If you’re like me and you love olive oil, you might be surprised by what you learn when you read Tom Mueller’s Extra Virginity. I know it changed my olive oil buying habits for good. Olive oil is a perishable product, produced by squeezing the juice from green or ripe olives. As such, it has a relatively short shelf life, even after being bottled. Here’s what you need to look out for when buying and storing olive oil.
- Heat – heat degrades olive oil, so don’t keep it near your stove, and don’t buy olive oil that is stored by heat or bright lights.
- Light – light degrades the oil so do keep it in the cupboard – and more importantly do buy olive oil that is sold in a tin, a wrapped bottle, or a dark bottle – no clear bottles as they allow light in.
- Air – oxidizes and spoils the oil prematurely – premature anything is probably not a good thing. Keep it tightly closed.
Finally – look on the bottle for a harvest and bottle date. Olive oil is best used within 1 year of harvest, and I love it when the grower puts the harvest date on the bottle so I know just how fresh the oil is. I especially love the oils produced by California Olive Ranch, based in Chico, California. Their varietals, like Arbequina and Arbosana are fantastic finishing oils, and I use their Miller’s Blend for all of my cooking. Luckily the brand is getting a lot more well-known up here in the Northwest and our local PCC Natural Markets has just started carrying it.