Extra virgin olive oil is one of Italy’s quintessential agrifood products – a high-quality ingredient that is a firm fixture in every Italian home. While extra virgin olive oil boasts excellent nutritional properties and gastronomic value, it is also a fragile and perishable product.
That’s why it’s important to know how to store extra virgin olive oil correctly to stop it from spoiling and preserve its organoleptic properties. Let’s see the best ways to store extra virgin olive oil and which packaging is the most suitable.
How long does extra virgin olive oil last?
The shelf life of extra virgin olive oil can vary depending on how it is stored as this affects how quickly the product expires. In general, extra virgin olive oil should be consumed within 18 months of bottling, with little difference between filtered and unfiltered oil.
However, a deterioration in the product becomes apparent after the first 12 months. The best time to enjoy the special flavor of extra virgin olive oil is 3 to 8 months after extraction. Extra virgin olive oil doesn’t last forever, although it has a long shelf life thanks to the presence of polyphenols – antioxidants that increase the food’s resistance to spoilage.
How to store oil
In order to store olive oil correctly, there are a few steps to follow to prevent it from spoiling and to preserve its quality and unique organoleptic properties for as long as possible. Firstly, keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil should be protected from exposure to very high or low temperatures, as these could favor its rancidification or cause it to lose its nutritional properties.
This product must also be kept away from sunlight or artificial light, both direct and indirect, as prolonged exposure to light can compromise the flavor and aromas of the extra virgin olive oil. Similarly, it must not come into contact with the air as the oxygen oxidizes the fatty acids in the oil and alters its chemical composition.
That being said, let’s see the best ways to store extra virgin olive oil. First of all, it’s important to use dark containers to protect the product from sunlight or artificial light and store the oil in a cool, dark place, such as a cellar or a larder with thick doors.
After opening it, it’s best to put the oil into smaller containers based on how much is going to be used, to reduce the amount of air inside the bottle or jug. It’s also possible to use stoppers with pump mechanisms to remove all the air from the container.
Extra virgin olive oil should be stored at a temperature between 14 and 18°C. Below 12°C it tends to solidify so it should not be kept in the refrigerator, while below 0°C it can even lose its nutritional and organoleptic properties. Similarly, if the temperature exceeds 18°C, the oil will expire faster.
Packaging for liquid products
Liquid products like extra virgin olive oil need appropriate food packaging. The packaging must protect the contents from light and contact with oxygen, while helping to keep the oil within an ideal temperature range, reducing its exposure to temperature changes.
In general, the primary packaging consists in a thick, dark glass bottle, which can preserve the nutritional and organoleptic properties of the extra virgin olive oil and protect it from light and heat sources. Then a food label is applied to the packaging containing all the useful information for the consumer.
An alternative to glass as the primary packaging is a flexible type of packaging consisting of a plastic bag inside a cardboard box, which can be customized to meet your needs. This is called Bag in box packaging.
As well as dark glass bottles, it’s possible to use stainless steel containers that offer optimal protection from light and are highly resistant. Alternatively, cans can be used – the material is lighter than steel but less resistant, opaque and hygienic.
Oil storage: the best packaging solutions
To store extra virgin olive oil correctly, it’s important to choose the right packaging. Volmar Packaging boasts a wide range of innovative packaging.
We offer new-generation food packaging solutions ideal for storing extra virgin olive oil. Take the Super Pouch, for example, a modern and versatile stand-up pouch with a customizable or neutral design, a resistant multi-layer structure and a T-Tap system for consumer convenience.
We also offer innovative bag in box packaging: a practical and secure system to package, transport and use extra virgin olive oil conveniently and efficiently. Bag in box packaging for oil does not alter the product’s flavor, it optimizes transport and storage, and offers excellent value for money.