Proper Storage of Olive Oil - Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Proper EVOO Storage, Rancho Azul y Oro, San Miguel
How NOT to Store your EVOO

I was recently asked by a friend what the best way to store olive oil is.  Of course, my eyes wandered over to the sight above, the numerous bottles of EVOO filling our counter top.  Pretending I was not seeing what was across from me, I proceeded to provide her with the following information about what can diminish the quality of the olive oil:
  • LIGHT:  Keep your olive oil away from light (natural or otherwise).  Store in a dark cabinet or closet to prevent exposure;  You will notice that in the worst case scenario above, the olive oil is directly in the light.
  • HEAT:  Keep your olive oil away from any source of heat.   Again, you will notice that in the worst case scenario above, the olive oil is directly next to the stove.
  • COLD:  Do not refrigerate or freeze.
  • AIR:  Seal your bottles of olive oil tightly.  Do not store your oil with pourers left in the bottle.  Air can get in even more quickly through pourers.  If air gets into your oil, it can cause it to break down more quickly and become oxidized.
  • QUANTITY:  The fresher the oil the better.  Plan to buy enough quality olive oil to last you for a month.  It does not improve with age.  Use it, enjoy it, and buy more!  That can be easily accomplished by clicking on the following link and choosing your favorite olive oil (Buy EVOO Now).  Always check for the freshest vintage, look for a harvest date on the back label, and it should have an autumn date of the prior year.  There are occasions in which the previous year's oils are on sale.  These oils may not have retained their freshest, grassiest taste and aroma but would be fine for cooking and baking.  Olive Oils are best within the first two years.
  • QUALITY:  Always check for the seal from the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) or the North American Olive Oil Producers (NAOOP).  This will ensure that it is a quality olive oil.
So, why don't we practice what we preach?  There are a number of reasons:

1.)  First, we do not bottle our oil with dark green bottles because we surveyed our customers and they like to see the vibrant color of our oil, so we showcase it.

Why, then, don't you keep it in the closet, as you just suggested?

2.)  Because there are two kitchens here and there is testing ongoing.  We test recipes using all of our olive oil and some experimental oils on which we are working.  We test our formulations for our flavored oils, and these bottles are constantly be moved, exchanged, emptied, replaced -- you get the picture.  There is constant movement.

You just said that air can damage the quality.  I notice half-filled bottles on your counter.

3.)  Ah, but what you don't see is that every bottle that is sitting there has been topped with Argon, an inert gas which purges the air out of the bottle.  We do this with every bottle we send out, as well.  So if I use half a bottle of EVOO in a recipe, it is again topped with argon, something which isn't done in most homes.

So while you're all tempted to allow your kitchen counter to look like ours, this is an instance in which you should do as we say and not as we do, so your olive oil will remain fresh and delicious for the time that you have it.

Share with us how you store your olive oil and how long you keep it.

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