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Apr 14, 2010 11:12 AM

Olive oil storage...

I'm of the opinion that olive oil is the gold that holds the planet together :-) and lately I've been trying all sorts of olive oils from Spain, Italy, and here in California. In one of my local specialty shops, there was a new offering of a Spanish varietal olive oil, arbequina (my favorite), and it came in a container that I've seen frequently, but hadn't purchased: one of those rectangular metal cans.

I know those metal cans are great b/c they block the light, etc... but I'm sure they're not the best to pour from. My can isn't too big at 1L, but I decided I'd get one of those cool little glass spout pourers (cruet) like this one:

So, long story short, to get to my overly concerned/obsessed question, what's the proper way to use the cruet? And by that, I mean, do I just fill-it up and use it as I can? Do I just fill what I anticipate needing for that day, and if there's any left over, pour it back into the metal container? If I leave the cruet with some oil, do I need to worry about exposure to air through the spout... rancidity? Does it need frequent washing?

Overly obsessed with taking detailed care of my olive oil,

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  1. I would not use this to store olive oil, as the cruet admits both light and air, both enemies. There are some lovely Italian ceramic cruets available that have a cork stopper; these work great.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      I tend to agree with pikawicca. But I think that keeping your prized olive oil (isn't it all?) in the clear glass Cruet for a few days (perhaps as long as a week) inside a close cupboard where it's dark should be essentially harmless. Just make sure the cap is as tight as possible, that it's away from heat sources (e.g. the stove) in a cool dark place - but not in the refrigerator. Slightly below 60 degrees would be best. At the end of the week, infuse it with some herbs and use it to top a Focaccia or a nice pizza.

      1. re: todao

        Cool, thank you very much!

        Do either of you know if it would be at all a "no-no" to pour back the extra or excess olive oil in the cruet back into the master canned container?

        Otherwise, yeah, the cruet would go from dark cupboard/pantry to table and back to cupboard/pantry.

        1. re: nasv

          I wouldn't do it, but I think you'd need a food chemist to give you a rational answer.

          1. re: pikawicca

            Ditto; I wouldn't do that. Just don't fill the Cruet more than half full. If you use olive oil like I do, 8 ounces won't last an entire week. Be sure to wash the Cruet every time you refill it so that residual oil doesn't contaminated the new batch.
            If you're looking for an evening snack and you have some oil left that you feel needs to be used up, just use it as a dip for some good bread and a glass of good hearty red wine. A bit of freshly ground pepper and, if you like, a splash of balsamic vinegar in the oil make the snack especially nice.

            1. re: todao

              Or rub it on your hands for excellent moisturizing!

    2. Those cruets are pretty small and it sounds like you use it pretty fast. I suspect you could use a cruet.

      I would store the vast majority of the oil in a refrigerator or a wine cooler. It will clot up in the fridge but leave it on the counter for a few minutes and it will loosen up again.

      The biggest thing you have to worry about is the oil going rancid and that takes a while. Oil goes rancid when it is exposed to heat and light and air. Keep the cruet in a cabinet or pantry so it isn't exposed to the light. Get a cruet that only holds 5-6 ounces. It might be nice if it was a pretty good quality cruet so that it seals pretty well. I think you would be good to go.

      1. I wouldn't put fine olive oil in a cruet for the same reasons noted by other posters. Assuming that you want more control than pouring directly from the bottle gives you, you have a couple of other options. One is to buy a pouring spout. These are often sold together with a glass bottle, but you can also get one without the bottle. They usually have a cork bottom that fits in your bottle of oil. When you're done pouring, you simply remove the pourer and put the original cap back on the bottle to keep the oil fresh.

        A second option is to buy a fusti. (To be correct, the singular in Italian is "fusto." "Fusti" is plural, but everyone in the US says "fusti,' even for just one.) These are metal containers with a spigot. They are mostly sold to retailers and businesses that conduct olive oil tastings, but there are now smaller sizes that are suitable for home use: Here's an example of a 2-liter fusti:

        Not an inexpensive item and one that will take up counter or shelf space, but worth considering.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cheesemaestro

          You could always buy the Fusti and refill the Cruet from time to time with it, keeping the Fusti in a low and dark (i.e. cool) storage area out of the way...

        2. I use a green wine bottle with a pour spout (like the ones you see in liquor bottles in bars) to hold olive oil for daily use while storing the rest in the big can in my dark pantry. Likewise, the more expensive special oil that came in clear glass for some unknown reason is in a smaller green wine bottle (split size?) with the same kind of spout in the pantry.

          1. I have been seriously considering buying one of those small wine chillers that hold 9-16 bottles. They keep the box at about 55 degrees and have a tinted glass door.

            That sounds perfect for various oil storage. Who doesn't have at least 3-4 different kinds of oil? Olive Oil... light and a couple extra virgins; Sesame oil; truffle oil, walnut oil.

            Anyway, I can usually pick one of these things up used for $50-75.

            You people think it would be a good idea?

            2 Replies
            1. re: tonka11_99

              I had one of those given to me and have never used it since I'm satisfied with my current wine storage. What a great idea! I think I'm going to try that. Now if I can only find counter space with a handy nearby plug.......

              1. re: tonka11_99

                Ah, you are the epitome of a Chowhound! My girlfriend can't understand why I am cluttering up our pantry with six different kinds of cooking oil and six to eight vinegars. Like you, I find the variety of oils essential.

                As for storage, cool and dark is the key, so the back of the refrigerator ideal. Unfortunately, it's not handy, especially because the olive oil becomes one big congealed lump and takes quite a while on the counter to liquify.

                I like the idea of using a wine bottle with a (capped) pourer and storing it in a dark place. Unfortunately, here in Florida, even room temperature is usually too high for olive oil, unless one is willing to spend a fortune keeping the house around 70 degrees in the summer. But up north, I think that that would be the solution.