A delicious and sometimes pricey cornerstone to healthy Mediterranean-style diets, olive oil is delicate stuff and can only be fully enjoyed when stored properly. Protect your investment and ensure maximum flavor and freshness by practicing the following:

  • Check the harvest date printed on the label when you purchase your oil. Some producers even cite an expiration date. Typically, olive oil is good for about 18 months from harvest (depending on how it’s been stored). After a year on your shelf unopened (3 months opened), olive oil—basically a fresh fruit juice—will go rancid.
  • Keep it in a dark, cool cupboard. Light and heat can hasten the breakdown of the oil and taint the flavor. Storing it on the countertop near the stove or in the cabinet above the range may be convenient, but it can corrupt the health of the oil.
  • Buy only as much as you know you’ll use. Bulk may be cheaper, but if you can’t use
    it fast enough, you’ll lose it anyway.
  • Unsure of how fresh your oil is? Heat a little in your skillet. If it smells rancid, it is! Throw
    it out and resolve to treat your green gold with a little more respect.

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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