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Does Vegetable Oil Ever Expire?

vegetable oil pouring into pan
vegetable oil pouring into pan - New Africa/Shutterstock

Vegetable oil is a handy and versatile ingredient to keep on hand in the kitchen. Whether you are using it as a frying oil for a hot and crispy meal or leveraging it as a convenient egg substitute, odds are you have a big bottle of the stuff sitting in your pantry right now. If you are someone who likes to stock vegetable oil in bulk, however, be aware that this ingredient does eventually expire. Here's why and what you can do to make it last.

Vegetable oil, like many fats, tends to spoil due to oxidation. Exposure to excess heat, light, or air will speed up this process, which is why it is very important that you take care to store your vegetable oil properly during its use. Keep your oil in an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry, dark place such as a pantry. There, it can be expected to last for at least six months and up to twelve months.

Read more: The 20 Best Olive Oils For Cooking

How To Tell When Vegetable Oil Has Gone Bad

person throwing away expired oil
person throwing away expired oil - Vasyl Mykhailenko/Getty Images

Even when storing your vegetable oil correctly, it is important to keep an eye out for signs that it has expired. While consuming spoiled oil is unlikely to pose an immediate threat to your health, it can certainly still ruin your day with its unpleasant taste. Use your eyes and nose to examine the oil for signs that it has gone off. If the color of the oil has changed — for example, by becoming significantly darker — or if there is visible mold growth, then you can assume that the oil has expired. In addition, if the oil has a strong, unpleasant smell, it has gone rancid.

In these cases, it is best to dispose of the vegetable oil in favor of a new bottle. When getting rid of expired oil, be sure to follow the guidelines on how to do so safely and properly. Pouring the oil down your drain is unwise, as it risks clogging your pipes, and pouring it out onto the ground can harm plants and animals that come across it. As such, the best way to throw out vegetable oil is to put it into a sealed container and place it in the trash. If you are lucky, you may also be able to locate a recycling center that can safely transform expired oil into other usable forms.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.