EXTENDING THE SHELF LIFE OF AVOCADO OIL
Known as the fruit of love to the Aztecs, avocados were seen as a fertility fruit and a natural aphrodisiac. Today, the central American fruit is an international phenomenon, where people use it to make milkshakes, avocado cake, guacamole, and more. Most recently, avocado oil has become a popular cooking oil alternative recent years for a high nutrient concentration, and its use in hair and skin care products.
As preppers, storing healthy cooking oils for long term storage is a simple approach to provide your family with nutritious and flavorful foods that will provide the energy to outlast a SHTF scenario. Fortunately, avocado oil has a shelf life of 8-12 months, but can be frozen for up to 2 years, making it a useful oil to keep in an emergency storage. Although avocado oil does not have a shelf life as long as frozen lard (2+ years) or coconut oil (5 years), it makes up for it as a delicious and highly nutritious alternative. In this post, we will cover avocado oil and how to extend its shelf life so you can keep it in your food storage location as long as possible.
What is avocado oil?
Avocado oil is made by extracting the paste from the pulp of a ripe avocado, followed by malaxing it under 45-50 C temperature for 50 minutes until the oil is separated from the avocado paste. This has been a practice since the time of the Aztecs, who were well aware of the high oil concentration of an avocado.
The hype behind the avocado craze is well deserved. There are too many health benefits to count. But some of the well documented benefits are that Avocado oil is: high in oleic fat – a monosaturated fat high in omega-9 fatty acid reduces cholesterol, helps in the absorption of other nutrients, and improves skin and wound healing. Avocado cooking oil is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E is popular for its health benefits.
Interestingly, avocado is versatile and is often used outside of the kitchen. Avocado oil can be used to make cosmetics, soap, candles, and moisturizers. This makes avocado oil a household item every prepper should store given how it can be applied to solve problems.
When refined, the emerald oil has a smoke point of 520°F or 270°C, and 320°F or 160°C when unrefined.
Refined avocado oil is best used for deep frying, sauteing, and stir-frying. Unrefined avocado oil is best used for roasting, searing, as well as sauteing. But given its rich natural flavors and high smoke point, it can be used for other purposes such as drizzling it over a salad or as a healthy substitute when baking.
How long does avocado oil last?
Refined avocado oil has a shelf life of 8 to 12 months, but can be frozen for up to 2 years if stored properly. However, there are some other factors that help determine the shelf life of avocado oil, such as:
Refined or unrefined avocado oil
Refined vs unrefined avocado oil
Simply put, the difference between refined and unrefined avocado oil is the extent of processing the oil goes through after extraction. Refined oils have a longer shelf life, although, some of the nutrients are reduced while making them. Unrefined retains more of the nutrients and natural flavors, but the shelf life is shorter.
When refined, the oil is deodorized or bleached to reduce impurities but loses its natural color and potent flavor in the process. Additionally, refined avocado oil is useful for its ability to handle a higher smoke point and it has a longer shelf life.
Unrefined means it has been untouched since the extraction process, thus retaining more of the avocado flavor and nutrients.
Unrefined avocado oil kept at room temperature has a shelf life of 4 to 6 months. When stored in a refrigerator, unrefined avocado oil can be kept up to 9 months insofar as it is properly sealed and stored.
As for refined avocado oil, it can be kept at room temperate for 9 to 12 months. When stored in a freezer, it can be stored up to 24 months.
An unopened bottle of avocado oil can last much longer than an opened bottle. This is because oxygen exposure can cause the oil to go rancid sooner. To maximize the shelf life of the oil, it is better not to use a bottle until you need it.
When it comes to storage, you want to protect the avocado oil from elements that cause oils to turn rancid. and help extend its shelf life. Fortunately, there are some best practices to extend the shelf life of cooking oils.
When storing oils, it is better to keep oils in opaque glass bottles to avoid the bottle from warming up. Additionally, you should always seal the bottle and store the oil in a cool dark place such as a pantry or refrigerator to protect it from direct sunlight, heat, and oxygen.
Brands matter because not all avocados are the same. Depending on where and when the ingredients were sourced will affect the shelf life. Some brands are known for making longer lasting cooking oils, but these are typically more processed, which erodes some of the health benefits. Other brands emphasize using single sourced avocado for their oil and limit the processing. We recommend unrefined oils because they are delicious and it retains more nutritional value.
The type of packaging is often ignored but it helps extend the shelf life of avocado oils. Avocado oils typically come in four containers: glass, plastic, tin, and spray cans. When buying your cooking oils, you consider the container options because it affects the exposure to sunlight, oxygen, and heat. Exposure to these elements can make the oil go rancid sooner.
How does Avocado oil go bad?
Avocado oil typically has a shorter shelf life than other cooking oils. You can extend its expiration date past the label printed on the bottle, but you would need to take extra steps to mitigate exposure to rancid causing factors. Avocado oil will go rancid from exposure to:
By limiting the exposure to the three rancid causing factors above, you can ensure the avocado oil lasts until its expiration date. The best way to protect it is by ensuring it’s a cool, dark place like a pantry. Also, consider a fridge or freezer if you are in a warmer climate.
