Do we need to keep always extra virgin olive oil out of the fridge?
How many will have noticed, in this hot summer, a bottle of extra virgin olive oil left open on a table in the sun of a bar or restaurant.
It could have been a guilty neglect or a simple forgetfulness.
Unfortunately, that oil was intended for rapid degradation, since air, light and high temperatures are the worst enemies of the extra virgin. Unfortunately, the dark green bottle is worthless when the oil is exposed directly to the sun's rays. The anti-topping cap is worthless if it is left open. The maniacal care of the producer is irrelevant, who maybe keeps the oil under nitrogen and at a controlled temperature, if the bottle is then exposed to temperatures of 30 degrees or more.
So it is good to know the ideal storage conditions for extra virgin olive oil, especially in summer and winter, to avoid having bought an exceptional product and find a rancid condiment.
The ideal storage temperature for extra virgin olive oil is 12-15 degrees centigrade. The few who have a refrigerated cellar for wine at home can also store the oil in the summer, sure to keep it at its best. And in the fridge? It would be better to avoid since, normally, the temperature of the refrigerator at home is regulated around 4 degrees, while with oil it would be useful not to go below 6-8 degrees. Therefore to avoid a continuous storage, it is possible to store it for a few hours (perhaps the hottest central ones). Generally it takes a few hours for the temperature to drop from ambient to critical 6-8 degrees. It is therefore possible, if you live in very hot houses, with temperatures in the kitchen over 25 degrees, to put the bottle of oil in the fridge for 3-4 hours. What if we forget it in the fridge? Then you will notice the formation of semi-transparent deposits on the bottom. These are waxes that at too low temperatures tend to solidify and deposit on the bottom of the bottle. In these cases it is good to consume the oil within a few days, before it loses its aromas and flavors. Conversely, in winter, oil must be avoided too cold. Therefore cold cellars must be banned, preferably the basement of the house.
If we have the bad habit of not storing the bottle of oil in a closed pantry, so in the dark, we can use a little trick, wrapping it with aluminum foil, the normal aluminum paper that we find in the supermarket. It will be a much more effective barrier than simple glass against the sun's rays.
It goes without saying that the bottle must be tightly closed and full. If we have the habit of buying cans from our trusted olive grower or oil mill, it is good to pour the entire can into five liter bottles when opening. In fact, by using, little by little, the oil from the can we will have that the remaining oil will be increasingly in contact with oxygen, degrading quickly. Similarly, if the home consumption of extra virgin olive oil is low, it is best not to use bottles with large volumes, such as the liter or 0.75 liter bottle, preferring the 0.5 or 0.25 liter bottle. In general, it is advisable that the bottle does not remain half-empty / half-full for more than 10-15 days.
Finally, an important foresight. If you want to reuse bottles of oil or prefer the oil jug at home, it is good to avoid, at the time of washing, the use of scented dish soaps or worse, the use of water and vinegar. The ideal would be lukewarm and soda water, to be used strictly with gloves and taking care to rinse the bottles thoroughly after washing, which must then be dried well, without any traces of water or humidity remaining inside.
They may seem overly strict rules but if you have made an investment in a quality oil, it is good to safeguard it. Your palate will thank you.