We all use vegetable oil in our day-to-day life. From frying potatoes to making a tasty salad, its one of the most essential ingredients anyone can use in a kitchen. It’s natural to store a lot of it in the house for future use. But have you ever wondered if the oil you have stored for the month has gone bad or not?
Well, this article is all about that. We will discuss if vegetable oil goes bad or not, as well as how to store it properly so it can last as much as possible. We will also discuss how to tell if the oil has gone bad or not so you don’t end up using rancid oil in your salad dressing. So, follow along!
(Image used under Creative Commons from: Xporage Blog)
Does Vegetable Oil Go Bad?
Well, the answer to that isn’t straight forward. The reason is that fat doesn’t go bad in the usual way. This makes it slightly hard to say if it does go bad, cause even if it did spoil, it’s somehow safe to eat and doesn’t cause hazards to health, unlike Irish cream for example.
However, oil can go rancid, which makes it taste quite bad and degrade its quality rapidly that it’s no longer worth using. This depends on How you store your oil so take note of that.
How To Store Vegetable Oil?
Now that we know that oil can (in some sense) go bad, here is How you can store it well enough so you can prolong its shelf life.
The simplest way to store vegetable oil is to store it in a cool and dark place. Which explains why the fridge is the best place to do so.
However, constant change in temperature is bad for the fat in the oil. This is why you should only store the oil that isn’t used frequently in the fridge, while the bottle used for daily cooking should be left at room temperature.
(Credit: Alexis Antoine)
Once you open your bottle, the oil will start to go bad faster than usual. Make sure to seal your oil well with the cap, it really helps to make sure it doesn’t lose its quality.
Avoid sunlight exposure of the oil at all costs. Sunlight can make your oil go bad because of its heat and UV light which is no good for the fat molecules in the vegetable oil.
Note: When storing oil in the fridge, some brands may turn cloudy instead of clear. This is normal and it’s due to the low temperature. Consume the oil normally with no worry.
How Long Does Vegetable Oil Last?
Vegetable oil is a really bad place for bacteria to grow, so it does last way more than homemade Bacon Grease that has traces of protein in it. Here is an estimation of how long it can last:
(Credit: Edgar Castrejon)
Unopened Vegetable Oil Bottle
If you take care of your oil and avoid exposure to humidity and sunlight, you could expect the oil to last over 6 months beyond the Best-By date for the unopened bottles of oil. So you can stock on oil when needed without the worry of spoilage.
Make sure the bottles are in a cool and dark place in this period, it’s essential to do so, as not giving your oil the right conditions would only accelerate the spoilage process.
Opened Vegetable Oil Bottle
Once you open the oil bottle, the rancidification can start rapidly, causing the oil spoilage. This is why it’s important to store the oil properly, specifically in a fridge for the sake of longer shelf life if you are going away.
The average is 3 months till the oil starts to go rancid. if you consume the oil regularly, it won’t matter much to increase the shelf life by storing it in the fridge.
|Unopened||3 – 6 months|
|Opened||6 – 12 months|
How to Tell if Vegetable Oil has Gone Bad?
as we stated above, oil doesn’t go bad in the traditional sense. The reason oil goes bad is complex to explain. This is why you should be on the lookout for rancid oil.
Telling rancid oil is hard cause I doubt if you know what “good” oil tastes like, so it’s gonna be a little bit tricky. Here are some of the signs of your vegetable oil being no good for consumption:
(Credit: Edward Howell)
Darkening of Color
When you buy a brand new bottle of oil, and you leave it in poor storage conditions, the oil may start to darken in color. This is a phenomenon called autoxidation, which usually happens when oxygen interacts with your cooking oil.
This is such a slow process that you will notice it after months of storage. It’s a sign that the oil isn’t fresh anymore and degraded in quality.
If you notice changes to the smell of your oil, this might be a good signal that it lost its prime, and you should properly discard it for quality reasons.
If you start to notice these changes in your oils, there is a big chance that it won’t taste good for you and has gone rancid. But there is nothing wrong or dangerous in stale oil after all
Is Expired Vegetable Oil Safe To Eat/Use?
The answer is yes, it’s safe to eat. There is no hazardous bacteria or dangerous substance in rancid oil that would make you sick if you used it.
However, expired vegetable oil tastes bad, and usually stale to cook with, unless you are really short on budget or you have large quantities that you don’t want to throw away, it would be much better to simply buy a new fresh bottle for your cooking needs.
Vegetable oil is such a stable household item, goes into plenty of recipes, and makes an amazing addition to your salad. We explained if vegetable oil does go bad or not, as well as how to properly store the oil so it lasts longer.
If you happen to have any questions for us, feel free to leave them in the comments below. We will answer them all as fast as we possibly can. Thanks for reading and have a great day!