Raise your hand if you’ve ever been digging through your cupboard and stumbled upon an item or two with a questionable expiration date. We’ve been there a time or two, and while it might be safe to use those products in whatever you’re cooking (I mean does garlic powder really expire), using certain expired items could truly ruin an otherwise delicious meal.
Extra virgin olive oil, especially high-quality oils like our ultra-premium varieties can bring an extra boost of flavor to any dish, but not if they’ve expired. In today’s blog we’re walking you through the steps of identifying an olive oil that’s gone bad, and exploring ways to prevent that from happening.
How to Tell If Olive Oil Is Expired
There are truly two ways to tell if your olive oil has expired and both work on their own, but using the two in combination is probably the most effective way to know if the oil is in fact bad.
First, smell the oil. Open the bottle, pour some out and smell the oil. A good olive oil should smell fresh and green like ripe olives. Rancid oil will smell a bit waxy like crayons or putty. Second, taste the oil. A good oil will taste “green” like fresh grass or ripe green olives. If it is at all greasy or tastes like nuts that have gone bad get rid of it.
Cooking with or eating rancid oil won’t make you sick, however, the off flavor you’ll get is likely to ruin a recipe. If you find that your oil has gone bad we suggest tossing it out and making a trip to the store.
How to Help Prevent Olive Oil from Going Bad
While olive oil can go bad unexpectedly, there are a few things that are known to cause it to become rancid sooner than the expiration date. Check out our tips below for protecting your oil
1. Store it in a dark bottle – exposure to light can cause your olive oil to go bad more quickly than normal so you should store your oil in a dark bottle and in a cabinet away from light.
Preventing exposure to light is why our oils and balsamic vinegars are stored in stainless steel containers (fustis) and then transferred to dark bottles and sealed right in store. This ensures a fresh bottling and helps prevent exposure to light.
2. Don’t Expose it To Air – exposure to the air can also impact the oil and cause it to go rancid before the expiration date. When you use your oil be sure that you get a good seal on it after use. You’ll also want to ensure that you use it up within a few months after you’ve opened it.
3. Exposure to Heat – While your oil is good at room temperature you’ll want to be sure that you don’t over-expose it to additional heat. Make sure you don’t leave it out on the counter where it sits in the sunlight for a majority of the day or it may alter the olive oil shelf life.