The short answer is no, olive oil does not get better with age. Olive oil oxidizes with time and, as a result, acidity levels rise and flavor weakens. Unlike wine or cheese, olive oil does not age gracefully. However, it does not deteriorate as rapidly or as strikingly as most edible products. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) does last longer than other types of olive oil because it has comparatively lower acidity levels from the moment it is bottled.
Many brands of EVOO don’t specify an expiry date on their bottles. Instead they prefer to specify a preferred date of consumption. As a general rule, Extra Virgin Olive Oil should be consumed within 18-24 months of harvest. A good quality oil should last up to two years providing it is stored in a capped bottle and is kept away from any heat sources. Once the bottle is opened, olive oil should be consumed within a few months.
How to store olive oil
Here are some tips you can follow to store your bottled olive oil in the best conditions:
- Keep your olive oil in the dark, out of well-lit areas and especially out of direct sunlight.
- Keep your olive oil away from heat sources such as an oven or kettle. Cool temperatures help preserve olive oil. Storing it in a refrigerated area is not necessary but can help extend olive oil’s lifespan.
- When not in use, the bottle or receptacle in which you keep your olive oil should be sealed tightly. Access to fresh air causes oxidation, which results in the olive oil deteriorating more rapidly, eventually leading to the oil going rancid.
The term rancid is used correctly; however it is interesting to note that most people may not notice that big a difference between olive oil that is still in its prime and olive oil that has turned rancid. Rancid olive oil is not necessarily inedible – it simply means that it has lost some of its original quality.
At Italica, we do of course taste and smell the difference, and we recommend that you respect the expiry or “best before” dates printed on the bottles you buy to always enjoy olive oil at its best. It would be a great shame to waste a bottle of top quality olive oil! Discover our range of premium and standard olive oils at this link. If you are interested in finding out more on the nutrients and properties of olive oil, you may enjoy reading our recent article providing nutritional information on olive oil.