How do you know when olive oil is bad? |

How do you know when olive oil is bad?

June 07, 2020

Reading time: 1 min

Like anything else in life, olive oil can go wrong. In this article, we will introduce the most common defects that you might encounter in your olive oils. 

Old olive oils

Olive oils are the best to use fresh as possible, the latest season always, ideally to be used within a year from harvest date. Most oils will be good for up to two years if unopened and stored correctly. With time they will lose fresh fruitiness that you want in your olive oil.


If extra virgin olive oil gets exposed to warm temperatures, light exposure, or storage problems, olive oil will begin to oxidize, and oils will get rancid. Rancid oils have a waxy smell almost like crayons smell, or old peanuts. It also has an unpleasant taste. 


In an earlier article, we explained the importance of coordination and time efficiency from harvesting olives to transporting them to the olive mill. If olive is left to sit in piles, olive oils might be fusty as a result of fermentation caused by the absence of oxygen if olives are left too long before being processed. Unfortunately for many people, fustiness is a norm if buying from large producers. Good olive oil should smell like fresh or ripe olives. 


If wet olives begin to grow mould before milling, the olive oil might have mouldy flavour attributes.


Bad olive oils can produce a sour or vinegary smell and taste, that happened because of aerobic fermentation.

Wet wood

Wet food characteristic of olive oil is typical for olive oils that used olives damaged by frost when they were still on the tree. 

If you would like to learn more about how good olive oil tastes, look here for more information.


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