Olive oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil, and with good reason: its delicious taste and fragrant smell provide pretty much any cooked meal or salad with an extra kick. But if you’ve had a bottle stored away for an indefinite amount of time, you might be wondering: does it go off?
The truth is, although it does last a long time, like all things we can eat it does have the potential to eventually expire.
Read on for information on how to tell if your olive oil has gone bad, and for tips on how to store it.
How To Tell If Olive Oil Has Gone Off
Since olives are a type of fruit, olive oil does have a shelf life, but luckily, there are a couple of ways to tell if yours has become rancid.
First, you can always work out if something has gone bad by checking its smell. Unlike good, fresh olive oil, which of course gives off the delicious smell of olives, bad olive oil will have an odor that can only be described as smelling like putty, or crayons.
If this is the case, throw it in the trash as rancid olive oil will affect the taste of that scrumptious recipe you’ve been waiting to cook.
You can also check if your olive oil has gone bad by trying a small taste—testing out a tiny bit won’t make you sick, but it won’t taste pleasant. You can expect rancid olive oil to have a bitter, sour, or stale flavor.
And it gets worse: olive oil that’s gone bad won’t have those health benefits you’d expect from it. Due to oxidation triggering chemical reactions in the oil, it will lose its antioxidant properties.
What’s The Shelf Life Of Olive Oil?
The good news, as already mentioned, is that olive oil will last a long time. From the moment it is bottled, it will remain fresh between 18–24 months. Bear in mind that extra virgin olive oil will last between 12–18 months due to it being less processed than standard olive oil.
If you have had a bottle stored away for longer than these timespans, don’t forget that its taste quality will be affected negatively, and you won’t want to use it when cooking. Best to take no risks and chuck it out!
How Do I Store Olive Oil?
The key thing to remember when storing olive oil is that oxidation is what causes it to age (and not well, sadly). Things that stimulate oxidation are exposure to light, heat, and oxygen, so tightly sealing the lid and putting your olive oil away in a cool, dark place, such as your pantry or a cabinet, is ideal.
Want to know the best part? If you purchase olive oil in a bottle that is a darker color, this will add extra protection against light sources. Also, storing it in a glass container is always better than plastic as, not only is plastic use reduced, but your olive oil keeps better. If you’ve bought olive oil that’s in a plastic bottle, you can always transfer it to a glass bottle you might have lying around and recycle the old plastic.
Usually, it is easiest to simply leave your olive oil in a cupboard or your pantry, but if you do decide to refrigerate it, don’t worry if it turns cloudy; this is to be expected if stored in colder temperatures. A cloudy color is not a sign of spoilage, and will still taste just as good!
What’s The Bottom Line?
All in all, the shelf life of olive oil lasts for a long while, and since it is used so much for cooking or to add flavor to salads, it will probably end up getting used before you need to start worrying about it going rancid.