Storing Extra Virgin and Organic Oil
Extra virgin olive oil, as well as organic oil, is a live product and its qualities vary as time passes.
Once bottled, companies usually give a "best before" date between 12 and 15 months, but if it is kept in ideal conditions it can be more stable and retain its chemical and organoleptic characteristics for a longer period of time.
Oil's main enemies are temperature, light and oxygen; therefore, the 4 golden rules for a perfect oil storage are:
It is important that oil is stored in containers that can protect it from the sun’s rays.
While stored by the company there is no issue with light if the product is kept in stainless steel silos.
The problem, therefore, tends to occur at the distribution stage, as it remains on the pallets or shelves. Today the general trend is to use dark glass or tins; some precautions remain valid, however, in order to prevent oil containers staying out under the sun for a long time, especially during transfer from one factory to another or from the shop to home.
Excessively low temperatures must be avoided as oil would freeze, but also excessively high temperatures must be prevented which would cause the oil to heat.
It is important to be aware that below 10°C, whitish deposits and suspended particles may form.
This phenomenon, which should be taken by the consumer as a warning, is in fact a natural phenomenon of the oil crystallizing due to the low temperature.
It first affects the saturated fats and suspended particles and then extends to the whole mass of oil should the temperature drops further.
Once the oil is brought back to an ideal temperature (12-18°C) it will become clear once again.
Storage containers must be kept tightly closed to prevent oxygen from being held inside.
Before bottling oil must be stored inside drums and silos, preferably made of stainless steel, which can be easily washed, hermetically sealed and have a device at the bottom to allow for the removal of any deposits.
These containers must have devices that allow the insertion of noble or inert gases (gases with little propensity to react with other molecules) which are introduced into the "head space" left free by the oil as the container gradually empties.
These inert gases thus occupy that space that would otherwise be occupied by air and oxygen.
In order to do this it is very important to separate the oil from the deposits which negatively interfere with the oil.
This can be done naturally by decanting, letting the oil rest with the particles in suspension-dispersion consequently being deposited on the bottom.
The oil is then transferred and decanted into new clean containers or the deposit is removed if the container has a system for draining off it.
Another solution is to filter using filter systems that can work on the oil as soon as it is produced or before packaging.
Filtration is important to stabilize the chemical composition characteristics, thereby guaranteeing a longer product shelf life while retaining all the nutritional and organoleptic characteristics.
|Compliance with these precautions is an essential condition for oil storage. Failure to do so may have the following negative effects: increased acidity, dulling of the fruity qualities or significant faults like rancidity, sludge or fermentation. The main cause of all this deterioration in oil quality is the oxidation of unsaturated fats.|
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