Maybe you’ve used a third of them for pizza on the weekend and a small bunch in a salad. You might wonder how long you can store the leftover olives in the fridge before they go bad. It’s hard to know precisely how long you can keep olives fresh.
The good news is:
Whether you want to store black or green olives, pitted, stuffed, or whole, the storage guidelines are similar. However, it’s difficult to determine the shelf life once you open the bottle of olives.
In this guide, we’ll reveal the ways you can safely preserve olives and their benefits to health. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Can Olives Go Bad?
There are several ways olives can go bad. For starters, you should look for visual signs of spoilage, like mold. If there are some white marks on the brine’s surface, you can remove them and eat the olives. But if it’s a brine-free package, the mold means the olives are spoiled. If there’s an unopened jar or bottle with the popped lid instead of flat, that’s a clear sign something went wrong. Sift through your olives before eating and discard the bad ones for health-safety reasons.
Once you open up the container, examine the contents as you do with all food. See how it looks, smells, and tastes.
Secondly, give the jar a good whiff to determine if the brine smells fresh or not. Even if the olives appear edible but smell bad, you should discard them.
Finally, check the texture and taste. If both the smell and appearance are perfect, you should test the olives for taste. In case there’s something off with the texture and flavor, throw them out. If the taste is okay, the olives are most likely safe to eat.
Overtime, olives can lose some of their texture and flavor. In that case, they’re better cooked in dishes than used in salads. Let’s talk about the shelf-life of store-bought olives.
How Long Do Olives Last?
There isn’t a huge difference between different cultivars such as Kalamata or Manzanilla and other varieties of olives when it comes to shelf life. For an unopened container, go with the best-by date or expiration date on the label. For most types of olives, the shelf life is between a year and two. There’s always a chance that the olives will remain just fine a couple of weeks past the expiry date.
Once you open the container, abide by the storage instructions and time indicated on the label. Mostly, the manufacturers ask you to finish the jar within a week or ten days. If the packaging is liquid-free (that is, the olives aren’t in vinegar, brine, or oil), they maintain the quality between 3 to 5 days of opening.
Some brands, like Mezzetta, claim that their olives can last a year after opening. How does that work?
Firstly, some brines can be saltier than others, and stronger brines are less likely to turn rancid. Secondly, if you take care of food hygiene, your olives will last longer. Try to use clean utensils to grab olives, and you won’t introduce harmful bacteria to the salty brine. Moreover, you should read and follow the instructions on the label. You can easily get an additional week or two of storage for your olives.
How Can I Store Olives?
You can store an unopened package at room temperature, away from heat sources, and inside a closed cabinet. Keeping the olives in darkness is essential for bottles and jars because they usually let in light. Prolonged exposure to light can alter the taste.
An open package of olives must be kept in the fridge. You should pack them in an air-tight container and seal it tightly. If the olives are in liquid, leave the liquid as is; it helps keeps the olives stay fresh. In case you’ve discarded the brine, you can easily home-made brine using salt and water. Make sure the liquid wholly covers the olives. Otherwise, the olives that are above the surface level might go bad.
For liquid-free packages, you must seal the jar tight after opening. If the pouch can’t be re-sealed, use a small air-tight jar or a freezer bag.
In a Nutshell
- To check for spoilage, look for changes in flavor, visual cues like mold, and off odor, especially if it’s a liquid-free package.
- Opened liquid-free olives can last up to 3 days. Liquid packed ones keep for at least a week or two but can stay fresh longer if you take good care of them.
- Refrigerate the fruits after opening the can. Make sure they stay submerged in brine or other liquid. If the package was liquid-free, make sure to seal the leftovers tightly.
- Keep an eye on the pantry temperature; these fruits do best in a pantry that stays below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Health Benefits Of Olives
Olives are a staple of the healthy Mediterranean diet. They’re associated with several health benefits, especially for cancer prevention and heart health. Here are some of the benefits:
Dietary antioxidants help reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. Olives are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, with a wide range of health benefits from reducing microorganism growth to fighting inflammation.
One study revealed that eating a pulpy residue from fresh olives significantly increased glutathione levels, a powerful antioxidant in your body.
Blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are both risk factors for heart disease. Oleic acid, the primary fatty acid found in olives, is associated with better heart health. It can regulate cholesterol levels and save LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation. Furthermore, some studies suggest that olives and olive oil can help reduce blood pressure.
Improved Bone Health
Osteoporosis is characterized by reduced bone mass and bone quality. It increases your risk of fractures. The rates of osteoporosis are much lower in Mediterranean countries than in the rest of Europe, which has led to speculation that olives might protect people against this condition. Moreover, some of the plant compounds found in fresh olives and olive oil help prevent bone loss in animal studies.
Olives and olive oil are popular in the Mediterranean region, where the rates of cancer and other chronic illnesses are lower than in other Western countries. Thus, olives may help reduce cancer risk, partly due to their oleic acid contents and high antioxidants. Laboratory studies show that the compounds in olives disrupt cancer cells in the colon, breast, and stomach.
However, we still need human studies to confirm these results. At this point, it’s rather unclear whether eating olives has any effect on cancer.
Olives are very rich in antioxidants that contribute to various benefits, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol. However, they come with potential drawbacks.
Potential Downsides Of Eating Olives
Most people can tolerate olives, but it contains high amounts of salt due to their liquid-based packaging liquid.
While allergy to olive tree pollen is common, being allergic to olives is rare.
After eating olives, sensitive individuals can experience allergic reactions in the throat and mouth.
Olives contain heavy metals and minerals such as boron, tin, sulfur, and lithium.
Ingesting a high quantity of heavy metals can harm your health and increase the risk of cancer. However, the amount of these harmful metals in olives is below the legal limit. Therefore, we consider olives to be safe.
Some studies link Acrylamide to an increased risk of cancer, although other researchers question the connection. Therefore, authorities recommend limiting acrylamide intake as much as possible.
Some ripe olive varieties like California black olives contain high amounts of Acrylamide due to their processing.
Is it harmful to eat a lot of olives?
Moderation is key. Though olives aid weight loss, they’re high in fat and salt — and eating too many of them can offset your weight loss success. As such, consider moderating your intake and limiting yourself to a few ounces per day.
How to Store Dry Foods
Pay attention to all the factors if it’s a liquid-free package, as they don’t last as long and go rancid if the packaging has tiny holes. Pack dry foods in clean, dry insect-proof glass jars as tightly as possible without crushing. You can also store dried foods in clean, plastic freezer jars with tight-fitting lids or in plastic freezer bags. Vacuum packaging is also a great option.
Olives are a savory fruit and delicious addition to appetizers or meals. They’re also low in carbs but high in healthy fats. Olives have been linked to several health benefits, including improving heart health and preventing cancer. This stone fruit is easy to incorporate into your healthy-eating routine and makes a great addition to a whole-foods-based diet.