Tapenade, the delightful olive-based spread originating from the picturesque landscapes of Provence, France, has earned a special place in many households. Whether you spread it on crisp bread, mix it into pasta, or use it as a topping, this savory blend guarantees a burst of flavor in every bite. However, as with any culinary delight, savoring its fresh flavors depends not only on how it’s prepared but also on how it’s stored.
Proper storage is also essential for health and safety reasons. This delectable spread, as vibrant and delicious as it is, can quickly become a breeding ground for unwelcome microbes if not stored correctly. Fortunately, an unopened jar, with its commercial sealing and preservatives, offers a decent shelf life when stored properly.
To ensure its longevity, keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, such as a pantry or cupboard. Your jar will keep for at least six months this way. Unopened jars of tapenade don’t necessarily need to be chilled, but it won’t hurt them either. The USDA advises that the olive spread be refrigerated once it has been opened, which makes the process of storing and maintaining its freshness more challenging.
Refrigerate Opened Jars for Prolonged Freshness
Once you’ve broken the seal of a tapenade jar, the fridge becomes its new home. The low temperatures effectively slow down the activity of microorganisms that could otherwise spoil your spread. For the best flavor, use any opened jar of store-bought tapenade in the fridge within two weeks. Homemade versions might have a shorter lifespan, typically around seven days, due to the absence of commercial preservatives.
In either case, always ensure that the jar is tightly sealed in an airtight container before returning it to the fridge; otherwise, the tapenade should be used within three days. To go the extra mile in preserving your spread, you can also add a small amount of olive oil on top of it inside the jar. Since air can oxidize olives and change their flavor, the oil serves as a barrier against it.
If you find yourself with a large quantity of tapenade that you don’t plan to use immediately, consider freezing it. Freezing it in airtight portioned containers can extend its life for up to three months. Last but not least, always remember to check the expiration date, particularly with store-bought tapenade. In any case, no matter the storage conditions of your olive-based spread, if you ever notice an unusual smell, mold, or questionable change in texture, it’s better to be safe and discard it.