The Health Benefits of Olive Oil – Part 3

How to Store Olive Oil

When it comes to keeping your EVOO fresh, 3 things will really affect it!

  1. Light
  2. Heat
  3. Oxygen

Proper storage can protect your olive oil and keep it from turning rancid. Keep reading below to learn my best practices for preserving those beneficial polyphenols..



In short, sunlight is damaging for the delicate antioxidant containing polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) The oil becomes denatured & therefore harmful to us…

High quality pure EVOO is unrefined (hand extracted).

It is also packed full of those precious anti-oxidants & polyphenols. It also contains chlorophyll – the naturally occurring chemical that plants use for photosynthesis.  The greener the EVOO oil, the more chlorophyll it contains.

When EVOO is exposed to sunlight, a chemical reaction occurs known as photo-oxidation which de-natures & destabilizes the oil, damaging its overall quality.

You may have noticed that some olive oil is packaged in dark bottles or dark box packaging – this is to reduce its exposure to light. By storing it in a dark cupboard or pantry, you can further reduce the potential for photo-oxidation.


13.5 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for storing EVOO, but up to 21C degrees Celsius is also acceptable…

Be careful where you store your EVOO. If you store it in a location where temperatures regularly exceed 21 degrees Celsius the oil will degrade and turn rancid sooner than it would otherwise.

Hotspots include:  next to your cooker, next to your radiator, on top of your fridge or even in direct sunlight…the flavour will suffer not to mention the health benefits will disappear.

Your best bet: to safeguard against this happening, store your olive oil in a cool, dry location like a kitchen cupboard or pantry.


The most challenging of the three is oxygen, as its hardest to avoid.

As soon as you open the bottle, the EVOO is exposed to the air which causes oxidation.

High quality EVOO contains beneficial polyphenols & antioxidants which can initially resist oxidation. However, prolonged oxygen exposure will cause rapid degeneration, that will eventually cause the EVOO to denature & become rancid.

It’s a real challenge! If you buy your EVOO in bottles, there’s no way to avoid opening the bottle every time you want to use it; even worse if you forget to replace the lid.

A sealed container will keep more oxygen from entering and damaging your oil. You may have seen the large boxed olive oil or the large litre tins of olive oil. These work better as you only dispense what you need, or even decant what you need into smaller bottles & refill as you need..

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Olive Oil FAQ's

The Options:

  • Glass bottles
  • Plastic bottles
  • Stainless steel dispenser
  • Ceramic jug bottle

You have likely seen olive oil stored in one or more of these containers above. Most olive oil producers opt for the traditional dark glass bottles, while others opt for more cost-effective plastic containers. Here are the pros and cons of each

Glass Bottle

Dark glass bottles are the most popular type of olive oil container. They look good & are also fit for purpose – to block the harmful light rays that can damage the oil.

As long as you don’t place them near obvious heat sources like cookers or radiators, they are pretty effective at keeping the EVOO at a safe temperature.

Plastic Bottle

Yes, you can store your EVOO in plastic containers. However, chemicals (BPA etc) can leach from plastic containers into the olive oil, both altering the delicate balance of flavour not least contaminating it with harmful chemicals.

If you don’t use a lot of EVOO then avoid plastic containers for this reason.

Plastic would be more suitable to individuals who have a higher turnover or usage of EVOO i.e. restaurants or caterers.

Stainless Steel Dispenser

If you are considering purchasing your EVOO in bulk. This is a good storage option. Stainless steel is ideal to both block the light and keep the oil cool.

It is a non-reactive metal so it won’t tarnish or release any harmful impurities into your oil.

It is also aesthetically pleasing to look at & is a nice addition to your kitchen.

You can dispense the oil into smaller bottles using the tap at the front of the container.

You may think that it is a good idea to refrigerate your olive oil, based on what I have been telling you so far i.e. the darker, the cooler, the better

However, I don’t advise storing EVOO in the fridge

The cooler temperature will cause the olive oil to cloud & solidify. Yes, it will return to liquid once it is back at room temperature, but the repeated temperature fluctuations can reduce its quality & freshness.

Newly pressed extra-virgin olive oil contains a powerful, very healthful polyphenol called oleocanthal. It is a strong, naturally occurring antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with properties similar to those in the pain reliever ibuprofen, but without any drug-related side effects.

It’s one of Mother Nature’s all-natural pain relievers that are totally good for you. Olive oil aficionados the world over, especially in olive-growing regions, prize that gentle pinch because it is an indicator of the freshest, most healthful oil.

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