Essential to maintaining the freshness of an extra virgin olive oil is the method of storage. To avoid rancidity and degradation of an oil, consider the following factors during storage: light, temperature, oxygen.
A dark, not light place: While the kitchen windowsill may offer a foodie-chic look when adorned with a collection of EVOO bottles, it’s best to keep your oils off there. Tucking bottles inside the cupboard or pantry protects the oil from sunlight and prevents light exposure that can lead to degradation of the oil. According to one study, sunlight exposure most adversely affects an oil’s antioxidants level, reducing its healthful benefits considerably. Additionally, storing oil in a dark glass bottle not only protects from sunlight with the dark color, but the material itself is preferred because it does not absorb the oil like plastic bottles do with time.
The right temperature: High temperatures are another enemy of high quality oil. With 57°F to 70°F being ideal, the right temperature is essential for preserving an oil’s freshness. Storing oils on the stove top, although convenient for cooking, is a certain way to harm a high quality oil due to the high heat and fluctuating temperatures.
Keep it airtight: Storing oil in an airtight container is crucial. Whether it’s a cap or self-closing pour spout sealing the bottle, ensure the top is snug, preventing air from harming the oil. When extra virgin olive oil oxidizes, the acidity levels rise (recall, to be considered extra virgin quality an oil must not exceed 0.8% oleic acid) and the oil begins deteriorating.
Protecting your bottle of EVOO from light, heat, and oxygen will help reduce the chance of free radicals forming, loss of flavor, and reduction in quality. The best way to ensure freshness, however, is to use the oil generously. Packed full of nutrients, good oil is meant to be enjoyed, not packed away. Here are some of our suggestions for enjoying your oil.