The Secret to Buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil

December 17, 2012 | By | Comments (4)

Olive Oil

Think the best olive oil at the grocery store is the most expensive one? Not so. According to new research by Consumer Reports (which was brought to our attention by the smart folks over at Lifehacker), the best predictor of fresh flavor is the harvest date on the bottle. Unlike wine, olive oil is perishable and starts to go bad after a few months on the shelf. That means a freshly-bottled bottle of cheap olive oil is better than an old bottle of the supposed “good” stuff.

To make sure your choice is fresh, follow this advice:

1. Check the bottle for a harvest date, and only purchase it if that date falls within the past 12 months.

2. No harvest date? Then look for a “best by” date. According to the site, helmed by Tom Mueller (the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil), “best by” dates are usually two years from the time an oil was bottled. That means a date that is two years away is probably fresh.

3. No date on there at all? Then look for another option.

And don’t forget to check out more tips on selecting olive oil. (The date isn’t the only factor to consider.)


  1. The Secret to Buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Simply Stated Blogs … | ClubEvoo

    […] Link: The Secret to Buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Simply Stated Blogs … […]

    December 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm
  2. Nancy Harmon Jenkins

    There’s a problem with the best by date, since it is two years from the date of bottling. Date of bottling could well be anywhere from a year to 18 months from harvest. Thus, close to the use by date an oil could already be three or almost four years old. New European legislation might correct this but in the meantime, caveat emptor, or at least pay attention.

    December 19, 2012 at 8:14 am
  3. Oleic Bovera

    Excellent article. The best olive oil is the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

    December 31, 2012 at 9:50 am
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