Do olives go bad? How long do olives last?

Olives are small sour and salty fruits that are grown in the olive tree. You might find varieties of olives such as Kalamata, Celignola, Castelvetrano, Nyon, Liguria, gordal, and many other kinds.

Most of them are Green but turn into black when ripening and others are green whether they ripen or not. You can use olive in sandwiches, tapenades, sauces, salads, pizza, pasta dishes, and so many other recipes.

But, sometimes you might wonder- do olives go bad? How long do olives last? Can you freeze them? How to tell if olives go bad?

Today, we will give the best answer about olives’ shelf life, storing process, signs of bad olives, and many more.

Do olives go bad?

Olives can go bad whether they are green or black if you don’t preserve them properly in a cold place, away from air, heat, and light.

You might prepare olive brine or juice with a mixture of vinegar, salt, and water. It can also go bad at a certain period. However, it takes a longer time to spoil olives and olive juice or brine.

You can buy a jar of olives instead of preserving it at home. It also expires after a certain period. Jarred olives are tagged with best by date or expiration date.

However, an unopened can of olives has a longer shelf life in the pantry. When the best date passes, you can use jar olives some days beyond the expiration date.

After a while, they degrade in quality, start rotting and go bad thoroughly.            

Do olives need to be refrigerated?

Yes, olives need to be refrigerated. If you preserve olives in brine, they will go bad if not refrigerated as soon as possible.

Though you can sit them out of the fridge for a long time, after a certain time they will go bad. Hence, to get more shelf life of olives, you need to refrigerate them soon.

In case of store-bought jarred olives, you can preserve the unopened jar of olives at room temperature for longer periods.

But, once you open the jar or can of olives, they come into contact with air, heat, and light, and you need to refrigerate them instantly after opening.

When the olives expose to air, light, and temperature, spoilage bacteria and pathogen bacteria can grow fast and build up mold soon and can produce a bad odor.

However, to store in the fridge, make sure to seal the jar tight after use and preserve the colder place or crisper drawer of the refrigerator.


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Can you freeze olives?

You can freeze olives with and without brine for sure whether they are green olives or black olives, kalamata, or castelvetrano olives.

If you want to preserve them for more extended periods, you can freeze them instead of refrigerating them.

To preserve olives in the freezer, you can follow the two different methods which are stated below:

  1st method:

This method is for freezing fresh olives without brine.

  • Put the fresh black or green olives in a colander and wash them properly in running water for a few minutes.

Give them time to drain the water through the colander and let them dry. To speed up the drying process, you use a dry paper towel.

  • Put the washed and dried olives into an airtight container leaving half an inch space from the top as they may expand when frozen. Then, seal the lid tight.
  • Write down the label and date, and toss the container into the freezer. To prevent frozen together, jiggle the container after 30 minutes.

2nd method:

 Use this freezing method if you want to have a great texture of olives after defrosting. This method is called vinegar-salt-water bath or brine bath before freezing. 

  • Put the olives in a pan mixing with the brine solution over them. Boil them for 10-15 minutes.
  • Take away the extra brine from boiled olives, put them in the cold water, remove from water and dry them properly.
  • Put the dried olives into an airtight jar or Mason jar and seal it tight.
  • Label the jar and write down the date, and freeze it for more extended periods.

If you buy store-bought cans or jars of olives, you should not freeze unopened jarred olives.

Because the manufacturers preserve the olives in a way that you can store an unopened jar of olives in a pantry for longer periods.

Once you open the jar, freeze it getting extensive shelf life.

How long do olives last?

If you store home-preserved jarred green or black olives at room temperature, they last for up to a few hours. You can refrigerate olives without brine or juice for up to 1-2 weeks for getting longevity more than pantry and with brine preserve them in the fridge for up to a month for best qualityOn the other hand, freeze the home preserved olives for up to 3-6 months.

If you buy store-bought green, black, or kalamata olives, they last in the pantry for up to 12-24 months if unopened. Once you open the jar of olives, don’t store them at room temperature rather preserve them in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks while you can freeze the jar for about a year

How to tell if olives are bad?

It’s crucial that how to tell if olives are bad. Well, several obvious signs may tell you whether your olives are bad or not.

  • Start with the checking container or can of olives. If the jar bugled, rusty, or dome-shaped lids, these signs tell that olives inside the jar are already contaminated by bacteria and started to ferment. Discard the jar right away.
  • If you see any mold buildup on the olive brine or juice, chances are your olives already expired.
  • Smell the inside of a jar of olives. If you get rancid smells or rotten smells, it’s a clear indication of spoiled olives.
  • Taste some olives if you get a metallic or sulfuric taste, chances that they are gone bad. Throw them away.

    What happens if you eat bad olives?

You could eat bad olives erroneously. But, what happens if you eat bad olives? Eating expired or spoiled olives could cause food poisoning which may lead to stomach aches, diarrhea, headache, vomiting, and nausea. 

FDA reported that, in a rare case, eating bad olives could lead to botulism which is caused by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. The primary symptoms of botulism are physical weakness, difficulty in speaking and breathing, double vision, faintness, etc.

If you get sick after eating expired olives, make sure you call the doctor immediately and take proper medical assistance.

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