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Using and Storing Olive Oil

Like all fats, olive oil is a delicate product. It becomes rancid very easily and needs to be stored carefully to preserve its flavor and health-giving properties. It should be stored in a clean, dry place at temperatures between 15-20˚C. There are two main problems to bear in mind when storing olive oil: it is easily “polluted” by other odors and goes off relatively quickly. It absorbs other aromas and odors and this makes it an excellent base for essences and perfumes. However, in the same way that is absorbs perfumes it will also take on any bad smell to which it is exposed. For this reason oil should always kept in clean, odorless containers and stored in cupboards or rooms where it is not exposed to strong smells, such as smoke, paint, mold or fuels. Like many natural products, olive oil passes through a series of life stages. Newly pressed extra virgin olive oil is often not well balanced and can be aggressive and disorganized in aroma and flavor. It stabilizes about a month after production, acquiring harmony and its own special character. Month-old oil is at its peak, from then on it gradually loses aroma and intensity. After two years it is flat and tired and should be thrown away. Before you bring olive oil home, pay attention to where it has been shelved in the store. Make sure it is stored in cans or tinted glass bottles and pass on those stored under bright lights or close to window. Look for the harvest and expiration date. Bottles of olive oil should not be refrigerated. Condensation can occur on the lid and drip water back into the oil, which could spoil the oil’s flavor and cause rancidity