Since we released our Seagate brand 100% extra virgin olive oil, some of our customers have been asking us about the color of our glass bottles. Our olive oil used to come in a clear glass bottle. You’ve probably gotten used to seeing it sold in green tinted bottles on the grocery store shelves. So does the color of the bottle really affect the taste or longevity of olive oil, or is it all just marketing?
Well, the answer to this question ultimately depends upon the quality of the olive oil you’re purchasing. Unfortunately, a lot of the olive oil being sold in the United States today isn’t even real extra virgin olive oil at all. According to the results of a UC Davis study and olive oil expert, Tom Mueller’s book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, around 50% of commercially-sold olive oil isn’t pure. “The legal definition simply says it has to pass certain chemical tests, and in a sensory way it has to taste and smell vaguely of fresh olives, because it’s a fruit, and have no faults,” Mueller told NPR Radio in an interview. “But many of the extra-virgin olive oils on our shelves today in America don’t clear [the legal definition].”
Unlike true olive oil, impure versions, which are a blend of various vegetable oils, do oxidize easily and they do need to be stored in a dark bottle. In actuality, these impure oils should really be packed inside tin cans, which would prevent all light from entering and oxidizing them.
However, 100% extra virgin olive oil is self-protective and a very strong antioxidant. Pure oil doesn’t need any tinting on the bottle because it is strong enough to protect itself. The green tinting that you see on store-bought brands doesn’t actually protect the oil from anything. As you might have guessed, the coloring is a marketing ploy that gives the appearance of the true green color associated with real extra virgin olive oil.
The moral of the story is don’t be fooled! To reap the extraordinary health benefits of real extra virgin olive oil, choose a trusted source and find out how it’s made. Although the color of the bottle doesn’t affect the oil, if it is 100% pure, you should still store it in a cool, dark place in your home. Ambient room light doesn’t affect the oil, but direct sunlight could alter the quality.
And unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with age. Most olive oils peak at about two or three months after pressing. But to retain the full flavor and nutrient value of your pure oil, always consume it within a year of pressing.