Alex Guarnaschelli's Genius Tip For Keeping Olive Oil Fresh

Experts say buying olive oil is like buying wine. There are subtle differences in taste that vary depending on its region of origin, and less expensive bottles often lack the character that is detectable in more premium varieties (via Well+Good). Grocery stores often offer olive oils that range substantially in price, from less than $10 to more than $50, and some that even sell in the three digits. According to Real Simple, while you don't have to break the bank, spending a bit more for a good bottle of the extra-virgin stuff can pay off. It does some heavy lifting in the flavor department, whether it's used to elevate simple dishes, finish off soups and salads or brighten up roasted vegetables.

You may be tempted to reserve a special bottle for special occasions, bringing it out only when hosting a dinner party or making pasta from scratch, but buyer beware — olive oil goes rancid after 18 to 24 months; 12 to 18 months if it's extra-virgin, per Healthline. And throwing out olive oil is not just a regrettable waste of money. According to Sustainability Nook, both the cultivation of olives and the process of draining the oil by centrifugation have negative environmental impacts, such as deforestation and the wastewater that comes from olive mills and refineries. All the more reason for everyone to follow the hack chef and Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli shared for keeping your olive oil fresh.

Alex Guarnaschelli's advice: Refrigerate your olive oil

Olive oil should never be stored on or near your stove or oven, Guarnaschelli told People Magazine, because it is sensitive to fluctuations in temperature. "Each time you heat up the stove or oven, the oil heats and cools too — making it spoil faster," she said. Exposure to light will also hasten the spoilage of olive oil, as it causes the formation of peroxide. And as the peroxide decomposes and the oil becomes rancid, it starts to lose its polyphenols — a micronutrient that accounts for the pungent and slightly bitter taste that is characteristic of fresh, high-quality olive oil (via FiveThirtyEight).

Spoiled olive oil will begin to taste musty and then vinegary. According to Healthline, it is technically safe to eat olive oil that has past its prime, but that unpleasant flavor will be imparted into your food, too. And along with its taste, many of the oil's health benefits, such as the potency of its antioxidants, will be lost when it starts to spoil. Noting that "olive oil is expensive and gets rancid easily," the "Chopped" and "Iron Chef America" star offered a simple solution to prolong its shelf life: "Store it in the fridge!" Another good way to ensure you don't end up throwing out that bottle of EVOO? Use it. Guarnaschelli can help you on that front, too, with her recipe for olive oil-grape cake with honey-ginger glaze (via Food Network).