Olive oil is a staple in every Italian home and in all homes where people love Italian food.
Olive oil is made from olives being pressed and from which the oil is extracted. There are different methods for this process, but I won’t get into that now. But olive oil is a fruit and like any perishable natural food it will have a shorter shelf life than processed foods pumped with lots of preservatives.
Learning to take care of this precious oil is what can make or break the simplest of meals.
Here are three helpful tips to properly care for your olive oil.
1. Avoid bulk size bottles unless needed.
Olive oil is not like wine. With time wine will improve in taste – time is its friend. But with olive oil, time is the enemy. Over time the olive oil will grow weaker and weaker and eventually just have to be thrown out.
It is always tempting to buy the larger bottles of olive oil for a “bulk” savings price – don’t do it. Olive oil has a unopened shelf life of approximately 1 year – and that is from bottling which can occur overseas. Once opened you can cut the shelf life in half at most. So try to buy smaller bottles on a more regular basis to ensure more flavorful olive oil for your recipes.
2. Store the olive oil away from direct light.
So it looks pretty to have decorative olive oil glass jars on your counter, but did you know you are doing more harm than good? Olive oil, like coffee beans, will deteriorate faster when exposed to sunlight. This will cause the flavor to diminish and lose it’s olive flavor. Bottles that are in glass are pretty and impressive, but it is the ones which are opaque that help preserve the life of the olive oil by keeping sunlight out.
3. Store in a cool location.
We covered light as a harmful agent, but so is heat. Keep your olive oil in a cool area away from heat sources such as stoves, radiators, heating vents or even the heat generated by sunlight.
The recommended temperature for storing olive oil is less than 57 degrees F. There is no need to refrigerate the oil and some people actually recommend not doing this. It is a debatable point by many, saying it often depends on what kind of olive oil you are storing.