Storage of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the most important reasons for the degradation of extra virgin olive oil to another inferior quality category (virgin or lambade) is its storage conditions. But before we can talk about its proper storage practices, we need to know what to protect it from!
The enemies of olive oil
The “enemies” of quality extra virgin olive oil are light, temperature, oxygen and its age.
The light, not only from the sun but also from the simple lamp we have at home, negatively affects its quality. A group of researchers compared for 12 months the behavior of two extra virgin olive oils, storing them in different ways (one was stored in a place where it could see the light and the other in a dark place). The results showed that the product stored in the dark had lower levels of oxidation. It also maintained its positives at a higher intensity throughout the year compared to the other. In addition, the shelf life of the product stored in a dark place is longer than that stored in a place where the light sees it. Finally, another important finding was that after 2 months, the product exposed to light during storage was no longer extra virgin olive oil.
The storage temperature of extra virgin olive oil is an important factor influencing its quality. In research published in 2017, researchers studied the behavior of the product at temperatures of 6 C⁰ and 26 C° as well as in two types of packaging (dark green glass and ‘tin’). The study lasted 125 days. The results showed that by storing the extra virgin olive oil in dark glass containers and at low temperatures, the quality degradation of the product can be prevented. In addition, an important finding of the research was that the combination of “tin” and high storage temperatures (26 C⁰) lead to quality degradation. Specifically, the sample they studied presented the taste defect of rancidity.
When we buy a package and open it, we allow oxygen to enter and contact it. Research that lasted 3 years studied, among other things, the effect that oxygen has on the quality of the product. The results showed that oxygen negatively affects the quality not only regarding its organoleptic characteristics but also its chemical analyses.
Age is no ally of the quality of extra virgin olive oil. Unlike wine where it often takes time to develop all its positive characteristics, extra virgin olive oil loses its positive characteristics over time.
Correct way to store olive oil
Store the product to protect it from its enemies!
- Choose dark packaging
- Store it in a place where it is protected from light! You can put it in a closed cabinet. This way you protect it from all forms of light.
- You choose to store the product in a place with a stable and relatively low temperature (ideally between 18 and 20 oC). Avoid placing it next to heat sources such as electric cookers.
- Choose the package size according to your needs. So you won’t have to store open packages for a long time.Once the packaging is opened, try to consume the product within a short period of time.
Store the product you buy properly! So you will be able to enjoy all its positive features for a longer time!