Vegetable oil is one of the most common household products worldwide because it is versatile and cheap. Ｍost bakers, home cooks, and chefs have vegetable oil on hand to use in their dishes and bakes. Not only is it an effective way to cook food, but it is a healthier alternative to some other cooking methods like using butter or lard.
However, with so many people using vegetable oil daily, we are curious whether vegetable oil goes bad.
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Does Vegetable Oil Go Bad?
Vegetable oil has a remarkable shelf life, but it doesn’t last forever. However, if you take care and store your vegetable oil properly, you’ll be surprised by the amount of time you get to enjoy it.
Unfortunately, vegetable oil loses its pleasant and light taste as time passes, and that is why it becomes undesired. Even though these changes might not be as apparent when it comes to cooking with vegetable oil, it is undeniable in a salad or bakes. That is why it is essential to know how to store vegetable oil and check whether it is still suitable for consumption.
How Long Does Vegetable Oil Last?
Since not all vegetable oils are of the same quality, it is challenging to give an exact estimation of how long it will last. However, in most cases, vegetable oil that remains unopened can last up to two years past the expiry date stated on the label. However, it is crucial that the oil is stored correctly for it to last this well.
Once vegetable oil has been opened, its shelf life starts to decline, and its quality deteriorates. However, by storing your vegetable oil correctly, you can still enjoy an opened bottle of vegetable oil for up to a year after opening the bottle. So even though your vegetable oil’s quality will start to decline as time passes, it will still be perfectly suitable for use until it starts to show signs of contamination or expiration.
How Long Does Vegetable Oil Last?
|Unopened||2 years past the expiration date|
|Opened||1 year after opening|
4 Tips to Tell if Vegetable Oil has Gone Bad
Although vegetable oil has a very long shelf life if stored correctly, it doesn’t last forever. In fact, by not knowing how to tell if your vegetable oil is bad or not, you risk spoiling your baking or cooking with vegetable oil that has gone past its best. That is why it is essential to know if your vegetable oil is still suitable for consumption.
There are four ways that you can tell if your vegetable oil is still suitable for cooking:
Examining the vegetable oil
By looking at the oil carefully, you’ll be able to get an idea of whether it is still fresh or not. Vegetable oil has a vibrant yellow color that can change over time. If you find that your oil has become dark brown, it is best not to use it anymore.
Similarly, if you notice that your vegetable oil contains floating particles or signs of mold or organic growth, it is best to discontinue use of it. Another big indication that your vegetable oil has passed its best is if you notice any signs of clouding or separation within the oil.
If you notice that your vegetable oil has any impurities or bug infestations, it is vital that you throw it out.
Smelling the vegetable oil
Vegetable oil has a very light fragrance, and in some cases, no scent whatsoever. Vegetable oil with a light or no aroma is fresh and suitable to use. However, vegetable oil that has become stale or rancid is best avoided.
Vegetable oil should never have an unpleasant smell. In fact, if you notice that your vegetable oil smells even remotely off, it is best to throw it away. By continuing to use vegetable oil that smells bad, you will spoil your meals and bakes.
Examining the cooking ability of the oil
If you are unsure whether your vegetable oil is still suitable for cooking, you should put some in a pan and examine how it cooks. You don’t need to add any ingredients to it. Instead, watch whether the oil heats up evenly or whether it burns instantly.
Vegetable oil that has gone past its best won’t be able to deliver good cooking results and will burn quickly. However, if you notice that your vegetable oil still performs as before, it is most likely fine for use.
Taste a little bit of the vegetable oil
If you are still unsure whether your vegetable oil is suitable for consumption and, as a result, you are nervous about using it in your baking or cooking, try a little bit of it. You really don’t need to drink a large amount of vegetable oil to know whether it is still fresh. Instead, put some on your finger and give it a taste.
If you notice that your vegetable oil tastes sour, rotten, or vile, it is advised that you throw it away. It is never a good idea to continue cooking or baking with vegetable oil that has gone past its best since it can carry significant health risks and spoil your cooking.
4 Tips to Store Vegetable Oil
When it comes to the shelf life of your vegetable oil, you’ll be surprised by the difference proper storing can make. If you take the time to store your vegetable oil correctly, you’ll get to enjoy it for months or even years. Here are a few things to keep in mind when storing your vegetable oil:
Vegetable oil is best kept in a cool, dry place
Like most consumable products, direct sunlight and heat exposure decrease vegetable oil quality. Therefore, when it comes to storing your vegetable oil, you must keep it away from your stove or oven. Even though it will be tempting to keep it close to your stove for easy reach while cooking, constant exposure to heat will dramatically decrease the shelf life and quality of your vegetable oil.
The perfect place for storing your vegetable oil in your pantry is a dark, dry cupboard. By keeping your vegetable oil in a dark spot where it won’t undergo dramatic temperature changes, you minimize the risk of your vegetable oil becoming rancid.
Resist the urge to keep your vegetable oil in the fridge
Most people think that storing their vegetable oil in the fridge is better than keeping it in a cupboard. However, the opposite is true. Vegetable oil is much better stored at room temperature than in the cooler environment of a fridge.
Store the oil in a container that can seal properly
It is vital that you keep your vegetable oil adequately sealed. Therefore, although you might be tempted to use a pourer on your oil for easy use, it is better to keep the bottle firmly closed when you are not using the vegetable oil.
If you prefer to transfer your vegetable oil to another container, that is fine as long as the container can seal completely. Also, if you notice that the vegetable oil container has become damaged in any way, you must transfer it to another container. By doing this, you minimize the chances of mold or bug infestations.
Avoid adding used
oil to fresh oil
People who often use large amounts of oil for deep frying are often tempted to reuse their oil. If you enjoy reusing your vegetable oil, keep the used oil separate from your fresh vegetable oil. By doing this, you are not exposing your fresh oil to the flavors of the older, used oil. If you often reuse your vegetable oil, be sure to check it carefully before each use to ensure that it hasn’t gone off.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Vegetable Oil
The good news is that expired vegetable oil won’t make you sick. However, you might be disappointed in the taste of your baking or cooking after using old oil. However, people who have sensitive bowels might find that old oil gives them gas or abdominal pain.
Can You Freeze Vegetable Oil?
Although it is technically possible to freeze vegetable oil, it is best to avoid doing so. Freezing your vegetable oil will significantly decrease the quality of your oil. Even keeping your vegetable oil in the refrigerator isn’t advised as these cooler temperatures affect the quality of the oil.
If you are concerned about the shelf life of your vegetable oil, don’t put it in the freezer or the refrigerator. You will get much more time and quality from your oil if you keep it stored in a sealed container at room temperature.
Vegetable oil is one of nature’s gifts to us all. We can prepare meals and add finishing touches to our salads by using this nutritious and delicious oil. In addition, knowing that old vegetable oil won’t make us sick offers some peace of mind. However, it is best to keep an eye on your vegetable oil so that you know whether it has gone bad.