Preserving the Goodness: Tips to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple ingredient in many kitchens, prized for its health benefits and delicious flavour. But if you're not careful, your olive oil can go bad quickly, leaving you with a rancid, unpleasant-tasting oil that is no longer suitable for cooking or consuming. In this blog post, we'll share some tips and tricks for extending the shelf life of your olive oil so that you can enjoy it for longer.
Store Your Olive Oil Properly
Choose the right olive oil container
The first step in storing your olive oil is to choose the right container. Olive oil is sensitive to light, heat, and air, which can all cause the oil to oxidize and go rancid. To avoid this, it is best to store your olive oil in a dark glass or metal container. Avoid plastic containers, as plastic can leach into the oil and cause it to spoil. The container should also have a tight-fitting lid to minimize the oil's exposure to air.
Store your olive oil in a cool, dark place
Once you have the right container, store your olive oil in a cool, dark place. Heat and light can cause the oil to break down and lose its flavour and health benefits. A pantry or cupboard away from heat sources such as stoves, ovens, and direct sunlight is a good place to store your olive oil. If you live in a hot climate, you may want to consider storing your olive oil in the refrigerator.
Use your olive oil regularly
Another way to store your olive oil properly is to use it regularly. As you use the oil, it will be exposed to less air, which can help preserve its quality. Aim to use your olive oil within six months of purchasing it to ensure that it is fresh and flavorful.
Avoid transferring your olive oil to a new container
It is best to avoid transferring your olive oil to a new container. The process of transferring the oil can expose it to air, which can cause it to oxidize and go rancid more quickly. If you need to transfer your oil to a new container, make sure that the new container is clean and dry, and transfer the oil as quickly as possible.
Check the harvest date
When purchasing olive oil, check the harvest date on the bottle to ensure that it is fresh. Olive oil is best when it is fresh, so aim to purchase olive oil that has been harvested within the last year. If the harvest date is not listed on the bottle, look for other indicators of freshness, such as a "best by" date.
Keep your olive oil away from strong smells
Olive oil can absorb strong smells from other foods, which can affect its flavour. To avoid this, store your olive oil away from strong-smelling foods such as onions, garlic, and spices.
Why it's important to buy fresh olive oil
Olive oil is made from fresh olives, and like all fresh produce, it has a limited shelf life. Over time, the oil can go rancid, losing its flavour and health benefits. The fresher the oil, the better it tastes and the more health benefits it provides. Here are some reasons why it's important to buy fresh olive oil:
- Better flavour: Fresh olive oil has a vibrant, fruity flavour that is lost as the oil ages. The longer the oil sits on the shelf, the less flavorful it becomes.
- More health benefits: Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that have been linked to a range of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. These compounds degrade over time, so fresher oil is healthier.
- More stable: Fresh olive oil is more stable and less likely to break down when heated, making it a better choice for cooking.
Use clean utensils when handling your olive oil
One often overlooked aspect of handling olive oil is the cleanliness of your utensils. Why it's important to use clean utensils
Using clean utensils when handling your olive oil is important for several reasons:
- Avoid contamination: Dirty utensils can introduce bacteria and other contaminants into your olive oil, compromising its quality and safety.
- Preserve flavour: Clean utensils help to preserve the delicate flavour of your olive oil. Dirty utensils can taint the flavour of the oil, making it taste off or stale.
- Protect health benefits: Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds. Dirty utensils can break down these compounds, reducing the health benefits of your olive oil.
How to keep your utensils clean
Now that you know why it's important to use clean utensils, here are some tips for keeping your utensils clean:
- Wash your utensils before use: Before using any utensil with your olive oil, be sure to wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water. This includes everything from spoons and spatulas to measuring cups and storage containers.
- Use dedicated utensils: To avoid cross-contamination, consider using dedicated utensils for your olive oil. This means having a separate set of utensils that are only used for your oil, so you don't have to worry about any other foods or flavours tainting your oil.
- Store your utensils properly: After washing your utensils, be sure to store them in a clean, dry place. Avoid storing them in a damp or humid environment, as this can promote the growth of bacteria and other contaminants.
- Don't reuse utensils: Once you've used a utensil with your olive oil, don't reuse it until you've washed it again. This is especially important if you've used the utensil with another food, as this can introduce contaminants into your oil.
