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How long does olive oil last? Can it go bad?

Olive oil, derived from the olive plant, is one of the most essential oils that most kitchens should have worldwide. Olive oil is extracted from the best and purest and olive fruit. 


The timing of harvesting the olive fruit determines its quality. For high-quality olive oil, farmers must make sure that the olives are perfectly ripe to have an aromatic and fruity oil that will work well in your recipes. Picking green olives will produce a bitter oil, while the overripe ones will make a rancid oil. And then, the olive fruit has to be mechanically or chemically crushed, pressed, and dripped to extract oil.


The term “extra-virgin” olive oil (EVOO) means that the olive fruits were mechanically processed or cold-pressed without using chemicals or heat. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is known for its healthful benefits.


Olive oil is best used in stir-fries, salad dressings, and sometimes for shallow frying. It can also be used in cosmetics. 


How to Store Olive Oil?

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If you wish to retain your olive oil quality, you must make sure that it is kept in the best conditions possible. 


  1. Keep your olive oil away from the exposure of high or low temperatures, air, light, and strong odors. 
  2. Hide your fresh olive oil in a cool, dry, clean cabinet or in your kitchen pantry. Ideally, the storage temperature must be between 60° Fahrenheit and 72° Fahrenheit.

Storing it in warmer conditions will make your olive oil taste unpleasant.

  1. Put your olive oil away from heat-producing appliances like stoves and oven
  2. Use an airtight container to store the olive oil. If you have a dark-colored bottle, it is even better to protect the oil from direct sunlight than clear glass. Light and fluctuating temperatures accelerate to rancidity.

A tinted glass bottle or any non-reactive metal container with a good seal will do. 

  1. Keep the bottle of olive oil sealed tightly with its original can to prevent oxidation.
  2. If you are liberally cooking with olive oil, transfer its contents in a clean container from time to time. 
  3. Buy in smaller quantities if you don’t regularly use olive oil. This way, if ever it goes terrible in certain conditions, you won’t regret it rather than buying in more massive amounts. 


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Decanting olive oil in smaller containers will limit air exposure because you will only have to open one little bottle and not the whole big container.


Go for the bigger bottles if you are sure you can consume it in just 2-3 months. 


If you happen to live in the tropics or in a place where the environment is hot and humid, you may consider storing olive oil in a refrigerator to extend its shelf life.


Can olive oil go bad?

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Yes, olive oil can go bad. It is not like a wine that goes better with age. It’s technically a perishable product that is pressed from the olive fruit. A bottle of olive oil can last from 18-24 months. Though it sounds like a long time, it is essential to check the “best by” date to exactly know when you will replace the bottle. Consider that olive oil starts aging, including the time it has gone during transit and the time it was displayed in the grocery store’s shelves.


Oils are fragile food products that require the best condition to preserve its quality and their healthful properties. When we talk about oil spoilage, we are generally referring to rancidity. This happens when there’s an odd smell or taste due to chemical change or decomposition. In other words, rotten oils will use up the antioxidants in the oils, making it hazardous for your health in the long run. 


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How Long Does Olive Oil Last?

An unopened bottle of olive oil can last up to two years from the harvest date depends if you store it in the best conditions, as mentioned above. Others would say it can even stay up to four years. However, oils start to oxidize before it reaches a year from harvest. 


Remember that olive oil is a special case. Once it is opened, the oil deteriorates faster. Placing it in the fridge can also extend its shelf life. Factors such as location and date of harvest, the process of extraction, and storage affect the olive oil’s quality and shelf life. 


The “best by” date will tell you how long the unopened bottle will retain its freshness. It is best to consume the olive oil up to 60 days if you’re genuinely after its best taste. 

Olive picking happens only once a year during the fall season. The harvest date will be your best indicator to give you an idea of how long it has been sitting around the whole time. Hence, in a year, you can get the freshest olive oil with a harvest date of the early fall season. 


How to tell if olive oil has gone bad?

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Yes, a harvest date is an excellent basis to tell how a bottle of olive oil has stayed since it was picked. 

Fresh olive oil should have a bright-colored oil with fresh and clean fruit or vegetable smell, and it also comes with a combination of grassy, earthy, and peppery aroma. And, olive oil tastes sharp with hints of tingly spiciness. Your palate should be familiar with these things when it comes to olive oil. With these given characteristics, you can figure out with its taste, appearance, and smell. 

Smell. Pour out a small amount and smell it. If it smells oddly sweet, similar to that of a funky fermented fruit, then that means it is rancid. Don’t use it. 


Taste. Have a teaspoon of it without swallowing it. If you sense something greasy and tasteless, flat, or musty, then it’s rancid. Sometimes, it also smells like nuts that have gone bad. Throw it away. 


Others would slurp a tablespoon of olive oil into their mouth. They should not swallow or exhale while slurping the whole spoon. Then, they breathe out. If they think it is tasteless, so it’s rancid.


Appearance. A fresh olive is usually bright golden to greenish in color. If it is not as bright or of the same color as when you first bought it, get a fresh olive oil bottle instead. 


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Can I Use Expired Olive Oil?

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Well, you don’t necessarily need to throw your olive oil immediately once it expired. Yes, you can still use that expired bottle of olive oil, but it still always depends. At this point, this will be your call. 


Manufacturers put an expiration date on their products to inform the consumers that if consumed beyond its expiry, the flavor and texture quality will not be in its best quality anymore. Don’t wait too long and better consume or use the product for a short period. 


And of course, before you jump in happiness when you realize you have saved yourself from spending, please smell it, taste it, and check the appearance. If it tastes, smell, or appears bad, then throw it away. Better be safe than sorry.


Olive oil that has gone rancid olive oil has lower nutritional value compared to freshly produced bottles. It will indeed affect the taste of your dish, making it weird and unappealing.


Can I keep olive oil in the fridge?

No problem! Keep your olive oil anytime in the fridge, especially if you live in a hot or humid environment. However, it will most likely solidify at a cold temperature, and it may cause you a little trouble to thaw it if ever you need to use it immediately.

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