What is that one dairy product that the culinary world would be helpless and incomplete without? The answer is undoubtedly the key ingredient that you use in almost every other dish that you make, ‘butter.’ Does not matter what type you use, be it salted or unsalted, butter is considered virtually irreplaceable. Simply no other product can deliver the same rich and flavorful taste to a dish like butter does.
This particular dairy product with its high fat and carbohydrate content undeniably takes any and every dish to a whole new level of taste and texture. Whether you use it as a spread or for baking or cooking, there is no denying the fact that butter is ideal and perfect for all purposes.
Being one of the kitchen essentials, we always keep butter in hand, no matter what we use it for. Most often than not, you buy one stick and by the end of a week or two, it is all gone. There are some households however, where butter is not needed on a daily basis.
Nonetheless, have you ever wondered what might happen to butter if left unused in the fridge for a long period of time? Does it go bad? How long does it stay fresh? What can I do to make it stay fresh for longer? How do I store it properly?
Are the questions swarming and making your head spin? Well then, you do not need to worry because we have all the answers to the questions you may have. Also, we will tell you exactly what you need to do about that butter you are so concerned about. Because, yes, butter does go bad.
Shelf Life Of Butter
Whether you plan to stock up on butter or are worried about the one that is lying around in the fridge, you need to know how long the butter will last. Otherwise, it really will go to waste. Typically, a stick or a tub of butter, used or unused, when refrigerated will last for about a maximum of three months.
In case if you plan to store it for a longer period like a year or so, then you should certainly freeze it in the freezer. But beyond that time frame, the texture, taste and altogether the composition of butter will change and would not be fit for use. Just in case you were wondering, butter stored in room temperature will last for about two weeks.
If you plan to buy and stock on butter, when in the store, just pick out the tub or stick that is the freshest because eventually, it means the expiration date will be farther away compared to the old ones. Almost all tubs or sticks will have an expiration date labeled on the packaging, so take a look at it before you randomly pick one.
Signs That The Butter Is Expired
Can’t remember when you bought the butter and totally forgot about it until now? If the butter looks darker in color than usual and translucent at the edges, it is definitely time to dump it in the trash. Like most spoiled things, it will also give off a sour and putrescent odor. If you are really unsure, you may taste it in a very small amount – it will taste foul – but we in no way encourage you to ingest anything that may be expired. Better to stay on the safe side and throw it out.
Refrigerating The Butter
Before you store your butter, make sure the temperature of your refrigerator is set below 40-degree Fahrenheit or 4 degree Celsius. Store it at the back of the fridge, away from foods that give off strong smells. You may store it in the butter compartment which will keep it away from other foods and prevent the butter from absorbing odors.
However, we think, the perks of storing it in the back is greater as the back of the fridge is not exposed to air as much as the front and neither do they experience much of the temperature changes. You can store it in the packaging it came in or foil, plastic wraps but remember to seal it properly because fat molecules in butter get broken down by air or moisture and eventually get spoiled.
In order to avoid this, use airtight containers or wrap it up with aluminum foil another time. If it is in a tub, put the lid on and make sure it is secure. Now, feel free to go ahead and store it in the refrigerator.
Freezing The Butter To Extend Its Life And Use
If you want your butter to last for a lot longer than three months, then it is time to freeze them. The first step will be to chop the butter in convenient sizes. The size does not really matter much; cut them in sizes that will make it easier for you to use and measure them up for any recipe. This, of course, is optional but cutting them into small pieces of an inch will save you the time of thawing a whole bar of butter (if you do not need the whole bar for your dish).
Next, cover the small pieces in aluminum foil to seal them properly. Doing this for the individual blocks of butter will prevent freezer burns and keep the pieces apart from one another. Also, they are unlikely to absorb any lingering smell in the freezer in this way.
Take a zip-lock bag and transfer the chunks in it, pushing out any air or moisture inside the bag. Then zip the lock and put the bag away in the freezer. You can also use an airtight container to store the butter blocks. Just ensure that the butter in no way comes in contact with air or moisture. If you like, you can label the bag with the type of butter you have stored in it and the date which you have stored it in.
If you do not know how to defrost butter after it has been taken out from the freezer, then do not panic. Thaw it like you would thaw refrigerated butter – leave it in room temperature or heat it up on the stove or in the microwave.
With all that being said, we sincerely hope we have been helpful. Butter being so useful, we definitely do not want it to go to waste. So, if you follow all the instructions that we have mentioned above, then rest assured that your butter will stay fresh for a long time. Now, you can hopefully make your mind up about how much butter you want and should stock during sales and how long it will last.
However, do not hoard extra because there is a high chance that it may go to waste. But if you have already done so, make use of your exceptional culinary skills and prepare dishes and delicacies with butter that will make everyone lick their fingers!