How long lasts a bottle of extra virgin olive oil?
For how long can extra virgin olive oil last – olive oil’s expiration date
Good Greek extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is perfectly maintained for at least a year and a half or two if stored in a cool, dark place
The time extra virgin olive oil can last and be perfect for consumption depends on several factors though, olive oil of which country and variety, the harvesting time, if olives are cold pressed or not, how fast from the time of harvesting the olives were processed, the containers olive oil is preserved and bottled.
Expiry date for best consumption of bottled or canned EVOO olive oil is at least one year. If you preserve it a cool and dark place, the oil will last almost two. After that Olive Oil is still suitable for consumption but does not taste as well as before as looses its full flavor.
Real cold or low temp pressed EVOO olive oil changes flavours and structure during ageing.
In the first months, during winter, after the olives squeezing, the olive oil is often a little opaque, greenish in colour and with some spicy taste, (Early Harvest / Olio Novello). With spring the oil becomes perfectly clear, more yellowish than green and sweeter, while some resulting pomaces will deposit on the bottom of the container. After one year it’s still perfectly good for consumption, but it looses part of the flavour. All of these features, of course, depend from the kind of olives, the ripening and some other factors. Industrial EVOO olive oils are better filtered, and don’t change so much.
Olives on Crete are generally harvested in October – December and pressed for their oil on the same day or the day after usually. So new seasons olive oil has a useful shelf life (assuming the storage guidelines are followed) of approximately 12–16 months (ideally). If you’re an occasional olive oil buyer, it’s better to buy smaller quantities often – than the olive oil you consume in one year all bought at once, checking the best before date each time.
All oils degrade, whilst in storage, over time, due to oxidisation and exposure to light.
Have a a few basic rules to follow when it comes to buying olive oil
- only ever buy and use Extra Virgin olive oil (EVOO) including for deep fat frying, from a reputable source as many, so called extra virgin olive oils, more than you would think, are ‘cut’ with inferior olive oils or even vegetable oils that do not come from an olive.
- Once you have found an EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) that you trust, keep it in an airtight and light proof container. Tin cans or ceramic vessels are best. Exposure to oxygen and light degrades all oils much more quickly.
- Keep your stove side ‘at hand‘, EVOO oil in a dark glass, stainless steel or ceramic dispenser.
In more details: How log a good extra virgin olive oil can last depends on quite a few variables. 1) WHEN was the olive fruit harvested? (not bottled but harvested) 2) HOW RIPE was it when it was harvested? (maturity index), 3) HOW LONG did it take to go from the olive tree to the mill (faster is better). 4) WHAT OLIVE CULTIVAL was the oil made from? 5) Were the olives processed by cold extraction? 6) How olive oil was preserved (what containers and conditions) and in bottled.
They are not all olive oils created equally. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) is perishable. Like all fats, it oxidizes over time. Heat, light, and oxygen speed up the oxidation process of olive oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil from certain varieties are far more durable than others. The Arbequina clone is a popular variety grown largely on high, or super high density olive farms, and requires significant irrigation and lots of water. EVOO made from the Arbequina variety is a very “mild” tasting olive oil. It has a lower percentage of monounsaturated fat and a significantly lower antioxidant count than some of the more traditional varieties like Coratina, Picual, and Koroneiki grown with traditional spacing and watering. The advantage Arbequina has is that it can be mechanically harvested on these types of operations with trees grown in hedge rows very close to each other. For these reasons EVOO from the Arbequina variety has a much shorter shelf life than the traditional varieties. Antioxidants retard oxidation. Rancidity is the result of oxidation. Oxidized oil is a source of harmful free radicals.
Knowing When, What, and How is valuable information that is seldom shared on olive oil labels. However, if you are familiar with what well made FRESH extra virgin olive oil tastes like, then you don’t need to really know all of this.
All specialty olive oil stores worldwide should post the Olives Variety, Harvest Date, Chemical Analysis (including polyphenol count) and encourage consumers to taste before they purchase. Once consumers taste fresh, well made, extra virgin olive oil they find it unbearable to use anything else. Olive oil keeps better when stored in bulk. If ‘you locate an olive oil specialty store you don’t need to purchase more than what you can use up in a few weeks. Most of these stores ship bottles to many of their customers. The key is to educate yourself. It takes a little time but it is so worth it.
EXTERNAL RESOURCES ON QUESTIONS: how long does olive oil last opened – how long does extra virgin olive oil last – how long does unopened olive oil last – should extra virgin olive oil be refrigerated after opening – how long can you use olive oil after expiration date – can you use unopened expired olive oil – is it ok to use expired olive oil – what happens if you eat expired olive oil