Do Olives Go Bad? How Long Do Olives Last? (updated 2023)
Olives are one of the most versatile fruits you’ll ever come across. They are perfect for making salads, adding crunch and flavor to pasta dishes, making tapenades, or even serving as part of the main toppings on a pizza. Depending on the kind you use, you can even put them in your martini, perfect after a long week.
While they can be used in a variety of dishes, most recipes only call for a handful or so of these fruits. If you love olives, you will want to find ways to use them before they expire. You have probably also thought about their shelf life and how long they last before going bad.
In this article, we will talk about olives, their shelf life, and how you can properly store them to prolong their flavor. To learn more, make sure to read until the end. Take a look.
What Are Olives?
Olives are often mistaken as vegetables as they are often lumped with other greens and veggies. After all, they are commonly consumed and found in salads, pasta dishes, and even pizzas. However, they are actually small, oval fruits. They contain a hard, inedible stone in the middle.
They come in different varieties, namely black and green. Green refers to the unripe fruit, while black refers to the fully ripe fruit. You normally see olives packed in jars or cans in grocery stores, supermarkets, or specialty stores. These bottles may be labeled as Spanish or Greek olives depending on where they were made.
Besides consuming them in their cured and marinated form, they can also be made into one of the most widely consumed and used oils today – olive oil.
Native to the Mediterranean, this delicacy is not usually eaten fresh as they contain a bitter compound called oleuropein. The bitterness is taken away by soaking and marinating the fruits in a variety of herbs, spices, and even oil, not only to preserve the taste but to keep their flavors vibrant.
Health Benefits of Olives
Olives contain healthy fat, 74% of which is oleic acid. Oleic acid is said to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease as well as inflammation of the body. They also contain cancer-fighting properties thanks to their numerous antioxidants such as vitamin E, oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol.
They also contain quercetin which helps lower blood pressure.
Iron is also naturally occurring in olives and is a vital component in transporting oxygen via your red blood cells. They also contain copper which lessens the risk of heart disease and calcium which fortifies bones and muscles in the body.
How Long Do Olives Last?
As mentioned, they are typically fermented in brine or saltwater. This process helps eliminate the bitter taste of the stone fruit. While the brining or salting process helps prolong their shelf life, the longest olives can remain stable is a year or two.
This length of time is already included in the date provided on the package and this best-by date only applies to unopened packages. Once jars or bottles of olives have been opened, they should be consumed in at least a week or ideally within a couple of days. Other brands may advise you to finish olives within three weeks of opening.
Some brands, however, assure customers that their olives last a year after opening, such as the case of Mezzetta. This can be chalked up to the food brining process of the company and their overall hygiene.
For olives submerged in oil, the bad news is that their shelf life is only for a few months. Opened, they can last for around two to four weeks in the fridge. However, be wary of oils going rancid as this can affect the overall taste and texture of the olives.
Do Olives Go Bad?
While they can last a long time thanks to bringing them, they do have a tendency to go bad. This can happen from improper food storage techniques and poor hygiene practices.
When olives go bad, they develop a sour or foul odor. They can also develop mold. A good indication that olives are beyond salvation or consumption is when the lid of the jar has taken on a slightly rounded shape rather than staying flat throughout.
Another sign you should be looking at is color. Olives that have been submerged in brine or olive oil for a longer period of time are much lighter or paler. While this doesn’t normally affect the taste, it should give you a good indication of how long they have been in storage.
The Bottom Line
Olives are definitely a game-changer. Now that you know their shelf life, you can enjoy adding them to a variety of dishes at their prime.
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