Posted by Olivia on Monday, October 11th, 2010
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is a delicate thing that will be good to you if you are good to it. With proper storage, your olive oil will retain nutrients, flavor, and complexity over a longer period of time. It all boils down to a process called oxidation.
Oxidation is the term for a chemical process that occurs when oxygen molecules contact and interact with other molecules. A rusted penny, a browned apple slice—these are visual examples of oxidation taking place. Over time, things will change when exposed to oxygen, to air—and different reactions can occur.
When olive oil is exposed to air—as well as heat and light—its integrity is compromised, as is that of a sliced apple sitting on a plate in the sun. There are a few simple ways to protect and preserve your olive oil:
1) When buying extra virgin olive oil, opt for those that are packaged in opaque or tinted glass or otherwise light-proof bottling. See our newer olive oil tins for an example of appropriate packaging.
2) Save your old red wine and vinegar bottles, make sure they are clean, dry and odorless and use them for olive oil storage. Attach a pouring spout and you are set to go.
4) Buy your extra virgin olive oil in bulk, and save a bit of money! Keep your bulk oil preserved in a stainless steel fusto in your cupboard, and pour a small amount into a spouted glass bottle for your tabletop. Or better yet, try a ceramic serving jug, ideal for keeping your favorite extra virgin olive oil close at hand for regular use.
5) Use that extra virgin olive oil! The tastiest and easiest way to preserve your quality olive oil is by consuming it—use it and it won’t have time to go bad. Most extra virgin olive oils will lose their flavors and potent nutrients within two years, so pour liberally.