How can I tell if oil is bad or rancid?
You can detect if the cooking oil has gone rancid by relying on the look, smell, and taste of the oil. Over time, the color of the oil will change, and you will start to notice discoloration. Spoiled avocado oils usually lack visible signs, so it’s hard for people to tell what’s causing the problem by simply focusing on the color. So if you can’t tell from the look, the next step is to smell the oil for rancidity. Oil passed its expiration smells off, possibly soapy, sour, or metallic. Lastly, you should consider tasting the oil. You can often tell the oil has expired if the oil tastes sour, bitter, or stale.
If you think the oil has gone bad, it is better to dispose of the cooking oil than expose your family and yourself to it. Expired cooking oil can make them sick or ruin a dish. Fortunately, there are ways to repurpose your expired oil.
Now that we know how avocado oils go bad, let’s talk about how to properly store them.
The best way to store avocado oil?
Ideally, you should keep your avocado oils in cold, dark places away from sunlight. Dark cabinets are a good choice when storing opened bottles of avocado oil that you expect to use soon. However, if your intention is to store an unopened bottle long term, it’s better to refrigerate or freeze the avocado oil.
If storing avocado oil in a fridge, expect the oil to become cloudy, and thicker. Fortunately, this is nothing to worry about, and the oil will clear up once it’s at room temperature.
Additionally, you should aim to buy avocado oil from an opaque glass or tin. These are effective in protecting the oil from sunlight and preserving the quality over time.
We like using Chosen Avocado Oil stored in an opaque glass.
In short, the best way to extend the shelf life and prevent spoilage is to keep the bottle unopened and store it in a dark, cool place.
Can you freeze avocado oil?
Yes, like ghee, olive oil, and other cooking oils and fats, avocado oil can be frozen to extend its shelf life. Freezing avocado oil will not affect its usefulness or alter its nutritional value. In a freezer, it can be stored for an additional year. As a best practice, it is good to check the expiration date of the oil before putting it in a freezer.
Additionally, if the oil comes in a plastic container, you should replace it with a freezer safe bottle. Glass is a freezer safe and healthier for your family since it is BPA free and there is no concern of microplastics entering the oil.
The freezing point of avocado oil is 46°F or 8°C.
Other ways to use expired avocado oil?
Don’t throw away your rancid avocado oil. You’ll be able to repurpose the rancid oil in countless other ways. Think of avocado oil as a versatile oil that can be used for household chores, DIY projects, or survival.
Household Chores: Lubricate hinges, Polish furniture
DIY Projects: Make Soap, Candles
Survival: Add to compost, make a light source
We like discussing cooking oils because they are versatile and can be used by preppers over and over again to overcome a SHTF scenario.
Why use avocado oil?
It’s delicious! Avocado oils are made right from the pulp of an avocado, meaning it retains more nutritional value than alternative oils. And for those who like to cook, it can help up your game in the kitchen by bringing in new flavors to your recipes.
As mentioned above, it has numerous health benefits, such as containing anti-inflammatory properties as well as helping prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. Which cannot be said about widely available vegetable oils.
We now know that the heavily processed vegetable oils are toxic and can cause diseases later in life. It’s best to avoid them for healthier alternatives such as extra virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, and unsalted butter. Basically, organic cooking fats and oils with limited additives will provide the best nutritional benefits.
Lastly, avocado oils can be kept in a food storage location, and last up to 12 months in a fridge or as long as 24 months in a freezer. Properly storing your avocado oil to prevent spoilage will allow it to last a long time in your emergency food storage location.
Best substitutes for avocado oil
The world of cooking oils is a broad category, but fortunately, there are close substitutes to avocado oil based on health benefits, smoke points, and cooking.
Health Benefits: Extra virgin olive oil
Cooking: Cold-Pressed Sesame Oil
Smoke point: Beef Tallow or Butter*
*Note: Avocado oil has one of the highest smoke points out of all the cooking fats and oils at 520°F or 270°C. Beef Tallow and Butter, both with a smoke point of 480°F or 250° have comparable smoke points.
How to dispose of rancid oil?
Properly disposing of avocado oils is just as important as properly storing cooking oils. Without proper disposal, it can do damage to your home, and the environment, and attract pests.
Some ideas on how to dispose of cooking oils in an environmentally friendly way are by:
Adding the cooking oil to compost
Give leftover cooking oil to pets
Add leftover cooking oil to a bird feeder
Make a weed killer from the oil
Taking the extra measure to properly dispose of cooking oils will prevent unnecessary headaches and stress later.
Tip: Do keep in mind that cooking oils should NOT be disposed of down the drain because it will solidify in your pipes, and you’ll have to call a plumber to clean it out.
All in all, Avocado oil is a healthy alternative to traditional vegetable oils. Although it does not have a shelf life as long as other cooking oils, its shelf life can be extended as long as 24 months if the right steps are taken to protect it against air, heat, and sunlight. Once you have used the oil, consider environmentally friendly ways of disposing of the oil.
As preppers, it is important that we keep in mind the expiration date of our food products, and know the different uses of our supplies. Where most foods can only be used to consume, healthy cooking oils are a great source of calories but can also be used for so much more.
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