No matter how pricey your bottle was, it's really how you store it that makes the difference in preserving flavor and quality. Here's how to keep your EVOO kickin'.

By Betty Gold
Updated May 03, 2019
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A drizzle of olive oil is the start and the finish to countless classic recipes. Its versatile flavor and top-notch nutrition profile give us every reason to pour it on pasta, fish, salad, bread, cake batter, pizza, directly into our mouths... the list goes on.

Considering how frequently we use olive oil, it makes sense that so many home cooks keep the bottle right next to the stove within arm's reach. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in regards to keeping your favorite ingredient fresh. Olive oil deteriorates and turns rancid more rapidly when exposed to light, heat, and air—so storing it next to the hot stove (and under the bright overhead lighting) is just about the worst place possible. Here's all the must-know information from the olive oil experts at Bertolli on keeping olive oil as fresh as possible.

Avoid bright light and opt for a tinted bottle.

At the grocery store, reach for a bottle at the back of the shelf, where the oil is shielded from fluorescent light. Be sure to buy brands bottled in dark-colored glass or plastic to help prevent ultraviolet rays from penetrating the bottle. (If you do buy oil in clear glass, wrap the bottle in foil when you get home and keep it covered.) Long-term exposure to light can affect flavor, too, so store EVOO in a dark cupboard or cabinet to prevent oxidation.

Keep the bottle closed.

In the midst of cooking it’s easy to set a bottle of olive oil down, unopened, for some time. But leaving the bottle open–or even not secured tightly–allows air to easily access the oil which accelerates the oxidation process and therefore, could cause the oil to turn rancid. Keep yours tight at all times for optimal freshness.

Keep it cool – but not in the fridge.

EVOO exposed to warm temperatures will begin to oxidize and eventually turn rancid. Bottles should be stored away from heat but not in a cold place that will cause the oil to solidify. Bertolli's olive oil expert, Paul Miller, recommends storing olive oil around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use it or lose it.

Olive oil isn’t an item to buy in large quantities unless it will be consumed at a rapid pace. Because so many factors affect oxidation, an oil could turn rancid before the bottle is finished. Bottles should be consumed one-at-a-time and bought as-needed to ensure the freshest oil.