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Storage

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How to Store Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Because of Extra virgin olive oil’s high monounsaturated fat content, it can be stored longer than most other oils — as long as it’s stored properly. Oils are fragile and need to be treated gently to preserve their healthful properties and to keep them from becoming a health hazard full of free radicals.

When choosing your storage location, remember that heat, air, and light are the enemies of oil. These elements help create free radicals, which eventually lead to excessive oxidation and rancidity in the oil that will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Even worse, oxidation and free radicals contributes to heart disease and cancer.

Rancidity can set in long before you can taste it or smell it. Rotten oils harm cells and use up precious antioxidants. Even though rancid oil doesn’t pose a food-safety type of health risk, the less you consume, the better.

The best storage containers for extra virgin olive oil are made of either tinted glass (to keep out light) or a non reactive metal, such as stainless steel. Avoid metal containers made of iron or copper because the chemical reactions between the olive oil and those metals create toxic compounds. Avoid most plastic, too; oil can absorb noxious substances such as polyvinyl chlorides (PVCs) out of the plastic. Containers also need a tight cap or lid to keep out unwanted air.

Keep It Cool

Temperature is also important in preventing degradation of extra virgin olive oil. Keep it in a dark, cool cupboard away from the stove or other heat-producing appliances. Olive oil connoisseurs recommend storing premium extra-virgin olive oils at room temperature. If refrigerated, condensation could develop and adversely affect their flavor. Refrigeration does not affect the quality or flavor of other olive oils.

Extra Virgin Olive oil will keep well if stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark cupboard for about 18 months. If unopened, the oil may keep for as long as two years.

Older Isn’t Better

Oil does not improve with age. As olive oil gets older, it gradually breaks down, more free oleic acid is formed, the acidity level rises, and flavor weakens. Extra-virgin oils keep better because they have a low acidity level.

You’ll get the best quality and flavor from your extra virgin olive oil if you use it within a year to 18 months of pressing.