Don’t Hoard Your Oil

One of the things we heard most often from Olive Oil producers and connoisseurs was how much Olive Oil was like wine. The worst are bad blends of unknown origin and age, and the best can be identified down to the year, varietal and olive grove.

But one thing that differentiates Olive Oil from wine is that is does NOT get better with age.

Olive Oil Tasting - Dauro
Creative Commons License photo credit: Alexa Clark

Olive oil is best when fresh.  The sooner you can use it the better and our desire to store and save the best oils for special occasions and special meals can be mean we are losing the best flavour, aroma and experience.

When speaking to producers they talk about how quickly they extract the oil after the olives are harvested to preserve the best flavour and how careful they are to bottle it up tight in dark bottles.  When we talked to importers they talk about carrying small quantities so that they can always give their buyers the freshest newest batches. When we talk to tasters they always share tips on keeping your olive oil in cool, dark places, well sealed, and making sure you check the pressing date on the bottles or tins.  (in the case below they’ve listed best before date as 1 year from pressing date)
Pressing details Tucciloliva
Creative Commons License photo credit: Alexa Clark

The 4 killers of any oil are light, heat, air and time, and olive oil is no exception.

Turns out that well before you can taste rancidity the olive oil is breaking down and losing it’s “healthful properties” which include vitamin E, chlorophyll and beta-carotene.  Journal of Food Science (March 2009), notes that olive oil sitting on your shelf for over 6 months may lose up to 40% of its healthy, antioxidant benefits.

So if you have a nice bottle of olive oil, use it!

Tucciloliva on the Plate
Creative Commons License photo credit: Alexa Clark

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Photo Credit : Alexa Clark