Once you have selected the perfect olive oil, it is imperative that you store it correctly in order to ensure that maintains a high level of freshness and flavor.
It is important to remember that olives are a fruit. The oil from olives can be compared to the juice from any other fruit. Air, heat, and light can all cause olive oil to oxidize, making its lose its fruit flavor or turn rancid. The safest way to buy olive oil is in small sizes so you can use it before it goes bad.
Look for oils that come in opaque or tinted glass, especially for extra virgin olive oil. The quality of olive oil can degrade when exposed to light. Dark containers help the oil maintain its freshness and quality.
When bought in bulk, it is important to transfer the oil from the large container into smaller containers. The best containers are cans or dark-colored bottles. Olive oil should never be stored in plastic containers. The oil has the potential of pulling harmful substances from the plastic, making it unsafe to use. Ensure that all containers have proper lids that fit tightly to ensure that the oil has minimal contact with the air.
Once your oil has been transferred, keep a small bottle in the kitchen. Oil is best stored in a cabinet and should never be kept near the stove where it will be continuously exposed to heat. Store the rest of your supply in a cool dark location like a cabinet, basement or cellar. The ideal storage temperature is 57°F or 14°C.
It is not recommended to store olive oil in the refrigerator. While refrigeration itself does not harm most grades of oil, condensation can form in the bottle and affect the flavor, especially in expensive extra virgin olive oils.
Olive oils should be consumed within two years of the pressing date. After this time, the nutrients within the oil degrade, acidity levels increase and the flavor deteriorates. Check for pressing dates on the oil bottle and make sure that you throw the oil out once it passes its expiration.