You Don’t Have To Keep Your Extra Virgin Olive Oil In A Dark Bottle
[This was originally posted on Martin's blog.]
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!
Left: A bottle of first cold-pressed, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil from Croatia (one of our prototype bottles)
Right: A “premium” extra virgin olive oil purchased from a local supermarket.
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:
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.
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. We will post more information, and a full chemical analysis and break-down of nutrients when we launch.
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!