Olive Oil Primer: How to Store Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We go to great lengths to ensure our extra virgin olive oil can last as long as possible when you store it in your kitchen, or wherever. We bottle our EVOO in dark glass and boxes, for example, to protect the oil from the negative effects of light.

It’s also a good idea to keep the oil away from heat and to minimize its exposure to oxygen.

California Olive Ranch olive harvest

Which brings me to a question we field frequently: “How to store extra virgin olive oil?”

For starters, olive oil doesn’t get better with age. Just the opposite.

“Unlike wine, olive oils do not get better with age,” writes Australian olive oil expert Richard Gawel in an excellent FAQ. “Extra virgin olive oils are best consumed young as it is at this time when their fresh olive like aromas and flavors, and the health giving polyphenols are at their peak.”

The bottom line: Avoid saving a special bottle of EVOO for use at some future occasion years down the road. Instead, the oil should be used sooner versus later. We recommend using the oil within 30 to 60 days once it’s been opened.

It’s also important to remember olive oil is a form of fruit juice. It’s perishable. Exposing an oil to air will speed up the oxidation process and will eventually cause the oil to go rancid.

In general, you want to store your extra virgin olive oil in a cool, dark place.

Olive oil has four key enemies:

  1. Time – The time from tree to crush to fully produced oil must be as brief as possible.
  2. Temperature – The optimal storage for olive oil is 60 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Oxygen – Exposure must be minimized or eliminated during storage.
  4. Light – Exposure must be minimized or eliminated at all times.

Here are some suggestions and thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Store olive oil in a dark cupboard and away from direct light. Ultraviolet rays can break down an olive oil over time.
  • Try to store olive oil in a cupboard away from any heat source. It can get damaged if exposed to warmth or heat from a nearby stove or oven.
  • Avoid refrigerating your olive oil. It can damage the oil. “Each time the bottle is removed from the cold, condensation can form on the inside of the lid and drop into the oil, introducing oxygen,” writes olive oil expert Fran Gage.

As I mentioned, we bottle our oils in dark colored glass to guard against light . Our larger bag-in-box packages – which many chefs use – also protects the EVOO from light. The boxes have the added advantage of preserving the oil’s flavor longer. That’s because the  the bag inside collapses as the oil is dispensed. The oil doesn’t come in contact with oxygen because the bag is flushed with nitrogen.

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch