If you are doing any serious cooking, you simply have to have a good extra virgin olive oil. Its great flavor and versatile nature give in limitless uses in a kitchen. It’s a great base for homemade dressings, great for sautéing in and a main ingredient in many dishes.
The best part of olive oil goes beyond its amazing flavor though. It is a very healthy substitute for butter, margarine and most other oils. It’s low in saturated fat and chemical additives used to make many other oils. Its health benefits, ease of use and wonderful flavor make it obvious why many chefs choose to have olive oil around at all times.
The downside is that olive oil is actually a fruit juice with a limited shelf life, unlike most processed vegetable oils. In order to keep your olive oil tasting and smelling like it should, here are four things to keep in mind.
How NOT to Store Olive Oil
•Light – like wines and beers, light causes olive oil to degrade rapidly. Keep your oil in dark bottles (green is best) and avoid keeping it out on the counter. Store it inside a cabinet, preferably a cool one when not in use to maximize its shelf life.
•Temperature – The heat from your oven or cooktop will cause the oil to break down rapidly, so avoid storing near those places.
•Time – The most obvious and for good reason. Since it is a fruit juice, it does not have an unlimited shelf life. Choose bottles with the harvest date clearly marked on it, trying for a date within the last 18 months, two years at most. Buy only as much as you will use within two weeks to a month of opening.
•Oxygen – Last but not least, exposure to air for long periods of time will cause olive oil to turn rancid. To avoid this, store your olive oil in a tightly sealed, airtight container when not in use.
Avoiding these storage errors will help you keep your olive oil flavorful and fresh for longer periods of time. It doesn’t take much effort to preserve the subtle, yet essential flavor of your quality oils.