Why it's actually healthy to cook, bake and fry your food in olive oil
A common misconception is that the smoke points advertised for various oils are the same as the smoke points you observe when heating the oil in your pan before adding food. However, the smoke points provided by manufacturers are derived from standardized AOCS (American Oil Chemist Society) tests that use bleached and deodorized oils that have been stripped of their natural antioxidants.
Unprocessed extra virgin olive oil has many health benefits, including a higher oxidative stability, making it ideal for cooking, baking, and frying. Its high concentration of monounsaturated fats provides it with a greater resistance to oxidation compared to other oils, allowing it to withstand higher temperatures without breaking down and producing harmful compounds, even when it reaches its smoke point. This makes it a healthier and more reliable choice for cooking and frying.
In addition to its higher oxidative stability, olive oil contains beneficial antioxidants, such as vitamin E and polyphenols, that can reduce inflammation and promote healthy aging. These antioxidants also contribute to the unique flavor and aroma of the oil, making it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. By using extra virgin olive oil for cooking and frying, you can enjoy the delicious taste and numerous health benefits of this natural ingredient, while also improving the overall nutritional value of your meals.
What are some of the health benefits of frying with olive oil?
Some of the health benefits of frying with olive oil include:
- Maximizing Antioxidant Absorption through Cooking with Olive Oil: Olive oil is a rich source of unique antioxidants such as oleocanthal and oleuropein, which possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. When used for cooking, these antioxidants are absorbed by the foods, adding to their nutritional value. This means that cooking with olive oil can make your meals more nutritious by providing you with beneficial compounds that may not be present in other cooking oils. Additionally, using olive oil in cooking can help to reduce the risk of oxidative damage to the food, as the antioxidants in the oil help to neutralize free radicals that can cause harm to the body.
- Increased Bioavailability of Antioxidants through Frying with Olive Oil: Frying with olive oil can increase the bioavailability of antioxidants such as oleocanthal and oleuropein. This means that when you cook foods with olive oil, your body is better able to absorb and use these beneficial compounds. This is because the high temperature used in frying causes a chemical reaction that breaks down the antioxidants into smaller molecules that are more easily absorbed by the body. Additionally, the oil itself can help to transport the antioxidants to the body's cells.
- Lipid Transfer and How Frying with Olive Oil Enhances Nutritional Value: Research has shown that frying foods in olive oil can have a positive effect on the nutritional content of your meals. When foods are fried in olive oil, the high temperature causes the formation of lipid aggregates. These aggregates can then bind with the fats from other foods, such as fish or meat, resulting in a transfer of beneficial compounds between the different foods. This process is known as lipid transfer and can result in a fortification of the nutritional content of the entire meal.
How to cook with olive oil correctly
To get the most out of your olive oil and avoid the negative effects of overheating, follow these tips:
- Use low to medium heat for most applications: When cooking with olive oil, use low to medium heat. This will help to preserve the flavour and health benefits of the oil.
- Avoid deep frying: While it is generally safe to use olive oil for most at-home cooking, it's important to note that frying with olive oil at temperatures above 410°F is not recommended. At high temperatures, olive oil can break down and produce harmful compounds, so it's best to avoid using it for stir fry or pizza, which typically require high heat. However, for most other types of cooking, such as sautéing, roasting, and baking, olive oil is a healthy and flavorful choice that can add a nutritional boost to your meals.
- Use it as a finishing oil: Using olive oil as a finishing oil is a popular culinary technique that can enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your dishes. You can drizzle a high-quality extra virgin olive oil over roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or even a simple plate of pasta to add a rich, fruity flavor to your meal. You can also use olive oil as a dipping sauce for bread or as a salad dressing by mixing it with vinegar or lemon juice. By using olive oil as a finishing oil, you can ensure that the delicate flavor and nutritional benefits of the oil remain intact, making it a healthy and tasty addition to your meals.
Olive oil is a wonderful ingredient that can add flavour and nutrition to your meals, but it does require some care and attention to extend its shelf life. By storing your olive oil properly, using clean utensils, avoiding exposure to air, not overheating it, and using it regularly, you can help ensure that your olive oil stays fresh and delicious for as long as possible.
Ready to start cooking with high-quality olive oil? Visit Selo Olive Olive's website today to browse our selection of fresh, premium olive oils. With proper storage and usage, you can enjoy the flavour and health benefits of olive oil for longer. Don't settle for rancid, low-quality oil – choose Selo Olive Olive for the best culinary experience.