Extra virgin olive oil is considered a luxury for some and a necessity for others. Extra virgin olive oil can be costly, but it’s a product not used all at once or sometimes used often. For this reason, many people find themselves asking the question, can extra virgin olive oil go bad?
Extra virgin olive oil can go bad. Extra virgin olive oil expires sooner than regular olive oil because it is purer than regular olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil lasts for 18 – 20 months, depending on its purity. Store extra virgin olive oil at room temperature, away from light and sealed in a glass container.
Everyone wants to know if their extra virgin olive oil is still good to use after it has been stored for a long time. In addition, how to keep their oil lasting for as long as possible. Let’s look at how long this oil lasts and how to keep it lasting so it doesn’t go to waste.
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Disclaimer: Some of links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Can Extra Virgin Olive Oil Go Bad?
Extra virgin olive oil can go bad, and it’s likely to go bad more quickly than other types of olive oils. This is due to the fact this oil is much purer than other oils.
Regular olive oils are a blend of different oils, each with different properties, qualities and expiration dates.
Extra virgin olive oil is pure, being made from only cold-pressed olives, with nothing else added to it 1.
For this reason, extra virgin olive oil does not last as long as less pure olive oils. Even though, it is a healthier oil to use. Olives expire and so do pure olive oil.
Regular olive oils will last a little longer, about two years, if stored in the right conditions. As I mentioned, it can be costly. This is why I often purchase mine on Amazon where I find more affordable prices than in the local market. Take a look by clicking here, extra virgin olive oil.
How Long Does Extra Virgin Olive Oil Last?
Extra virgin olive oil has a varied lifespan depending on the following:
- The oil’s purity.
- When it was harvested.
- Temperature it’s stored in.
- What kind of containers it’s kept in.
- The conditions the oil has been stored in.
The purest extra virgin olive oil, in perfect storage conditions, will last for a maximum of 20 months before going bad. This is true for olive oil truly extra virgin and not a blend of oils. Typically, regular olive oils are a blend of olive and other oils. Cheaper olive oils are likely to be barely olive oil at all.
Even in the right conditions, extra virgin olive oil does expire eventually. Fortunately, extra virgin olive oil does last a few months and can be stored safely for a relatively long time. However, do not expect your extra virgin olive oil to last forever 2.
In addition, the shelf-life of the oil in your cabinets is dependent on when the oil was pressed and when it was bottled. Therefore, keep an eye on the expiration dates of your oils.
Suppose you manage to find a freshly produced bottle of extra virgin olive oil kept in a dark-colored glass bottle in a cool and dark environment. In that case, it will last much longer than being stored on a shelf in a brightly lit supermarket for months. Therefore, search out the freshest oil possible before purchasing it.
Artisanal stores and olive farm stores are typically the best places to find the longest-lasting extra virgin olive oils available.
How To Keep Extra Virgin Olive Oil Lasting Longer
Extra virgin olive oil is different from other olive oils because it’s best stored at room temperature. The temperature the extra virgin olive oil is stored will affect the quality and taste of the oil, as well as the longevity of the oil.
It is widely said to store olive oil in the refrigerator, but this is not the case for very pure extra virgin olive oil. The cold temperatures of the fridge will cause the oil to lose much of its desirable flavor, even though it may help the oil last longer.
Other factors that affect how long extra virgin olive oil lasts are:
Extra virgin should be kept out of direct light as much as possible. The reaction caused in the oil by light accelerates the decomposition process of the oil, causing it to go bad more quickly 3.
This photosensitivity is the reason why most extra virgin olive oils are stored in glass containers with thick, very dark-colored glass. This type of container helps prevents light from affecting the precious oil 4.
Room temperature is the ideal storage temperature for this oil, as heat is another factor that causes pure olive oil to go bad quickly. If the oil is stored at high temperatures, it will go bad far more quickly than oils kept in cool environments.
Keeping the extra virgin olive oil in a sealed container is also very important. Exposure to air allows for natural ethylene gas to be produced and build up within the container the oil is stored. Regular olive oil should be kept away from one area of the kitchen which I discuss in my post, The Best Way To Store Olive Oil.
Keeping the oil in an air-tight container is best, but a tightly screwed on cap or snug cork will do fine as well. It’s important to ensure the oil is not in a container able to flex or expand.
Dark glass and corked bottles combined with dark, cool, but not a cold storage room is the ideal storage condition. This will help keep your oil at its finest for as long as possible 5.
What Makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil Go Bad?
Extra virgin olive oil is derived from pure olives and pure olives only. The purest oil is pressed from the olives and stored immediately, with no additives whatsoever 6.
Olive oil goes bad for the same reason that olives go bad, ethylene gas and decomposition. Ethylene is a natural gas produced by many fruits. Some fruits produce ethylene gas more readily than others, but all fruits produce it at some point in their ripening process.
This naturally occurring gas is what causes fruits to ripen, over-ripen, and eventually go bad. Ethylene gas is less evident in oils, but the harvesting process of the oil releases the gas from the olives when they are pressed. The oil will continue producing a small amount of it.
Due to the ethylene gas and other factors like temperature, the extra virgin olive oil will slowly decompose. This won’t occur as quickly as fresh olives, but the process is still present. This process is accelerated by warm temperatures, light and space for the ethylene gas to be generated and to expand.
Wrapping Up The Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is so-called because it’s a much purer form of olive oil than other oils. The purity of it is one of the reasons it does not last quite as long as regular olive oils.
While extra virgin olive oil is more expensive than other oil types, it only lasts a little less longer than regular olive oils.
The shelf-life of extra virgin olive oil differs from region to region, depending on climate and how the oil is stored. In addition, how recently it was produced and bottled. Pure extra virgin olive oil will last for anywhere between 18 – 20 months.
Extra virgin olive oil does go bad, but it takes a long while. Therefore, keep it stored correctly, use it within two years, and you will never find yourself with a bad bottle!
Read Next – More Food Storage
- USDA: Grades of Olive Oil
- Iowa State University: Olive Oils
- California Olive Ranch: How To Store Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The Dos And Don’ts For Keeping It Fresh
- Michigan State University: Store olive oil to avoid spoilage and maintain nutritional quality
- Olive Oil & Beyond: Olive Oil Storage & Handling
- Practical Gastroenterology: How to Buy, Store and Eat Olive Oil