The Best Way To Store Olive Oil
If you’re like me, you are sucked in to those cute little accessories that make your kitchen look sparkly.
Those beautiful, clear glass olive oil dispensers you see that are marked down in price? Um, I’ll take two please! One for my olive oil and one for my balsamic.
When I get home, I proudly dump my olive oil into my bargain dispensers, arrange them perfectly on my counter and take in the moment (and a mental picture) because I’m sure that it won’t look like this in 30 minutes when I have to cook dinner. The last thing that comes to mind is the fact that I am probably damaging my olive oil by placing them in those clear jars.
Sorry friends, clear glass jars equals no-no for olive oil, especially if you want to store it long term.
So, what is the best way to store olive oil and why is it so bad to put them in clear glass containers?
The Three Enemies of Olive Oil
Olive oil is an extremely delicate oil compromised of monounsaturated fats and needs to be handled with the utmost protection and care to ensure the longevity and maintain freshness. This is also why I do not recommend using olive oil to cook food in (post coming soon on that topic).
The three things that are the worst as far as keeping olive oil fresh are heat, air and light. When olive oil is exposed to these three elements, free radicals are more likely to form and occur in the oil. At that point, it’s just a ticking time bomb in which the free radicals lead to oxidation and rancidity.
As you may know, free radicals are detrimental to your health and cause all sorts of inflammation which is the precursor to a host of diseases. (source)
The best way to prevent oxidation and rancidity is by properly storing your precious oil to maximize the freshness, purity and quality.
Just keep in mind, most olive oils are fake so I cannot stress the importance of buying from a trusted source. California Olive Ranch and Bariani Olive Oil are my two favorites that I can find in the store if I run out of the good, good stuff. More info on that below.
Worst Places to Store Olive Oil
- In a cupboard near a hot stove (so guilty of this)
- On the ledge of your stove (and this)
- On a windowsill
- In plastic containers (oil can absorb noxious substances such as polyvinyl chlorides (PVCs) out of the plastic)
- Metal containers made of iron or copper (olive oil reacts to this type of metal and creates toxic compounds)
Best Places to Store Olive Oil
- In a dark, cool cupboard
- In a tinted, air-tight container (can also be stored in stainless steel)
Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave us much wiggle room with the cute things to accessorize our kitchen because most of them are clear or are not sealed tight.
How Long Can Olive Oil Be Stored?
I make it a yearly ritual to buy from my very favorite olive oil producers in bulk. I am convinced it is the best way to buy olive oil as those little bottles are not cheap and add up quickly. Chaffin Family Orchards is a 100 year old family farm in which they allow their animals to graze in between the olive trees. I am convinced this helps the aged trees flourish in nutrient quality and produce such delicious tasting oil. You can find out more about this farm HERE.
I usually buy about 2 gallons of their AMAZING olive oil and have spoken to the owner several times regarding the best ways of long-term storage to preserve the nutrient-rich oil.
He said if opened and stored properly, olive oil can last about a year. If unopened, two years. I don’t really have to worry about it because I go through two gallons in about a year — especially when I make my homemade caeser dressing often.
You know how how they say with some things age is better? Like good wine? Well, olive oil is the opposite. The older is not the better so it is important to be mindful of the way you store it.