Olive oil is a staple ingredient in storage cupboards for many households but do you find yourself asking the question, “does olive oil go bad?”? There are many olive oil companies and brands and this liquid has many different uses, but how many of us can tell when this particular substance has been spoiled?
Uses of olive oil
Olive oil has a myriad of different uses. Commonly used in cosmetics, soaps, pharmaceuticals and also as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, olive oil is used throughout the world. Where olive oil has been used to most creative effect, however, is in the kitchen.
With mass immigration and cultural diversity we are blessed with the ability to enjoy cuisine from every part of the globe. The most common recipes where olive oil is used tend to come from those countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Extra virgin olive oil is most often used as an ingredient in salad dressings for cold food. It can also be used to sauté food, but tends to lose some of its flavor if exposed to temperatures higher than 350°F. Extra virgin olive oil tends to have a more robust flavor and as a result is not normally used for deep-frying foods.
Storing olive oil
Probably one of the most popular places where people store olive oil is the pantry and that’s a great choice. Olive oil shoudl be stored in cool and dark place. If you really can’t find a good place where it’s cold all the time, you can keep the oil in the fridge. Once the bottle has been opened, bear in mind it needs to be closed tightly when not in use. This way oxygen won’t be able to easily find its way into the bottle.
Olive oil oxidizes when it comes into contact with oxygen. Oxidation may play a part in turning oil rancid, as the by-products of oxidized olive oil have an unpleasant flavor and a bad smell. It also has an adverse effect on the oil’s nutritional value.
Shelf life of olive oil
Olive oil has a pretty long shelf life. When closed, you should be able to keep it for at least one and a half year, or even longer. Once opened, the maximum time you should keep it is over a year (that’s true for all olive oil companies). The length of time olive oil can be kept can be increased by storing it in the fridge. Storing olive oil in the fridge might lead to it congealing, but if you warm it up before use (keep it out of the fridge for an hour or so until it reaches room temperature) it should be fine. One thing worth remembering – avoid putting the bottle in and out of the fridge every single day – if you use olive oil that often, don’t store it in the fridge.
Hot to tell if olive oil is bad?
Rancid oil has a stale smell. Get to know the smell of fresh olive oil, that way when you open a bottle that’s been lying around in the cupboard after a month of non-use you can tell instantly whether or not the oil has deteriorated. I have had a bottle in my own cupboard for more than six months and while there has been a funny smell around the lid, the product inside the bottle has been fine. I believe this is caused by oxidation. The lid on a bottle of olive oil is not always 100% air tight and with regular use, particles of oxygen may have an effect on any dribbles of oil congealing around the lid or the top of the bottle.
It is clear that olive oil can go bad, no matter what company or brand is its producer, but the method of storage can add greatly to the shelf life of this particular product. Keep it in the fridge after opening and take it out of the fridge for at least an hour before use to help the olive oil return to its normal state before cooking.
Soupe au Pistou
I just ruined an entire kettle of this wonder winter soup because of bad olive oil.