If you cook with olives, you know that most recipes only use a few olives at a time. This means there's always a half-used jar waiting for you. But just how long do olives last in the fridge? We've checked with food safety experts for the details.
How long olives last in the fridge depends on the conditions they are stored in and the olives themselves. Dry olives packed without liquid last around three days. Olives that are stored in oil last around two weeks after opening, and not long after their best-by date. Olives in brine can last for three weeks to as much as a year depending on the amount of salt in the brine.
In this article, we'll cover just how long olives last in the fridge and the specifics of each of these storage methods. It doesn't matter much what kind of olives they are, just the liquid they're packed in. We'll compare and contrast the differences, and give you some tips for keeping them fresh longer. We'll also look at whether you can freeze olives and how.
How Long Do Olives Last In The Fridge?
Just how long olives last in the fridge depends on the exact storage conditions. Dry olives may last for a few days, while olives packed in some kind of liquid can stay good for up to 12 months.
For olives packed in brine, not all brines are created equal. The more preservatives or salt in the brine, the longer they can last. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for their specific answer.
If there is none, you can safely assume the olives should be good for at least 3 weeks once opened. Others can last as long as 12 months. Brine-packed olives have the widest "range" since the liquid they are stored in varies so much.
Olives packed in oil tend to be rather strict about the best-by date. The oil doesn't give the olives as long of a shelf life as brine. While the date does only indicate when they're at their best quality, aim to use up the olives within a few weeks of this time.
Dry olives, such as the kind you might get from an olive bar, have the shortest duration. If they aren't packed in any liquid, expect to eat these within three days. Even unopened "dry" olives only stay good for a few days in the fridge.
How To Store Olives In The Fridge
To maximize the life of your olives, keep them refrigerated at all times. Make sure that they are tightly sealed unless the manufacturer instructs otherwise. If your olives are from an open can, cover them with plastic wrap or transfer them into a sealable plastic container.
Olives stored in brine should also remain covered by the brine at all times. Do not dump out the extra, as you may need it if you put the leftover olives back into the jar for storage.
If you accidentally did get rid of the brine, make your own to keep the olives preserved. Stir 1/2 tablespoon of salt into one cup of water. You can increase the proportions as needed until the olives are completely submerged.
This homemade brine lasts about two weeks. It isn't particularly strong and won't keep olives good for a longer period of time than this.
How Long Do Black Olives Last In The Fridge?
Like other olives, keep black olives in a covered container submerged in their liquid. Black olives typically last in the fridge for at least two weeks when stored properly. As always, read the manufacturer's instructions on the can for specifics.
How Do You Know If Black Olives Are Bad?
To tell if black olives are bad, first look for signs of mold. If there's any indication of spoiling, throw the olives away.
For olives that look okay, next, see how they smell. If anything seems off or there is a strange odor, dispose of the olives.
Finally, give them a taste. If you have seen no other warning signs, you'll have to eat one to check the texture and taste. If they taste fine but the texture is less than desirable, you can still try to use them in a cooked dish.
Do Olives Expire If Unopened?
The date on olives is a best-by date. This means that, while olives are in their best condition if eaten before this date, they aren't inedible afterward.
If olives remain unopened, you can eat them well past the best-by date. In some cases, olives may still be a good quality as much as one or two years after the date on the can!
However, while the best-by date may not be very significant, olives do still expire. You can become very ill if you eat rotten olives. Olives can carry bacteria such as listeria, which can cause food poisoning.
If the lid on the jar is swollen or the can is misshapen, this can be a sign that the contents inside are bad. Always throw out jars that are leaking, damaged, or bent.
Even if the can itself seems to be in good shape, always check your olives for quality. If you notice mold, strange smells, or an "off" taste, get rid of them. Olives can go bad, and for safety reasons, you should always throw out any olives that show signs of spoiling.
What Happens If You Eat Bad Olives?
In most cases, eating bad olives can cause the same symptoms as other kinds of food poisoning. Expect the standard signs such as stomachache, nausea, or diarrhea. More extreme cases may also include vomiting.
Typically, food poisoning passes in a few hours. Taking activated charcoal can help prevent the poison from being absorbed into the body. Emptying your stomach to get rid of the offensive contents and drinking water in small sips can also help.
However, food poisoning can be very serious. If the symptoms are lasting longer than you expect or seem unmanageable, do not hesitate to seek medical treatment.
A significant risk of food poisoning can be dehydration. If you are unable to keep anything down or have prolonged diarrhea, a doctor may need to assist with your fluid intake. Signs to watch out for include rapid heart rate, confusion, dizziness, and dry mouth/excessive thirst.
In addition, seek treatment for food poisoning if you:
- Have a fever higher than 100 degrees
- Notice difficulty breathing
- Have intense stomach pain
- Find blood in your vomit or bowel movements
Can You Freeze Olives?
You can freeze olives and expect them to retain their flavor for about six months. Once thawed, use within three weeks.
One method is to rinse the olives first. Then, set them aside, allowing them to dry for about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a paper towel to dry them off.
Put them into an airtight, freezer-safe container. Leave at least half an inch of space between the top of the olives and the lid, as the olives may expand a bit in freezing.
Another option is to freeze the olives in their brine. Follow the same steps, but skip the drying. Instead, pour the brine into the freezer-safe container over the olives. For black olives, you can use water instead.
Freezing olives in liquid can help to preserve their texture. However, they still only last about six months in the freezer. And once they thaw, eat them within three weeks.
To make olives last longer in the fridge, keep them in a tightly sealed container. Refrigerate the olives the entire time and cover them with whatever liquid they came in. Do not dispose of the liquid in case you need it for leftover olives.
Olives in brine last anywhere from a few weeks to as much as a year depending on the salt and preservatives. Olives packed in oil should last for a couple of weeks. Dry olives without any liquid only last for a few days. You can freeze olives for up to 6 months to extend their life a bit longer.
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