The usage of a vegetable oil depends on your diet and food preferences. If you use it regularly, you might never have to worry about your bottle of vegetable oil going bad. However, if you hardly use it, you might want to undertake a few pointers.
Even though vegetable oil has a significant shelf life, it can go bad due to incorrect storage facilities. This also signifies that you can prevent such consequences by correctly storing vegetable oil.
Wondering how? The following article shall highlight the best ways to preserve and store vegetable oil so that you can use it for an extended period.
How long does vegetable oil last?
Just like any edible item, vegetable oil also goes terrible after some time because it is perishable in nature. But, the only difference is that vegetable oil takes a long time to get rancid. Also, its shelf life depends on the process of refining.
Other than that, its leading cause of degradation in the quality of edible fats and oils is oxidation.
On average, vegetable oil will nearly take 12 to 18 months to degrade.
However, if the oil is not unsealed and kept in a cool environment where there is no sunlight, then the life expectancy of vegetable oil will be better. Like it can last for two years too.
On the other hand, you have opened the packet and used it, then left it for a long period. In such a case, the chances of oil getting spoiled in an early stage are higher.
It may last up to only one year. This is because once the pack is open, it is exposed to oxygen in the air, and as mentioned earlier, oxidation will degrade the quality of the vegetable oil.
Well, every food comes with the best before date. This explains that the oil is okay to use until the label’s mentioned date. However, that doesn’t mean that the oil will go bad after that. It’s just an assurance of the quality of vegetable oil until the date when you follow proper storage instructions.
It is crucial that you must conceal the vegetable oil pack tightly so that no oxidation takes place and thus, the oil will not degrade early. After sealing it, make sure to keep it in a cool place so that no chemical reaction takes place.
Till now, you are well versed with the shelf life of vegetable oil, but you must be wondering how to know if oil is okay to use or not, right? Well, you can learn that in our next section.
How to tell if your vegetable oil has gone bad?
Well, it is pretty obvious that vegetable oil also has its best before date. But, even if you safely store it, it may get rancid due to some unknown factors. In that case, the following steps will offer you the sure shot answer to your question.
1. The smell of the vegetable oil will be off
If the oil is stale, it will become smelly. It will smell like old paint; you will feel the chemical busting inside your nose when inhaling it.
You can easily detect this because you know that the smell of vegetable oil is neutral and has a pleasing aroma; that is why it is used in all types of dishes and food, right?
So, if you notice the smell is a little off, please avoid it.
2. You may see molds
Well, this is pretty rare. Mold in vegetable oil is not always a symptom of spoilage, so if you detect any, discard the oil.
Consumption of moldy vegetable oil may cause stomach aches and diarrhea.
Other than that, if you see any bacterial or microorganism growing on the bottle, immediately discard it because now it is unsafe to consume.
3. If the taste of the food is not usual
As you know already, the taste of almost every vegetable oil is neutral. So, even if the oil still looks okay, there are chances that it can taste sour once it is spoiled.
4. The color is different
If the oil is spoiled, the color of the oil will change. You know vegetable oil is generally light in color; however, if you notice that the color is dark, then it can be a sign to avoid using it.
Make sure not to use put that oil above the gas stove.
Other than these problems, if anything you feel is a little weird about the oil, please do not use it.
Things you must know about expired vegetable oil.
Generally, vegetable oil doesn’t expire, but over time, the quality of oil degrades. There are signs by which you can detect if the oil is spoiled. At that time, it is better to throw it.
It is because the best before the date mentioned in the label just tells us the average estimated tenure of how long the oil is okay to use and how long the quality of the oil will not degrade.
Although after that date, the food may be okay to eat but may not be at its best.
And depending on how well you preserve it, it can be weeks or even months over the expiration date (more on that later).
However, it is pretty obvious that it also depends on the level of sensitivity of your flavors.
Therefore there is no fixed date of degradation; sometimes, it can go off even before the date, and sometimes it can be okay to use it past the expiration date.
What happens if you use Expired Vegetable Oil?
Even though it is a high-quality best vegetable oil, I will advise you not to use it because it can spoil your health (may cause cancer, eradicate a portion of vitamin E), and prevention is better than cure, right?
The best way to store vegetable oil
Cooking oil that hasn’t been used should be kept in an airtight container in a cold, dark location. When you keep it away from sunlight, oil’s shelf life will naturally increase as there won’t be a chemical reaction taking place due to high temperature.
Well, you can also keep the vegetable oil in the fridge once you break the seal. But, still, it is not advisable to store it that way because it will help the oil degrade faster.
The freezing and melting oil will break the oil’s chemical structure. It will be oxidized and can quickly get spoiled.
If you are purchasing vegetable oil, look for those brands that give dark opaque packaging. As it will quickly curb the light from entering, and thus the shelf life will increase.
We know almost every brand sells vegetable oil in a crystal clear container; therefore, it’s critical to preserve the bottle correctly after you come home.
Make sure you never forget to consider looking at the dates printed on the label. And, always buy oil that has at least a year left on its shelf life so that you can use the oil for a long.
Can you reuse vegetable oil for cooking?
As you know, the oil will get rancid if it is oxidized. When used for frying, the vegetable oil is heated at a high temperature, boosting the oxidation process.
It means your 20 minutes of frying session will probably take out a couple of months from the vegetable oil shelf life.
Plus, polyunsaturated fats, which are less stable than saturated fats, are abundant in vegetable oils. This means vegetable oil loses its quality faster. Lard is a better alternative to vegetable oil because of this.
If you still wish to reuse vegetable oil, read the following pointers.
Make sure to reuse oil in the same food or the same type of food as it can catch the flavoring.
Consider how “filthy” your meal is. Like it is evident when you use oil to make the pancake, it will get less dirty, and then if you use it to fry eggs, it will work.
Do not mix used oil with new fresh oil; it will decline its life.
Alternatives to Vegetable Oil if it has Gone Bad
In case your vegetable oil has started showing any spoilage signs, you can consider using any of the following alternatives:
- Flaxseed oil
- Hempseed oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Avocado oil
- Unrefined walnut oil
Can you get sick from using old vegetable oil?
You might not get sick right away from consuming old vegetable oil. However, you might face long-term consequences in chronic diseases as the harmful free radicals can cause permanent cell damage.
What happens if you cook with expired vegetable oil?
Cooking with expired vegetable oil might alter the overall flavor and aroma of the dish. While it might have long-term consequences on your health, you might notice uneasiness immediately after consuming food made with such oil.
Can vegetable oil be stored long-term?
When stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight, vegetable oil can last 1-2 years. However, once you open it, you must use it within 6-8 months. But once can preserve its quality and taste for several years by placing it in an airtight container.
Well, that’s a wrap!
Yes, the vegetable oil does go bad. Generally, the fat content in it ensures a long shelf life. That said, if it is stored properly, you can store it for 12-18 months.
As discussed in the article, improper storage conditions may deteriorate its quality faster. It will smell a little off, its color may change, or it will get moldy.
Nevertheless, if you feel your vegetable oil has gone bad despite your utmost care, you can always look up telltale signs.
I hope this piece was beneficial for you. If you have any problems or concerns, let us know in the comments section below.
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.