One early Sunday morning, you have decided that it’s time to clean your pantry and sort it out thoroughly. So, you are cleaning it, sorting out some food products in the containers, and labeling them for better organization.
Then you’ve noticed some dark, small bottles clustered in the corner of your pantry. But of course! Those are the bottles of high-quality EVO (extra virgin olive oil) that you got from your friend as a gift.
You quickly turn the bottle in search of the expiration date, only to find out that the oil is almost two years old. However, it smells and looks just fine. At that point, you’re starting to wonder – does olive oil go bad?
Luckily for you, we’ve also had some dilemmas about olive oil’s shelf life, so we thoroughly examined the topic. We came up with this detailed article that will answer all of your olive oil-related questions, so let’s get started!
Does Olive Oil Go Bad?
The short answer to your question is that olive oil goes bad and will go rancid eventually. In contrast, olive oil has a pretty long shelf life, opened or unopened.
The first step is to assure you are buying quality olive oil that will automatically have a longer shelf life and provide some health benefits.
Before we explain further, let us take a look at the nutritional value of olive oil.
|13 % Daily Value
|7 % Daily Value
As you can see, olive oil is rich in healthy fatty acids, especially monounsaturated ones. It contains antioxidants (mostly oleic acid) that help protect the body from free radical damage.
Health benefits of olive oil:
- Anti-inflammatory effect
- Improves blood vessel health
- May prevent stroke or heart diseases
- Lowers blood pressure
- May fight Alzheimer’s disease
- May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk
- Has anti-cancer properties
- Can help with Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Has antibacterial properties
The extra virgin olive oil is much healthier than refined versions. As there are many ‘fake’ olive oils on the market (that even label the oil with ‘extra virgin’ even if it’s not), we advise you to examine the label carefully.
How Long Does Olive Oil Last?
The best-before date will give you some rough guidelines of home long will the oil retain its freshness. If the storage conditions are adequate, the oil will stay good for another 3-6 months, give or take. However, that will depend on the production process, quality, and brand.
Unopened bottles of olive oil will last from 18-24 months from the time they’re bottled. EVO (extra virgin olive oil) will last a bit shorter because it is far less processed, around 12-18 months.
To enjoy the best possible quality, you should finish the bottle within the first six months to a year, once you’ve opened it. But usually, the opened bottle will stay suitable for consumption for at least 12-18 months.
How To Store Olive Oil?
You should store olive oil the same way you store any other oils. That means you should keep it in a cool, dry, and dark place. The pantry is the best place for olive oil, in our opinion, for both opened and unopened bottles. However, the kitchen cabinet is handy because you will always have your bottle dispenser within fast and easy arm’s reach.
The essential thing is to keep the oil away from the direct sources of light and heat. Hence, keep the bottles away from the stove and other kitchen appliances and places where the temperature fluctuates.
Furthermore, always keep the bottle’s lid tightly sealed as fresh air will accelerate the oxidation process, which will result in rancidity. If the oil is packaged in see-through glass or plastic bottles, consider transferring it in a dark glass bottle. Dark bottles will preserve the oil from humidity, light, and heat for much longer.
Refrigeration is not necessary, but it will certainly prolong the oil’s shelf life. Just note that chilly temperatures will turn olive oil cloudy. The consistency will turn back to normal once the oil reaches room temperature, so you shouldn’t worry.
Signs Of Spoilage
Some manufacturers make olive oil with no olives or mix it with other edible oils (yes, we’ve also had a hard time believing this). So, truth be told, many people don’t even know what authentic olive oil should taste like.
True olive oil should have a fruity, fresh, or grass-like smell. It should taste like fruits, grass, and almonds. The bitterness is actually a sign of high-quality olive oil, and not a sign of spoilage as many people might think.
Also, high-quality stuff should taste pungent. By that, we mean it should have a peppery characteristic which you will feel in the back of your throat after swallowing (some people even cough). But, don’t worry as the sensation is temporary and it won’t linger.
When it comes to deterioration signs, they’re often quite subtle, and most people won’t notice the difference between fresh and rancid oil. In fact, we’re consuming rancid oils more often than we know it! In a way, we prefer low-quality, rancid olive oil because it is far less bitter than the good stuff.
Rancid olive oil will have a much darker color, a cloudy consistency, and an unpleasant, sour smell.
Common signs of bad olive oil:
- A sour, rancid smell and taste
- Sweaty socks or swampy vegetation-like smell
- Presence of mold; moldy flavor
- Winey-vinegary taste or smell
- Metallic taste
- Crayons or putty-like smell
Although rancid olive oil won’t hurt your health, it’s best to buy yourself a new bottle as soon as you discover any deterioration signs.
Pro tip: Look for olive oils that contain both expiration and batch date. If there’s no batch date, you could be purchasing oil that has been packaged years before, and you don’t want that. Also, opt for dark glass bottles, which will help preserve the oil from heat, humidity, and light far better than plastic ones.
Does Olive Oil Go Bad – Final Word
Long story short – olive oil does go bad, like all other edible oils. But even though the oil can go rancid, it won’t harm your health. Frankly, you might even not notice if it has gone rancid, so it is up to you whether you’re going to discard it or not.
As far as our concern, we advise you to discard any bottles that contain visible changes in the texture, color, or contain traces of mold. Even if the bottle has been stored correctly, you should get rid of it if it’s more than two years old. That’s because you won’t enjoy the best quality and nutritional value, and it won’t taste as good as fresh one does.
The best-before date is a rough estimate of how long the product will retain its freshness. That doesn’t mean the oil can’ be used after it has expired; on the contrary, it can be used months after the label’s date. Generally, it is much more important how you store it.
The perfect location for your olive oil is somewhere dark, dry, and cool. Unopened and opened bottles can be kept at room temperature, as long as they’re not near the stove or exposed to direct light. You can also keep olive oil in the fridge, and prolong its shelf life. Nevertheless, the pantry or cupboard will work just fine.
Lastly, if you notice signs like the rancid and sour smell, unpleasant and stale taste, mold, or changes in the consistency, you should toss the bottle and buy yourself a new one.