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Can Butter Go Bad? Not as Quickly as You Think

can butter go bad
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / rodeopix

Don't be fooled by the 'best by' date – butter usually does not go bad that quickly. Utilize these tips to gain the most out of your butter by storing it properly and avoiding food waste.

Even though most dairy products have a relatively short shelf-life, butter lasts a considerably long time before it goes bad. The amount of time it takes to turn depends on the way you store it. Butter can be kept at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and even in the freezer. Also, don’t be fooled by the ‘best by’ date as butter can often last long after this depending on your storage method.

For more on getting the most out of your food, here are 10 pro tips for reducing food waste.

Vegan? Here’s another article on how to best store foods like vegetables, fruits, and leftovers

Storing Butter at Room Temperature

Store butter at room temperature for up to a week.
Store butter at room temperature for up to a week.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / congerdesign)

Butter lasts about a week when kept at room temperature before going bad. If this product is a staple in your household and you go through it quickly, it’s fine to store a stick of butter at room temperature. This is especially best if you’re regularly spreading it on food such as bread because it will be soft and easier to use.

It usually makes sense to keep only one stick at room temperature at a time and the rest in the fridge until you’re finished with the first. It’s also important to keep butter, as much as possible, unexposed to light and air. When stored at room temperature, it should ideally be kept in a butter dish (like this one available at Amazon**) and in a cool and dark environment, such as a cupboard.

Storing Butter in the Refrigerator

Butter stored in the fridge can probably last one month after the expiration date.
Butter stored in the fridge can probably last one month after the expiration date.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / e2grafikwerkstatt)

Butter that is kept in the fridge and stored below 40°F can last about one month after its expiration date. Of course, it is important to always use your own judgment when eating food that has passed its ‘best by’ date.

To avoid butter going bad, it’s ideal to store sealed in its original packaging and in a closed compartment in the fridge after opening the wax paper. Many refrigerators have a section in the door specifically for butter with a plastic flap to cover the top. This compartment is actually meant to keep the product slightly warmer for easier spreading, but this will make it turn faster.

Generally, foods stored in the door of the fridge experience more temperature fluctuations. This causes them to turn faster. The most important concepts are to keep your butter sealed until it’s in use and in a section of the fridge that maintains a consistent temperature. 

Butter can go bad faster if stored improperly. The use of airtight containers will help keep your refrigerated butter fresh longer. It will also protect it from smelling like other foods in your fridge because this dairy product can take on the flavor of food around it. Take this into consideration before storing your butter next to anything aromatic. 

Can Butter Go Bad When Stored in the Freezer?

Butter stored in the freezer can probably last six to nine months.
Butter stored in the freezer can probably last six to nine months.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / congerdesign)

Butter stored in the freezer can last six to nine months. This can be an especially good option if you come across a sale in the supermarket or perhaps work in a grocery store where employees have access to expired foods that are no longer sellable. It’s also important to note that butter has an extensive carbon footprint and it’s not recommended to overindulge in it. Instead, please use restraint and be conservative when incorporating butter into your pantry and diet.

Similar to the fridge, it is recommended that butter be stored in the freezer in its original packaging including the wax paper and cardboard box. This should do the best job of protecting yours from freezer burn. If using this method, butter can be ready to use quite quickly by heating it on the stove or in the microwave for just a few seconds depending on how soft or melted you prefer it to be. You can microwave at intervals of 10 seconds and flip it between each heat until it’s at the consistency you prefer.

When Butter Goes Bad

If concerned your butter has gone bad, some signs to check for are if it has had any changes in color, flavor, or smell. Eating butter that has turned will not cause food poisoning, but may cause a bit of a stomach ache. It is best to use your own judgment when consuming butter past its ‘best by’ date. 

Use these tips to get the maximum use out of your butter and avoid any food waste. 

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