Before buying a bottle of extra virgin olive oil (evoo), always check the label for press and packaging dates. If there isn’t any date on, it is more likely to pay for an old “expired” olive oil.
The end-user should know that in the Northern hemisphere, olives are harvested between October and January and the bottling procedure usually starts at the beginning of the year.
Olive oil is fragile and must be kept away from air, light and high temperatures. This doesn’t mean it can be stored in the refrigerator, because it gets cloudy and it might lose its aroma and flavour.
Keeping the air out of the bottle or the metal tin, by sealing the lid tightly, minimizes the exposure to oxygen, avoiding the olive oil to go rancid, which degrades its quality and shortens its life-expectancy.
The consumer is more likely to buy a product if they can actually see the content, but olive oils sold in clear glass bottles are exposed to the light and might be rancid. Just a few weeks of light exposure accelerates oxidation and the aging of the olive oil, including the lights at the grocery store. In our opinion, the fact that many evoo’s are in clear bottles is certainly a question of marketing.
Dark bottles keep the light out, allowing the olive oil to last longer. It is not recommended to store olive oil in plastic containers. It can absorb noxious substances out of the plastic.
A dark cool place (a cellar or basement) slows the aging and it is the ideal place to store your olive oil. Heat may cause permanent damage to your evoo. The temperature must never exceed 22 °C.
Olive oil doesn’t improve with age like wine does, but rather it starts to break down over time. Extra virgin olive oil has lower acidity and does not break down as quickly.