Kitchen Tip: Keeping Olive Oil Fresh with…Water?

By , August 17, 2009

NOTE: I have updated this post…access the new one here.

Storing Olive Oil with Water

We’ve all heard that heat, light, and air cause oils to oxidize and go rancid. I used to keep my olive oil in the fridge, but it would solidify and I had to plan ahead if I wanted to use it. This was too inconvenient, so I stopped doing it. Recently, I “upgraded” and bought a more expensive Tuscan olive oil at Costco that came in a dark-colored bottle. The dark color prevents the oil from light exposure (especially at the store with all its bright lights). To lessen the oil’s exposure to air, I’ve started topping up my olive oil bottle with water!

After I use any oil, I pour more water into the bottle so that it’s always filled to the top (where there’s only a tiny bit of air between oil and cap). At first, it felt really weird to pour water into the bottle. But since they “mix like oil and water” :-), there’s no problem because the water just settles to the bottom. When using the oil, I just pour carefully so that no water comes up to the surface. I’m wondering what’ll happen when I get to the bottom of the bottle, when there’s only a bit of oil left. Maybe just saute something with it, and let the water boil off? If I ever do get to the bottom of this giant bottle, I’ll let you know what happens. (Note: I’ve done an updated post to tell how I got the last bit of water out of the bottle…access it by clicking here.)

I’ve read conflicting information (are you as tired of conflicting information as I am??) about storing olive oil in the fridge. Some say yes, some say no. Here’s one perspective, with some interesting FAQs about olive oil, “quality” standards (or lack thereof, it turns out), and storage:

I think I’ll transfer my bottle to a cabinet under the countertop, but away from the stove. I figure I’ll be covering all the bases: keeping the olive oil cool (near the floor, away from the stove), in a dark place (in the cabinet), with minimal air exposure (if I keep topping it up with water).

Do you have a “best practices” method for storing your olive oil? I’d love to know what it is!

3 Responses to “Kitchen Tip: Keeping Olive Oil Fresh with…Water?”

  1. Emily says:

    This is interesting. I have actually been trying to use less olive oil, as good quality EVOO is so expensive, plus I’ve read that it doesn’t stand higher temps well. For the most part, I use butter & coconut oil when cooking, and olive oil for greasing baking pans. But maybe I should move my olive oil-in a clear bottle-away from the stove! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  2. laura m. says:

    I buy the 16 oz bottles instead of the larger ones, some are even 32 oz. This way it stays fresh, we use it daily on salads or veggies.

  3. Lindsey says:

    This is a very good tip Laura, to just buy smaller bottles so that the oil is fresher and it’s not hanging around, opened, for as long. I like this!! Thanks!

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