Olive oil shelf life and how to store it

Olive oil shelf life and how to store it

As the good responsible consumer that you are, we’re certain that you’ve asked yourself at one time or another about the shelf life of extra virgin olive oil.

You do right.  Extra virgin olive oil is like a living thing, it evolves with time, it’s a food.  And you can’t play around with food.  You have to be well informed.

For that reason, in the following lines we’ve decided to tell you all you wanted to know about olive oil shelf life.  We’ll talk about that and also about how to store it.

Finally, and always with conservation in mind, we’ll talk to you about why it’s better to   buy extra virgin olive oil than other types of oil to be found on the market.

Olive oil shelf life is a myth

That’s the first thing we want you to understand.  Olive oil doesn’t have a shelf life.

As a consumer, you’re used to food having a shelf life.  That is to say, that if you go along the aisles in a supermarket and look at the packaging, you’ll see that there’s always a date recommended for the food not to be consumed after.

However, what you’re going to find on the labels of olive oil isn’t a shelf life date but a best before date. This also happens with many other foods.

What difference exists between a shelf life date and a best before date?

The best before date indicates that up to the date to be found on the label, the food in question is going to maintain all of its qualities. Does that mean that after that date the oil is bad? By no means.

But what you have to bear in mind is that since extra virgin olive oil has a huge number of qualities beneficial for your health and an unbeatable aroma, the advice we give you from Masía El Altet is that you use it before the best before date. In that way, there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy it much more.

But if for some reason you haven’t finished it by then, there’s no problem.  It’s posible (and only possible) that it might have lost some of its quality but we repeat, you’re not going to have any  problems.

How can you check if the oil is good or bad?

However, in spite of what we’ve just said, you must check if it’s OK or not if the best before date has already passed.  How can you do that?  Obviously, by its aroma when you smell it and by its taste.

If you notice a strange taste, it being a bit rancid is the unmistakeable sign, for one reason or another, the quality has deteriorated.  Don’t use it as it is, that is to say on salads or toast, not because it could be harmful for your health, but because you won’t enjoy it to the full and it might have some defect.  What you can do though, is use it for frying. 

In fact, we always advise you to fry your food in extra virgin olive oil because in this way, you’ll also preserve the taste and properties of the food you’re going to eat.  The reason is simple.  Extra virgin olive oil can stand temperatures higher than other types of oil of poorer quality.

Olive oil shelf life is a myth but how should you store it?

The fact that olive oil has a shelf life is a myth doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bear in mind some advice on storing it.  That’s what we’re going to explain in this section:

  1. The first thing you have to do is try not to leave it in direct sunlight because that affects its composition. When you buy a bottle of olive oil, you should always store it in a dark place. Larders or cupboards are a good place to avoid contact with direct light.
  2. When you go to a supermarket, avoid buying bottles or containers which are in direct sunlight. Possibly one of the best solutions is to buy it in
  3. You must be very careful with heat because it’s another of the elements which can destabilize the oil. You should never store it near to a source of heat.  In the kitchen, keep it far away from cookers and electrical appliances which emit heat. You must find a cool place to store it.
  4. The container should always be kept closed. Once open, don’t throw away the top but put it back on.  If you do that, it will keep its aroma and nutritional properties much better.  If you don’t do that, oxygen will get in and it will age quickly.  You have to try to use the oil as quickly as possible. Extra virgin olive oils produced from early harvests can last perfectly well up to 6 months after opening.

Extra virgin olive oil is more stable

Of all the oils that exist, extra virgin olive oil is the most stable.  That means that it will keep its aroma and taste well past the best before date.

Much more than virgin olive oil, ordinary olive oil and it goes without saying, refined oils.

It stands out from the rest because we obtain it by always using mechanical procedures, the most advanced food technology.  The level of acidity is lower than 0.8% and that also has an influence on  better conservation.  From Masía El Altet, we’d like to make it clear that in our opinion, when an oil’s level of acidity is more than 0.3%,  it can’t be considered extra virgin.

Another of the secrets for conservation of its quality is that we harvest the olive when it is still green. That implies that since it’s harder, it’ll be more difficult to crush and therefore, age. We transport it immediately to our oil mill (in less than 3 hours from tree to mill) thus avoiding the olive getting hot which would damage the fruit.  For that reason, the quality of the olive is at its peak.

The importance of the varities of olive

The varities of olive which we use are also the most appropriate ones because they contain a high level of oleic acid which offers great stability.  They also contain more polyphenols, natural antioxidants par excellence and which play a very important role in your health.

In this post, we’ve spoken a lot about olive oil shelf life. We’ve explained to you that as such, it doesn’t exist but what you do have to do is to keep an eye on the best before date.

When that date has gone by, you can still use it without any risk of damaging your health.   But we do want to give you two bits of advice.

Use it before the best before date and you’ll avoid problems besides being able to enjoy all of its taste and nutritional properties and if you open the bottle or container after the best before date, check it. If you note a strange taste, don’t use it raw.

Have you had problems with olive oil shelf life?  Do you normally check the best before date?  Tell us what you do in the comments section.

And if you’ve liked this post, don’t hesitate to share it on your social networks.

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Dan Wengerd
Dan Wengerd
3 years ago

Very informative, this is what I was looking for, thank you very much