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The Shelf Life of Olives

Cooking tips for the caring cook.

Green Olives

The shelf life of olives depends on a variety of factors, such as the best by date, the preparation method and how the olives are stored. Opened olives, stored properly, can easily last 3 to 4 months past the expiration date.

Extend the Shelf Life of Olives

  • Extend olive storage life by floating a thin layer of vegetable oil on the surface of the brine.
  • Store unopened olive jars in the pantry where the temperature is always less than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Once opened, the olives should be kept in the fridge, fully submerged in their liquid.
  • NEVER store opened cans or jars in the fridge.

Cheese cooking tip

Note: New research on untreated green olives has found that products with a stated shelf life of two to three years can be unacceptable long before their sell-by date. Your sense of smell is usually the best way to tell if your olives have gone bad. The olives will begin to have an odor if they are going bad - and may also develop mold growth.

The study, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture by scientists at the National Agricultural Research Foundation of Greece, examined the growing trend toward using polyethylene pouches, which are vacuum-packed, filled with brine or packed in modified atmospheres to extend shelf life.

When using an open jar of olives, be sure to securely re-seal the lid when placing back on your shelves or in your refrigerator.

Ripe Olives: To make ripe olives taste better, soak them overnight in olive oil with a clove of garlic added.

Pitting Ripe Olives

  • To pit ripe olives, lightly press the olive until it splits and use your thumb to press the seed away from the skin. Covered completely with water, brine or oil, olives will keep for one year in the refrigerator. Store salt-packed olives in an airtight, nonmetallic container for up to six months.
  • Place a few olives on a cutting board or other work surface. Hold the flat blade of a chef's knife so that it is resting on top of the olives. Give the blade a quick, sharp push with your other fist to split open the olives, and then remove the pits.

Olive, Hummus and Tomato Quick Recipe

Spread 2 tablespoons hummus on each half of a toasted whole wheat English muffin. Top each half with five thinly sliced olives and a slice of tomato. Eat with one medium orange. Total calories are 362.

Tasty Tidbit

Did you know that the tiny red pimento, or in some cases, sweet pepper, in the middle of olives is there to enhance the flavor?

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