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How to store olive oil?

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How to store olive oil?

May 30, 2024 By Sol Deli

To maintain olive oil's quality, proper storage is crucial. Exposure to oxygen, light, and heat can cause it to become rancid. Experts recommend storing olive oil at temperatures between 13 and 15 degrees Celsius. However, a few of us have a storage place with such low temperatures, but room temperature is also acceptable if we keep some basic rules.

Olive oil has three primary "enemies": heat, light, and oxygen.

Air

Oxidation can degrade the flavor of olive oil, so ensure the container is airtight. Always cap the bottle tightly between uses, even during cooking.

If you buy olive oil in a bigger container (2 or 5 liters) always pour into smaller bottles (see our suggestions below).

Temperature

Heat exposure speeds up the process of breaking down the oil. Avoid storing olive oil near the stove and oven, on top of the refrigerator, or anywhere heat tends to accumulate. 

Experts advise against refrigerating olive oil because temperature fluctuations can cause condensation, which degrades the oil. Additionally, refrigeration causes olive oil to congeal and thicken, making it harder to use, and diminishes its fresh, fruity aroma.

Light

Light, like heat, reduces the shelf life of olive oil. Therefore, it’s best to store the oil in a dark place, such as the back of a cupboard or pantry. It's also important to minimize exposure to any kind of light, including fluorescent and sunlight.

Since extra virgin olive oil is an unrefined oil extracted from plants, it is rich in natural antioxidants and polyphenols. It also contains significant amounts of chlorophyll, the natural chemical plants use for photosynthesis. The greener the oil, the more chlorophyll it has. When exposed to sunlight, the chlorophyll in extra virgin olive oil undergoes a chemical reaction called photo-oxidation. This reaction destabilizes the oil and reduces its overall quality.

How to store olive oil bought in a larger container?

Often, purchasing olive oil in larger quantities is advantageous because it tends to be more cost-effective than smaller bottles. Additionally, if you use olive oil more frequently during certain seasons, buying in bulk can be worthwhile.

But how should we store olive oil that comes in a larger container?

Frist of all: don't keep it in the can for long. Pour the olive oil into smaller bottles (between 0,5 and 1 liter), always use just one bottle and open a new one only when needed. It's also important to fill them fully  to minimize the air in the bottle. Put the bottles in your pantry or some cooler parts of your kitchen (e.g. the back of your cupboard). 

To sum up...

To preserve the many health benefits and enjoyable flavor of olive oil, it needs to be stored in a cool, dark place.

Avoid heat sources, light (especially direct sunlight) and once the bottle is opened, make sure it is sealed tightly before placing it back into the pantry or your cupboard.

If you keep these basic rules, you can enjoy your olive oil bought in a larger container, for several months.