitute for butter, especially when it comes to baked goods. Sprinkle olive oil on your toast, sandwiches, muffins, or bread and butter instead of butter.
Combine olive oil and some balsamic vinegar on a flat plate, dip bread in this mixture and eat
Step 4. Season the salads
Fresh olive oil has a light, non-greasy flavor, making it ideal for making vinaigrette and salad dressings. Follow the tried and tested vinaigrette recipe, or make your own by experimenting with different combinations:
- olive oil;
- balsamic, rice or wine vinegar;
- lemon juice;
- honey or maple syrup;
Step 5. Use cooking oil
Despite its bad reputation, olive oil can be used to cook and fry foods. The smoke point or temperature at which the oil burns is between 210 and 250 ° C, depending on the degree of purification. Most homemade meals are cooked at temperatures between 120 and 205 ° C, so olive oil is safe for:
- frying in a pan;