Olive oil is a highly prestigious food product – a pillar of the Italian Mediterranean diet, listed since 2010 by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage. Let’s have a look at the best ways to preserve olive oil, including how and where it will be best kept. In order to maintain its precious characteristics, it is crucial to store a good oil in a suitable place, in appropriate containers, and protect it from sunlight.
Master oil producers – artisans of excellence when it comes to olive processing – know that to obtain an excellent oil, it is not enough simply to have high-quality olives. What makes the difference is the processing and, above all, the preservation of the final product.
This yellow gold is rich in natural molecules that can easily be altered and oxidised. Once oxidation sets in, the product loses its qualitative characteristics, becoming unpleasant to the nose and the palate.
So, how to best store olive oil? The three parameters to be taken into account are:
- Light: the oil must be stored in a dark place, since sunlight accelerates the process of oxidation of its molecules
- Temperature: olive oil should be stored at room temperature. Never below 12°.
- Containers: preference should be given to dark glass bottles or well-sealed stainless steel containers.
So where is it best to store olive oil? In a dry and dark place, away from heat sources as well as protected from cold. Therefore, if you live in the north, you should not store it in the basement or cellar, but rather on a shelf or in a cupboard indoors inside the house.
Here’s how to store olive oil properly after leaving the mill
The olives must be taken to the mill on the same day they are harvested. Here, as a result of mechanical processes, such as cold pressing, decantation and finally filtration, the oil produced is collected in special containers, either opaque glass bottles or steel tanks, to be stored or marketed. This is how to store olive oil after leaving the mill:
- Choose the most appropriate containers: to this day, the storage of the oil is determined on the basis of the quantities to be stored. High capacity green or opaque glass tanks are used when large volumes of oil are to be stored.
- Stainless steel containers can be useful for small or medium quantities, or to transfer oil from large capacity to smaller containers.
- Dark or opaque glass bottles, for daily consumption. Plastic should be avoided since, in addition to being less hygienic, these containers are also transparent and allow light to filter in, quickly degrading the oil.
Well, how do you store freshly pressed olive oil? In the mill, large vessels capable of storing significant amounts of oil are required. Once taken home, these will be stored in a cool, dry and, above all, dark place, in order to avoid thermal excursions. The ideal temperature is between 12 °C and 25 °C. If decanting, it is better to opt for medium-sized hermetic steel containers: this way, it prevents air from entering and oxygen alter the oil.
In a tank or in a bottle: where is it better to store olive oil?
If the tank is made of steel and the bottles of dark glass, in both cases these are two very good solutions as these are inert, opaque, very hygienic and durable materials. But is it really the best choice to keep olive oil in a tank? And which bottles are appropriate for storing olive oil?
- Tanks: suitable for volumes of under 5 litres. If more, the advice is to decant the olive oil into various bottles of opaque glass, so to prevent air from entering each time the tanks are opened to pour the oil. Oxygen oxidises the product, reducing its valuable organoleptic qualities.
- Bottles: they must be made of dark glass, and preferably have a maximum capacity of one litre. Light and oxygen incorporated over time tend to deteriorate the olive oil, especially in the case of larger capacity bottles, which tend to be consumed over longer periods of time.
How long can olive oil be stored? And what temperature should it be stored at?
If stored properly, i.e. in the dark, at temperatures between 12 and 25 °C and hermetically sealed, the shelf life can be up to 15 months.
And what about how long you can store non-marketed olive oil to be able to sell it further down the line? The duration is actually the same, but it will be necessary to transfer it after a few months to remove the sediment that will have deposited on the bottom. After six months, a new transfer should be carried out.