Does It Go Bad?

Information about storage and shelf life of various products

Does Butter Go Bad?

Butter is a commodity that is used throughout the world on a daily basis in many different forms, but have you considered whether the product you are using is suitable for use? I’m sure you’re not the only person to wonder, ‘Does butter go bad?’, unless of course, you’re using powdered butter.

How to Store Butter

Butter spreads much more easily at room temperature and many recipes call for butter to be at room temperature before being added to a cake mixture, but this is not the optimum way to keep the product fresh, whether salted or unsalted butter. Butter can be kept in a cupboard and this may be fine if you have a cold cupboard or larder specifically designed for this purpose, but if you have a warm kitchen and the butter is left unwrapped on the side it may turn rancid and spoil.
Butter - it does go bad

(credit:maisonbisson)

In order to keep butter for longer periods of time, it is much better to keep it wrapped up and in a refrigerator, between 32° and 38° F. If protected adequately, this method should keep your butter fresh and extend its shelf life to about a month past its ‘sell by date’ for unsalted butter and by as much as four months for salted butter.

If you wish to buy butter in bulk in advance, you can successfully store unsalted butter in a freezer for up to four or five months without it spoiling – this nearly doubles for salted butter. Obviously, you can store goods for much longer than this in a freezer, however, if you wish to retain the quality of your butter, you might wish to get a system in place whereby you can keep track of the date the item was frozen.

Of course if you don’t use a lot of butter and are not keen on freezing it, you can try to replace it with powdered butter. Who knows, maybe it’ll work for your needs well.

Butter Uses

Unsalted butter is normally used in recipes for cakes and pastries, whereas salted butter has wider general use around the home; jam and bread, for example. However, if the recipe you are using calls for unsalted butter and the addition of salt, you may wish to substitute the two ingredients for salted butter.

Butter is also used in many cooking sauces and can even be used as a diet aid. A small amount of butter added to vegetables can help satiate the desire for fatty foods in trying circumstances!

Some websites recommend that frozen butter shouldn’t be used when baking [1] as freezing changes the consistency of the butter and it can become grainy and lose some of its water. If that’s the case, you can use powdered butter instead.

When Butter Goes Bad

Unsalted Butter - It also goes bad

(credit:75001512@N00)

There are different ways to protect your butter. Wrapping it in foil away from strong odors on the top shelf of your fridge is a good first step towards preserving the shelf life of your butter. Foil prevents exposure to those elements which can cause the butter to oxidize and become stale – light and oxygen. You can tell that your butter has been oxidized by cutting a slice through the butter pat. If the inside of your butter is lighter than the outside, then the product has been damaged by oxidation.

Summary
Butter can go bad but, but fortunately for us, its shelf life can be elongated by very simple preparations within the home. If you must use butter at room temperature it is easy enough to cut the size of piece you are going to use and protect the rest from going bad by making sure it is securely wrapped in foil and leaving it in the fridge. If you’re using butter only every now and then, you might consider replacing it with powdered butter.

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