Quick Guide to Olives: How to Tell if Olives are Bad

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Many people love olives, but not everyone knows how to tell if olives are bad. This guide will show you what to look for so that you can avoid eating spoiled olives and enjoy them instead!

How to tell if olives are bad

Sometimes olives can be difficult to tell if they are bad. The first thing you should do is smell them! If there is no odor, then the olive is fresh and ripe for consumption.

If they have a strong sulfurous smell that smells like rotten eggs, then they are not good to eat!

Olives are a delicious staple of the Mediterranean diet. They’re also known for their healthy properties, which is why so many people love to eat them!

But how can you tell if they’ve gone bad? It’s hard to tell just by looking at them – but there are tricks to figuring out whether or not your olives have turned.

In this blog post we’ll discuss some easy ways that will help you identify what might be wrong with your olives and give you an idea about when it’s time to toss them in the trash.

How to tell if olives are bad

I utilize these four methods to check if my olives are still in the right state for consumption.

Check the date on the jar

Expiration date on the jar is a good indicator of whether or not olives are still fresh.

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If buying olives in bulk, you can usually tell by looking at how much liquid they take up once submerged in water as opposed to dry ones.

You should also be able to feel if there’s any mold on them when you unscrew the lid and open it.

If you can’t find an expiration date on the jar then move onto step two to see other ways of telling whether they’re rotten.

Smell – if they smell sour, they’re bad

The smell of bad olives is a dead giveaway. If they smell sour, put them in the trash because it’s probably too late to do anything about them at this point.

Smelling is not the only way you can tell if your olives are bad.


A quick and dirty test for rotten olives is simply by looking at them: if there are any black spots, they’re not good anymore.

However, this is a test that doesn’t always work because some olives will have brown or greenish black spots and be completely okay to eat.

You can also tell if your olives are bad by looking at the color of them: if they’re white with a red tinge, then you might want to discard them. They should be dark in color but without any discoloration whatsoever.

Taste a couple olives from the jar 

I always do the taste test before I use a jar of olives. Place the olive in your mouth and give it a little chew, then spit it out as to not swallow in case they are bad.

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If they taste ok – chances are you’ll be able to enjoy them just fine. If you taste something icky – similar to soap or mold, then they are bad.

Tips for storing olives 

Tip 1: If an olive is mushy or has liquid inside, it’s gone bad

Tip 2: Rinse and dry them before you store them in your fridge to help keep them fresh longer!

Tip 3: Keep your olives away from any fruit that will give off a natural gas (like apples) because this will make them spoil faster!

Tip 4: Store olives in a dark, cool place. A pantry is usually the perfect spot since it’s typically cooler and darker than other areas of your home.

Tip 5: Store olives for up to six months at about 59 degrees Fahrenheit by keeping them out of the light and airtight (e.g., in a closed container).

Tip 6: If you don’t want to store your olives in the refrigerator, keep them on a cold shelf or in an area that stays below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Recipe ideas using olives

  1. Add olives to a classic martini for an unusual twist. Just make sure they’re pitted, of course!
  2. Mix up your favorite sandwich with some smashed black and green olives as the filling, this one is for olive lovers!
  3. Use ripe olives to start a homemade pizza or pasta sauce, then stir in fresh garlic at the end for flavor.

Other uses for olive.

I also like to use olives as an appetizer when entertaining friends or family members at home. There are so many types of olive out there that you can buy frozen or jarred and put on a platter- some with nuts or garlic- it’s really up to your taste preferences!

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