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Can Olive Oil go bad?

While it might be odd, as a frequent user of Olive Oil, to even consider that olive oil might expire, it is useful to know that, like most other ingredients in your kitchen, Olive Oil does indeed have a shelf-life.

So, how long does Olive Oil last?

In most cases, an unopened bottle of olive oil will last 2 years, particularly if the bottle is glass rather than plastic.  Olive oil stored in unopened tin containers may last longer.  Once opened Olive Oil will go bad within about a year as oxidation speeds up the expiry of the olive oil.

Storing Olive Oil

Most people store their olive oil in a cupboard, which is absolutely fine.  It is important to store it in a dark place as light, particularly direct sunlight will make olive oil expire much more quickly.

it is also preferable to store it below room temperature, so if you can store it in the fridge then that is great.  However, if you are getting through a bottle in a month or so then you are unlikely to encounter any issues unless you live in a hot and humid environment. However, if you are not a regular consumer of Olive oil then it may be advisable to store an opened bottle or tin in the fridge if you need it to last for more than 9 months or so.

 How to tell if Olive Oil has gone bad?

The first thing to check, as with all food products, is the expiry date on the bottle.  However as with most products that have a long shelf life these dates are wildly inaccurate and are hugely dependent on the conditions in which the product has been stored.

The first sign of deterioration of olive oil is that the taste will begin to go stale and it won’t smell so good.  If you don’t have a particularly sensitive sense of taste or smell and aren’t really sure then you can rest assured that the Olive oil is still fine to use at this stage, although if you do feel the smell is off, particularly around the lid, then it is advisable to discard as it is certainly past its best!

A more obvious sign that Olive Oil is bad is the same as most foods, it will begin to go mouldy. At this stage you really shouldn’t use it!

So, can olive oil go bad?  Yes, but it takes a long long time!  Even Greek Olive Oil can go bad!

However, if you store it carefully and use it regularly it is unlikely your Olive Oil will go bad before you have finished enjoying it!

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