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Food Safety: How Long Do Jarred Olives Remain Before Going Bad?

Jarred olives have an impressive shelf life and it is a well known fact, which is why it is not easy to know if it’s time to get rid of them. In this brief we explore how you can easily tell whether its time to toss them or not.

By Cookist

Olives have many uses but one of the best ways to enjoy them is in an aged brine.

Can Olives Go Bad?


Before we go into how you can identify spoiled olives, let's talk about the possibility of having a spoiled olive. It may seem unlikely because it contains an excess of salt, however, olives can still go bad.

Note that, for those still sealed or allowed to continue to soak in their liquid, it will take a longer time to get spoiled.

How Long Can Olives Last?

Liquid-packed olives are your best bet if you want long lasting olives. Their shelf-life can be anywhere from 12 to 18 months once opened and properly stored in the fridge.

In contrast, it will only take three days for dry olives to get ruined while unopened, jarred olives will stay fresh for up to two years.

If the handy date listed on your unopened jar of olives occurs less (or much less) than two years from now, know that what's inside will still last those 24 months. 

This is because "best by" dates are more of a "best guess" of a time frame to enjoy the product at what the manufacturer believes will be its highest quality.

How to Tell if Olives Are Bad


Any sign of mold means it's time to trash those olives. Beyond that, you can search for any other sign of spoilage such as a change in appearance or smell.

Discoloration, shrinkage, wrinkly bits, and funkier-than-normal smells are all good grounds to toss the product.

If unopened, a bulging lid is a dead giveaway of something bad occurring within. This and any other dents or damage should make you send them straight to the trash.

How to Store Olives


How you store olives is important for optimal shelf-life. Liquid-packed olives that are unopened should be placed in a pantry, cabinet, or other cool, dark place. Ensure their temperature for storage does not exceed 75 degrees F and the container, especially glass ones, should never see sunlight.

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