Olive Oil Primer: How to Store Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A question we hear from time to time is, “How should you store extra virgin olive oil?”

For starters, unlike wine, olive oil doesn’t get better with age. Quite the contrary.

So you don’t want to lay down a pricey bottle of EVOO for some future occasion years down the road – such as a big birthday bash.  Instead, the oil should be used sooner versus later.

“It will not improve with age,” writes olive oil expert Fran Gage in her book The New American Olive Oil (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2009).

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 Gage.
  • Once you open a bottle of EVOO, we recommend using the oil within 30 to 60 days to help prevent the flavor and aroma from fading.

To protect our oils from light, we bottle them in dark colored glass. That includes our new Everyday California EVOO, which comes in a green bottle.  Stay tuned for more information on that new oil.

Bon appétit,

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