How Long Are Black Olives Good in the Fridge?

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Black Olives add to the taste of any dish they are added to, especially salads, pizzas, and sandwiches. Though there is always an ongoing debate about them if they are fruits or vegetables, this debate doesn’t take away the fact that they are loved by thousands of people across the globe. 

As far as the shelf-life of black olives is concerned, it generally depends on the way you store them and the environmental conditions in which they are kept. However, black olives from different brands can last for as low as two weeks to as long as two years. 

I have compiled an extensive guide for you explaining the shelf-life of black olives. I will also take you through some storage methods for efficient storing of black olives, increasing their shelf-life, along with some factors that can help you identify if olives have gone bad or not. 


For How Long Do Black Olives Remain Good In Fridge? 

As mentioned above, the storage time of black olives varies depending on the storage conditions. This means that if you want them to stay good for a long time, you have to ensure to store them properly. 

But to give you an idea, if you properly refrigerate black olives, i.e., store them in an airtight container before refrigerating them, they will last for over a year. This stands true even for opened olives, as they will stay good for 12 to 18 months easily. 

Another good news for you is that you can even use your black olives after the “Best by” date mentioned on their packaging as long as they don’t smell putrid and are in good condition. 

One thing that you need to keep in mind here is that this storage time greatly varies depending on the storage of your olives. For instance, if you take dry olives that are not submerged in some kind of liquid, be it vinegar or brine, they will stay good only for a few days, even in the refrigerator. 

However, black olives kept in a liquid for storage can last for around 12 months, as mentioned earlier. 

The type of brine used in the storage process also greatly affects the storage time. Simply put, some brines have a more significant content of salts and other preservatives than other brines. Here, the brine with larger quantities of salts and other preservatives will keep the olives fresh for a more extended period. 

Brine solution is also widely used for curing olives. Here is a guide you can check out to find out more about this. 

As far as dry olives are concerned, they are good to be consumed within 3 weeks. This is true for opened and unopened olives, even when kept in the fridge. 

Here is a table for you to have a quick look at the shelf life of black olives under different storage conditions:  

Storage Method Shelf Life
Freezer 18 to 24 Months
Refrigerator 12 to 18 Months
In Brine or Other Preservatives  12 Months
In the Pantry – Opened  3 to 5 days 
In the Pantry – Unopened 12 to 16 Months

You can check out this YouTube video to learn more about the storage life of black olives. 

How To Store Black Olives? 

One thing that I have stressed several times till now is the storage condition of your black olives. At this point, you must have understood that storage conditions are crucial in determining black olives’ shelf life. 

But if you are unclue about storing black olives correctly, I have some exciting and super useful methods for you. So, keep reading to find out more. 

Method #1: On the Shelf/ In Pantry 

The first method you can use for storing black olives is in the pantry or your kitchen shelf, where you store all other food items. This method works only for unopened olive jars as they can easily last for multiple months and even years without going bad. 

While storing black olives in the pantry or the storage cabin of your kitchen, it’s crucial to consider the temperature of the surroundings. It’s because black olives, whether unopened, need to be stored at room temperature of 24 degrees Celsius to keep them from going bad. 

However, once you open the olives’ jar, you cannot store them in the pantry as, in this case, they will only remain good for 3 to 5 days, after which you need to toss them in the trash as they are not suitable to be consumed. 

Method #2: In the Fridge/ Refrigerator 

The next method here that you can use to store your black olives is to keep them in the fridge. This is one of the most trusted and widely used methods globally, keeping the olives fresh for around 12 to 18 months. 

Here are the steps you need to follow to store your black olives in the refrigerator correctly: 

  1. Add a preservative liquid or brine in an airtight container. 
  2. Now put all the black olives in the jar and seal the jar. 
  3. Ensure that all the olives are completely immersed in the liquid. 
  4. You can also add the olives first and then pour the liquid into the jar to determine the right quantity of liquid. 
  5. Put the jar in the refrigerator and ensure to seal the jar properly after every use. 

Method #3: Freezing the Olives 

The last method I have listed here that will increase the storage time of your black olives the most and keep them fresh for the longest time is freezing them. This could increase the shelf-life of the olives to around 18 to 24 months. 

Here is what you need to do for this: 

  1. Add all the black olives you want to freeze in a basket with holes. 
  2. Now put the basket under a tap with cold water and rinse them thoroughly. 
  3. Ensure to get rid of any germs or impurities from the olives. 

Note: While washing the olives, discard any damaged olives you see. 

  1. Once the olives are thoroughly washed, keep them aside for 15 to 20 minutes and let them dry out. 
  2. You can also use a power towel to fasten the drying process. 
  3. Now, shift the olives into an airtight container. 
  4. Don’t fill the container to its lid; leave some space between the olives and the jar’s lid. 

