How Long Do Black Olives Last?

by Charlie
Black Olives

Black olives are consumed globally and mostly used to make Mediterranean meals or olive oil. Many people consider them as fruits as they originated from a fruit tree in the Mediterranean. Others consume them as vegetables due to their culinary functions.

But how long do black olives last? Black olives have a best-before-date on their label. However, most brands will last for a minimum of three days and a maximum of two years. Generally, their lifespan depends on storage conditions. Black olives will last up to a year if left unopened and stored in the pantry.

When not stored well, their shelf life reduces. 

While they have a best-before-date on their label, that doesn’t mean you must discard them on that date. You can continue enjoying this delicacy even after the date lapse if it’s are still good.

How Long Do Black Olives Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Storage MethodShelf life
In freezer2 years
In refrigerator1-1.5 years
With preservatives 1 year
In the pantry, when open3-5 days
In the pantry, unopened1 year

Do Black Olives Go Bad?

Yes. Black olives can spoil depending on where and how they are stored. So, if you buy them for your salads, pizza, and oil, it’s essential to know their shelf life and how to keep them for later use. 

In most cases, their shelf life depends on three factors. These include:

  • Whether opened or not
  • Storage conditions
  • Whether they have preservatives or not 

Shelf Life of Opened Olive Jar

Unopened black olives will last longer than opened ones. They can remain fresh for one year or longer if you store them on a cool and dry shelf.

Once you open the bottle, ensure you check and comply with everything indicated on the label, especially storage time. Most black olive brands will ask you to empty the jar 3-5 days after opening, and some will tell you to consume it in two weeks. But the good news is that the label has all the instructions. Therefore, once you open the jar, remember to read that tag. 

Shelf Life of Black Olives with Preservatives 

Have you seen people using a jar of black olives for months without expiring? Well, some olive brands can last up to a year when open. The main reason is that they use preservatives (brine).

When you use the right amount of brine to preserve olives, they can remain fresh for months.

There are two crucial things you should consider when adding brine to your olives.

These are:

  • Maintaining hygiene 

For food hygiene, cleanliness is critical. Ensure you use clean utensils and other items when preparing your olives. 

Also, ensure the jar you put your brine is spotless to avoid introducing germs and bacteria to it. Usually, germs in brine can make your black olives rot faster.

  • Making the brine stronger

Saltier or stronger brines are preferred as they increase the shelf life of the black olives more. So, to make your olives stay fresh for several months, use strong brine.

How to Store Black Olives

Olives should be stored properly to avoid spoiling or losing their tangy flavor. You can keep the olives in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer

Method #1: In the Pantry

Pantry is the right storage area for unopened jars of black olives. They can remain fresh for months, and some brands can still be fine after a year. They should be stored here at a room temperature of 24 degrees Celsius.

But once you open them, the pantry is not the right place to keep them. However, if you decide to leave them there, you can only enjoy their freshness for a maximum of three to five days.

Method #2: In the Refrigerator

Once you open the olive jar, you should put them in the refrigerator to increase their shelf life. They can remain fresh and suitable for consumption for 12 to 18 months in the fridge. Steps to follow are;

  • Ensure you immerse your black olives fully in a liquid or brine. This helps in keeping them fresh. 
  • You should then put them in an airtight container as air make the fruits rot.
  • You can finally put them in the fridge.

Method #3: In the Freezer

Freezing olives is essential if you want to retain their quality for several months. They can remain fresh in the freezer for two years.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Wash them

It’s advisable to put olives in a colander and wash with cold water for a few minutes. Washing is necessary as it helps in getting rid of germs and any impurities.

  1. Dry them

Allow them to dry by leaving them in the colander for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also dry them using a paper towel. Remember, moisture can affect their flavor. 

  1. Ensure you place them in an airtight container.

Arrange them in a clean and safe container with an airtight lid. Ensure you leave some space between the olives and the stopper. These fruits expand when frozen, and it’s essential to leave enough room for expansion. 

  1. Freeze 

Write the date on the container before you put it in the freezer. You can finally pop it at the center of the freezer.

Can You Put Olives in Brine Before You Freeze?

Yes, you can put your black olives in salty water or brine before freezing. This helps in giving them the right texture.

Follow these steps:

  • Put your olives in a pan with brine solution
  • Boil them for 15 minutes
  • Dispose of the liquid
  • Place the boiled olives in cold water
  • Allow them to cool and remove from water
  • Ensure you put them in an airtight container
  • Pop them in the freezer

How Can You Know That Your Black Olives Are Bad?

As seen earlier, black olives can rot or spoil depending on various factors, like how they are stored and preservatives used. So, it’s advisable to assess them keenly before eating to know whether they are safe for consumption.

Signs that show that black olives are spoilt are:

  • An awful smell
  • Black spots or mold
  • An unpleasant taste

Discard them if you notice any of these signs.

Final Thoughts

  • Black olives are considered both fruits and vegetables.
  • Black olives can last a minimum of three days and a maximum of two years, depending on storage.
  • You can store them in a closed cabinet, pantry, fridge, or freezer. 
  • You can increase the shelf life of black olives by introducing preservatives and freezing. 
  • Spoilt black olives have an unpleasant smell, taste, and black spots or molds.

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