Whether you’re a gourmet chef or a novice cook, it’s very important to ensure proper storage of your olive oils and balsamic vinegars for maximum taste and longevity! To help, we’ve put together our ultimate guide to caring for your oils and vinegars:
Part One: Recommended Olive Oil Storage
You’ve selected your favorite olive oils to take home…now what? Like a fine wine, olive oils are fragile and need to be stored properly to ensure they’re always fresh and tasty! A properly preserved olive oil will maintain its healthful properties and won’t become a health hazard. Follow these top three tips for your olive oil storage:
- Keep it cool: Like wine, your olive oils are sensitive to temperatures, so when choosing the perfect storage place remember that light and heat are the enemies. Temperature is one of the keys to preventing the degradation of your olive oils, and experts recommend storing them at 57 degrees Fahrenheit (the temperature of a wine cellar). Don’t have a wine cellar? No worries! Room temperature (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit) works too. Just remember to place them far away from heat sources (like an oven, microwave or other heat producing appliances) and light (a cupboard or pantry is ideal).
- What’s on the outside does matter: As soon as you open the bottle of olive oil, oxidation occurs and the degradation process begins. If accessible, use an inert gas to help displace the oxygen. For container types, we recommend stainless steel, tinted glass or ceramic containers with lids/closures because they keep out the light and are nonreactive with the olive oil. Avoid other metal containers (especially iron or copper) because they can react with the olive oil to create toxic compounds. Similarly avoid most plastics because the olive oil can absorb noxious substances from the plastic.
- Older is not better: Unlike wine, olive oils do not improve with age. In fact, as they get older the olive oil breaks down, the acidity level rises, flavor weakens and the nutrients degrade. For best quality and flavor, use your olive oil within a year of pressing (check your bottle for a “use by” date). To check if your olive oil is still fresh, take a whiff. If it’s going rancid you’ll notice it begins to take on a crayon or Band-Aid smell.
REMEMBER: If you follow these 3 storage tips, your olive oil can keep up to 14 months. Some oils and balsamics may degrade sooner or store longer than recommendations, but ask us about the shelf life of your favorite oil next time you’re in!
No matter what kind of kitchen you’re cooking in, make sure you find the perfect storage place for your olive oils and balsamic vinegars for maximum enjoyment! Check out our Balsamic Vinegar storage tips here.
Want some great tips on how to use your olive oils and balsamic vinegars? We have tons of great recipes for you to try!