Note: Do not stuff too many olives in the container before freezing them, as fruits tend to expand after freezing and need some space for expansion. 

  1. Now, using a permanent marker, write the date you put them in the freezer. This will enable you to keep track of the time and prevent you from using them spoiled. 
  2. Now, put the container in the freezer, and you are sorted for the next two years. 

How To Know If Olives Have Gone Bad? 

Now that you have an idea regarding the shelf life of olives under different conditions and have looked at some methods you can use to store them, the next thing you might be concerned about is the black olives going bad. 

Although multiple things can help you increase the shelf life of your black olives and keep them fresh for a long time, this still can’t take away the fact that olives are meant to go bad one day if not consumed. 

When it comes to olives, it’s relatively harder to tell when they have gone bad. If you also find it hard to figure out whether the black olives are suitable to be consumed, I have listed some signs indicating that your black olives have finally gone bad. 

Sign #1: Bad Smell 

The first thing you need to check out when determining whether the olives are gone bad or not is their smell. There is nothing complex in it, as the smell is generally the first thing in case any food item goes bad. 

For this, open the lid of the container you have put your olives in. Smell the olives, and if you cannot bear the smell, your olives are all set to be tossed in the bin. Even if you can smell something awful for a few seconds and it goes away after that, it’s best not to use the olives anymore. 

Sign #2: Awful Appearance 

The next factor that can never misguide you in judging whether the olives have gone rancid or not is their appearance. Usually, when olives have passed their consumption limit, they appear bad. You can even see a thin layer of fungus inside the jar, which clearly indicates the black olives are going rancid. 

One thing you need to be careful about here is that olives don’t appear the same all the time. For instance, if you keep your olives in a brine solution, they will start appearing paler over time. This is only a sign of their aging and not spoiling. 

So, discard only if the olives’ appearance tells you they need to be thrown away. 

Another indication of the black olives going bad is the appearance of black spots on their surface. This can also happen if you have failed to seal the jar properly after last using them. 

Sign #3: Horrible Taste 

If there is nothing wrong with the smell and appearance of the olives, but a long time has passed after their assumed shelf-life, and you are unsure whether they are safe to be consumed, the last resort for you is their taste. 

Take a small bite of the black olives, and if they taste horrible, throw them away. You don’t have to gulp the bite to ensure if they have gone bad or not, as the tongue will do the job. 

Sign #4: Damaged Jar/Container 

The last sign indicating that your olives have gone all bad is a damaged jar or container in which you have stored them. When the olives go bad due to many bacteria accumulating inside the jar, these bacteria will eventually release gases that will swell the jar. 

So, a bloated or damaged jar with liquid leaking out of it is a sign for you to throw the jar along with the olives in the bin. 


Will Olives Expire If Not Opened for a Long Tome? 

The best way to determine whether the olives are still good to be consumed is to check the “Best by” date on the jar. However, this doesn’t mean they expire, i.e., they can’t be consumed after this taste. In fact, if stored right, black olives can be consumed way past the “Best by” date. 

But if you don’t consume olives for a long time and their storage time is long past, they tend to expire even if they are unopened. The damaged or swollen jar is the best indication of spoiled or expired olives. 

What Are the Side Effects of Eating Bad Olives? 

If you fail to recognize that the olives have gone bad and consume them, this can lead to multiple health complications, including diarrhea, nausea, and stomachache. Consuming bad olives can also lead to food poisoning. 

Though in some cases, the food poisoning caused by bad olives isn’t too severe and goes away after a few hours, if it lasts for a long time, it’s best to seek medical help. Some signs of severe food poisoning caused by bad black olives are high fever, horrible stomachache, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and blood clots in the vomit. 

How Can Olives Be Defrosted? 

The most suitable and easiest method to defrost olives is to put the container in the refrigerator and leave them there for a few hours. As the temperature in the refrigerator is lower than in the freezer, then will thoroughly defrost if kept overnight. 

Is It Safe to Consume Frozen Olives? 

Yes, frozen olives are completely safe to consume after you defrost them. Defrosting is necessary as you won’t be able to eat the frozen olives. One thing you need to keep in mind here is that freezing the olives can affect their quality, so it’s best to use frozen olives in cooked dishes such as sauces and pizzas rather than consuming them on their own. 

Conclusion – How Long Are Black Olives Good in the Fridge?

In this guide, I have answered the biggest concern most people have regarding black olives, i.e., their shelf life when kept in the fridge. I have also taken you through some efficient methods you can use to store the black olives easily on your own. 

Additionally, I have explored some signs that will help you figure out whether the olives have gone bad or not so you can save yourself from the bad health effects of consuming bad olives. Lastly, I answered some questions you might have regarding black olives. 

Hopefully, this guide has answered all your queries regarding black olives, and you are now all set to store them on your own. 


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