The Quality Of Your Bulk Olive Oil: The Crucial Role Of Storage To Maintain Its Quality

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The storage of your bulk olive oil should not be disregarded as an afterthought once it is delivered. You must plan how you will store bulk olive oil properly before purchasing it. Purchasing olive oil and storing it in unfavorable conditions can be likened to purchasing ice cream from a store and taking 8 hours to reach home before placing it in the freezer.

You should not buy ice cream and leave it unrefrigerated for hours. It is the same when you buy olive oil in bulk. You have to plan whether you are a retailer, a manufacturer, or a home chef. Respect the appropriate storage conditions for olive oil to Savor its freshness for as long as possible.

What are The Proper Storage Conditions For Olive Oil?

Keep It Cool

Ideally, olive oil is best stored at room temperature or slightly cooler (50°-70°F). Avoid exposing it to heat from direct sunlight, summer temperatures, heaters, or sunny windows. Heat can negatively impact the oil’s quality. That said, refrigeration is not required – olive oil can be kept at room temperature. If refrigerated, olive oil may solidify from the cold, but this is easily reversed by letting the bottle warm to room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Just be aware that particles and natural waxes in extra virgin olive oil may settle when chilled. The key is to store olive oil away from heat sources while maintaining a moderate room temperature.

Keep It Dark

To preserve its freshness and quality, store olive oil in opaque containers that block light. Dark green bottles sold in stores are designed for this purpose. For daily use, keep a small bottle on hand and store the rest in a cupboard away from light. When buying in bulk, opt for cardboard or metal containers that prevent light exposure. Light accelerates oxidation, so shielding olive oil from light will help it retain its flavor and nutritional value.

Keep It Sealed From Air

To preserve the quality of your oil, minimize its exposure to oxygen as much as possible. At home, store oil in a sealed bottle rather than one with an open pour spout. In large-scale production, opt for cardboard totes or 35 lb containers over plastic totes. As oil is dispensed from cardboard totes, the bags collapse around the remaining oil, limiting oxygen contact. Plastic totes maintain their shape as oil is dispensed, allowing air circulation. 35 lb containers allow opening only a few gallons at a time, keeping the rest sealed off from oxygen. With proper storage, olive oil can last up to 2 years from production, though for best quality use within 6-12 months of purchase.

Consequences of Improper Bulk Olive Oil Storage

Exposure to excessive heat, light, or oxygen can cause olive oil to go rancid, though this rancidity differs from dairy spoilage and does not make the oil unsafe to ingest. Rancid olive oil develops an unpleasant flavor, odor, and pale color, losing its flavor entirely or acquiring a musty, stale taste. To investigate how improper storage accelerates degradation, I conducted an experiment exposing olive oil to unfavorable conditions like sunlight and heat. The results provided enlightening photographic evidence of how these factors compromise oil quality and freshness.

Give Your Oil A Fighting Chance

If you store your olive oil in hot or sunny areas, or if you constantly expose it to air, the aforementioned experiment is gradually taking place with your olive oil, day after day. Take appropriate measures before purchasing your bulk olive oil. Ensure that it remains in good condition for months to come.