Generally speaking, an extra virgin olive oil maintains its freshness for up to 18 months from its crush date. A crush date indicates the date of the oil’s production. As an oil ages, it begins to degrade, losing healthful benefits, and eventually becomes rancid.
Due to the range of variables that can affect an individual oil's characteristics, there is no definitive shelf life that can be applied to all olive oils. Depending on olive type and method of harvest, olives oils can range from more mild to more robust in flavor as well as in polyphenol content. Polyphenols, or antioxidants, help to preserve an oil’s freshness, so oils with a higher polyphenol count will last the longest.
To help maintain the flavor and nutrients in your olive oil, store it in a cool, dark place and in a dark-colored glass bottle that light cannot easily pass through. Be sure the bottle is airtight so the oil does not oxidize. For more detailed instructions, visit our post on storing olive oil. The best way to ensure your oil won’t go bad is to use it up.
Remember that the best olive oil is the freshest olive oil - so, save the aging for your balsamic vinegar or vino!