Should you save olive oil like you would a wine? Should you use it sparingly so you don’t go through it too quickly? Though it’s tempting to hold on to your treasured bottle of EVOO, resist that urge.
Olive oil is essentially a fresh fruit juice -- no, you don’t need to consume it immediately after opening, nor do you need to refrigerate it (please don’t, actually -- refrigeration or freezing can change the composition of olive oil, and thus affect its quality). BUT it will go bad over time.
Ok, ok, so what’s the shelf life?
Generally speaking, unopened extra virgin should be good for at least a year and a half after its harvest date, if not longer. This amount of time can be affected by how it’s stored, as air, light and heat will cause the oil inside to oxidize. With that in mind, always store olive oil in a cool (but not super cold), dark place (or, handily, in our PRMRY glass bottles, which are spray coated to prevent light from entering).
TIP: Always look for the harvest date on a bottle of EVOO; not "bottle date" or "best by" date. PRMRY's harvest date is located on our tamper-proof labels that come attached to the cork.
The amount of time is also affected by the quality of the extra virgin. Typically, higher-quality extra virgins will have higher counts of phenols, aka antioxidants. What do those antioxidants do? Bingo: they keep the oil from oxidizing! So apart from being crazy good for you, those phenols also prolong the shelf life of your oil (they also increase the smoke point too). An oil with a really high phenol count, and that has been stored properly, could easily last for well over a year and a half, and even considerably longer.
These factors also hold true for opened olive oil, which can typically be good for up to six months, though we recommend consuming it in four or so months to ensure you’re really enjoying it while it tastes its best.
- Shelf life of an unopened bottle: 1.5 years or more after harvest, depending on storage and quality
- Shelf life of an opened bottle: ideally within 4 months of opening, but possibly up to six months depending on storage and quality