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Storing Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Tips for Maintaining Freshness

Storing Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Tips for Maintaining Freshness

Ideal Storage Conditions

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the quality and freshness of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). EVOO should be stored in a cool, dark place away from heat and light. Exposure to light, heat, and air can cause the oil to oxidize and degrade, resulting in a loss of flavor and nutritional value. The ideal storage temperature for EVOO is between 57°F and 70°F (14°C and 21°C).

Container Types

The type of container used for storing EVOO can significantly impact its shelf life. Dark glass bottles or stainless steel containers are ideal for protecting the oil from light. Avoid clear plastic or glass containers, as they allow light to penetrate and can contribute to the oil's degradation. Ensure that the container is airtight to prevent exposure to air.

Storage Duration

EVOO has a limited shelf life and should be used within 18-24 months of the harvest date for optimal flavor and nutritional benefits. Once opened, it is best to use the oil within a few months to maintain its freshness. Always check the label for the harvest date and choose the freshest oil available.


Refrigerating EVOO can help extend its shelf life, especially in warmer climates. While refrigeration may cause the oil to become cloudy and solidify, this does not affect its quality. Simply allow the oil to return to room temperature before using it. For long-term storage, refrigeration can be a good option, but for everyday use, storing the oil in a cool, dark pantry is sufficient.

Signs of Spoilage

Rancid EVOO will have a musty, sour smell and taste. If your oil has these characteristics, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded. Other signs of spoilage include a greasy texture and a dark, cloudy appearance. Using spoiled EVOO can negatively affect the flavor of your dishes and may not provide the same health benefits.

Expert Tips

Olive oil producer John Carmichael advises, "Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the quality and flavor of extra virgin olive oil. Always check the harvest date and use the oil within the recommended time frame. Store the oil in a cool, dark place and use dark glass bottles or stainless steel containers to protect it from light."

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when storing EVOO:

  • Storing Near Heat Sources: Avoid storing EVOO near stoves, ovens, or other heat sources, as heat can accelerate oxidation and spoilage.
  • Using Clear Containers: Clear containers do not protect the oil from light exposure, leading to faster degradation. Always use dark glass or stainless steel containers.
  • Leaving Bottles Open: Exposure to air can cause the oil to oxidize and lose its quality. Keep the bottle tightly sealed when not in use.

For a comprehensive guide on choosing EVOO, see our Buyer’s Guide. Learn about the health benefits in Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and discover the best recipes using EVOO in The Best Recipes Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Disclaimer: Some articles on this site mention various health benefits of extra virgin olive oils. Some of the benefits have been researched and some are from individual's personal experiences. In any case, these articles are not intended to act as a medical reference. If you are using, or are considering using olive oil for specific health related issues, you are advised to speak with your health care provider for advice pertaining to your situation. These articles are for educational purposes only.

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