Almost every single extra virgin olive oil blog online will tell you to store your olive oil in a dark bottle, preferably somewhere cool with very little light. A pantry or basement will do.
Look, I definitely don’t disagree. I still store most of my olive oil in the pantry (it helps when you’ve got a year’s supply), but the truth is that if you are in possession of a few bottles of ultra premium extra virgin olive oil, this is simply not necessary.
Here’s the catch. You actually have to be drinking authentic extra virgin olive oil for this to apply. Precaution aside, the main reason that large industrial producers of olive oil sell their wares in dark tinted bottles is that they are often cut with industrial seed oils that spoil easily. If they didn’t give you a stern preservation warning, they probably wouldn’t sell much in the long run!
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The typical olive oil blog claims that unless you store your olive oil as they recommend (in a dark black or green-tinted bottle), it will go rancid, and quite quickly. I must disagree. In fact, if you’ve got a quality product on your hands, feel absolutely free to leave it out on the kitchen counter for, let’s say, at most two months. It’ll still probably last longer.
Elizondo is one brand of extra virgin olive oil from Spain that I thoroughly enjoy. It’s mostly available from Costco. It’s a quality oil.
Bottom line. Elizondo has Skin In The Game. They proudly display their oil in a clear bottle because they are confident that it won’t spoil too quickly. They’re also confident that you will drink it up just as fast. This is the kind of reasoning that inspired our choice of bottle for Selo Oils, Inc.
Another great brand is The Governor from Corfu, Greece. Again, Skin In The Game.
Why do I care about this one peculiar issue so much? Well, it’s actually not that big of a deal to me. It comes to down to three simple things:
- Pride. Why wouldn’t we want to show off the labor of our love? Why wouldn’t you want to show off that cloudy, decadent golden color to your friends and family? It just looks better than a dark bottle or an aluminum tin can.
- Measurable Quality. Compared to most store-bought olive oils, the chemical composition of Selo Oils Croatian extra virgin olive oil is simply superior. Our polyphenol content (a health protective antioxidant) is approximately 700% greater than an average industrial “extra virgin” olive oil. This protects it from sunlight oxidation. For example, our Oleocanthol content is 700mg/Kg, whereas most barely surpass 100mg/Kg.
- Confidence. Selo Oils extra virgin olive oil is very tasty. And healthy. You will use it up quickly anyway. We simply know that. So you don’t really need to obsess over the minutiae presented by hyper-cautious “food tech” bloggers and their austere storage recommendations. No big deal!
I’ve seen how olive oil is stored in my family. I admit that I may not be the best use case. I personally consume one liter per month. A Croatian family of four or five people, who love to cook and eats lots of fresh fish and meat will easily go through 20-30 one-liter bottles in a year. Still, I am confident that leaving a bottle or two out on the kitchen counter for a couple of months is not something to obsess over.
In my family, we always have at least one full bottle out for show, and we drink from it just like we would any cooled, “protected” tin-can supermarket olive oil that we dig out of the pantry when we’re desperate or out of stock.
Frankly, I don’t feel comfortable calling this an anecdote. In reality, it’s a time-tested heuristic. My grandmother and her’s have been doing this for over a century. In Croatia, we often just store our olive oil in clear, empty mineral water bottles. Jamnica is a national treasure. There are always a few sitting around the kitchen. Next time I visit, I’ll try to snap a picture!
In my opinion, authentic extra virgin olive oil is the Holiest food in the world. Don’t you want to show off that liquid gold? I know that I do. When guests come over, I certainly want them to see what I will be feeding them, and to let them bask in all that Heavenly Glory.
Are you interested in quality, hand-picked, first cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil from Croatia?
2 thoughts on “You Don’t Have To Keep Your Extra Virgin Olive Oil In A Dark Bottle”
Unfortunately, the things you “feel” about the subject of dark bottles is very different from the actual science of it. The reason dark bottles are used is because of how UV light interacts with the oil. UV will cause a reaction which breaks down the fatty acid and phenol contents, reducing the quality of the oil as well as the fruity/bitter flavours that accompany it. It also increases the components that contribute to a rancid taste.
The point is, even if it was a great oil when it’s produced, it may not be a great oil by the time you use it if you’re exposing it to UV light. In fact, in some states like California, it’s unlawful to sell EVOO in a clear bottle. You can sell it as VOO but the “extra” is reserved for oil that has been protected from UV light.
This is untrue. Most olive oil sold in grocery stores is already hovering at about 0.7-0.8% acidity, which just barely qualifies for EVOO. Most olive oil brokers sell lower quality oils, often mixed with substantially more acidic seed oils, to increase their profit margins. The reason olive oil is usually sold in dark bottles is not to protect the oil from UV radiation and oxidation (which seems to make sense on the surface), but to prevent already subpar olive oil from going rancid too quickly while sitting in bright, hot grocery store aisles. A clear bottle is proof that the producer has enough margin in terms of acidity to sell EVOO without falling above the threshold. My olive oil has a pH level of 0.1-0.2%. We sell directly to our customers online from our warehouse, where the bottles are stored in cool, dark conditions at all times. The Romans may have transported their olive oil in clay Amphorae, but they always displayed it on their tables in clear glass bottles. In effect, a clear glass bottle is PROOF of quality because it demonstrates Skin in the Game, whereas olive oil in dark bottles usually have something to hide.