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Is olive oil going bad? Yes, according to experts

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That bottle with artisanal olive oil that you received as a birthday present five years ago may be a beautiful exhibit on your countertop, but chances are it is not going to taste near as good as it looks. In fact, while wine, balsamic vinegar and other delicious imports can develop complex flavors and nuances as they age, there are a number of notable exceptions to this rule. Good example: olive oil. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, this delicious, antioxidant-rich elixir is meant to be enjoyed fresh, meaning the bottle you’ve saved for a special occasion should probably have been used in meals many months earlier.

Why does olive oil get bad?

At its core, olive oil is comparable to fruit juice. After all, it’s the pressure of the fruit of an olive – just as you would expect orange juice to turn rancid after a while, so will olive oil. It is also not fermented in the same way as wine and other alcoholic beverages, which means that olive oil does not get better with age.

There is one caveat to our answer to the question of whether olive oil is doing poorly. “Bad” is one little of a loose expression – while spilled orange juice can definitely make you sick, you will not have the same problem with old olive oil. However, it will taste off, and cooking with it can make your food taste just as flat or even a little rancid.

“Olive oil literally does not get bad, but after 18 to 36 months or so – depending on the type of olive oil – it will lose its flavor,” says Biagio Cepollaro, owner of Via Roma Pizzeria in Camp Springs, Maryland. Filtered olive oil can last up to 36 months; unfiltered up to 18 months, ”he notes. Extra virgin olive oil is best used within a few months after opening, max 12 months.

“Unlike wine, which gets better with age, olive oil degrades over time,” adds Aishwarya Iyer, founder and CEO of Brightland, a premium olive oil supplier. In particular, Iyer notes that olive oil, which has stood still for too long, loses many of its green, grassy, ​​fresh flavors. She also says that aging exhausts the health benefits of an olive oil, especially its antioxidant strength.

How to store olive oil for optimal freshness

According to Iyer, exposure to light, heat and air will all accelerate the aging of olive oil. However, considering that these are sinners that can be avoided, there are a few easy steps you can take to keep your olive oil fresher for longer.

Buy olive oil that comes in an opaque bottle, or pour yours into one.

“Do not store your olive oil in a clear container or bottle,” says Iyer. “One of its biggest enemies is light, so you should always store it in an opaque container like the UV-protected coated bottles we use.” If you buy olive oil in bulk, you may want to consider decanting the oil into a darker container (provided your original container is made of clear plastic).

2. Do not store your EVOO next to the stove.

In addition, Iyer recommends storing your oil away from heat sources. Read: As tempting and convenient as it is, do not store your bottle of olive oil right next to your hob or oven, or any other surface that will often radiate heat. Instead, it is safer to store your olive oil in a cupboard or other area in your kitchen where the temperature remains stable.

3. Remember that 60 ° F to 72 ° F is the sweet spot.

Even if you do not want to store your olive oil near heat, you do not need to cool the product either. While it can vaguely prolong the shelf life of the oil, you also risk solidifying it accidentally, which would make it difficult to use in a pinch. Instead, the ideal temperature for olive oil is somewhere between 60 ° F and 72 ° F – much hotter than a refrigerator.

4. Always keep the cap on.

Finally, Iyer emphasizes the importance of keeping air out. “Remember to close the lid of your bottle again. Air is an enemy of the integrity and quality of the oil,” she says. So if you use one of the smart spouts to pour your oil on, make sure the spout is in able to seal completely so you do not accidentally get oxygen into the bottle.

What to do with olive oil that has become bad

If your oil has turned, the best resort is probably to dispose of it or use it for something else, such as cleaning. Do not pour it down the drain – you will clog your pipes and contaminate water sources. Instead, pour your oil into a non-recyclable container and throw it in the trash (unfortunately it can not be composted).

Finally, keep in mind that once you have opened a new bottle of EVOO, it should be used relatively quickly. This means that it is probably a good choice to buy smaller quantities unless you are making pasta or pizza for a regular bunch.

So the next time you gift a bottle of fancy olive oil, be sure to also give your lucky recipient the gift of knowledge: encourage them to make (relatively) quick use of the all-important elixir.

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