Unsalted butter is a staple ingredient in many kitchens, used for cooking, baking, and spreading on toast.
But sometimes we buy a large batch and it can sit in the fridge for a while.
So, how long can we keep it around? Does unsalted butter go bad?
Unsalted butter can last up to four months in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer when stored properly. Always check the expiration date on the package before using it. If the butter develops an off odor, mold, or a rancid taste, it’s best to discard it.
In this article, we’ll cover the factors that affect the shelf life of unsalted butter and how to store it properly to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
We’ll also provide some useful tips for using leftover butter and how to tell if it’s gone bad.
So, let’s get started on your journey to enjoying the perfect slice of buttered toast!
What is Unsalted Butter?
Unsalted butter is made from fresh cream that has been separated from the milk and then churned until it reaches a solid state. It is a staple in many baked goods, used to add flavor, moisture, and texture.
Unsalted butter does not contain any added salt, making it a great choice for those watching their sodium intake or for use in recipes that require precise measurements of salt.
There are many brands of unsalted butter available in grocery stores, including organic and grass-fed options.
How Long Does Unsalted Butter Last?
The shelf life of unsalted butter depends on several factors, including the quality of the butter, the storage conditions, and whether or not it has been opened.
If you purchase unsalted butter, always check the expiration date on the package before using it. Most unsalted butter has a shelf life of several months to a year, depending on the brand.
Once opened, unsalted butter can last up to four months in the refrigerator. However, this can vary depending on the quality of the butter, so it’s best to check the expiration date on the package and use it accordingly.
If you want to keep unsalted butter for longer, you can freeze it. Frozen butter can last up to six months. Be sure to label the container with the date it was frozen so you can keep track of how long it’s been stored.
How to Store Unsalted Butter
Proper storage is key to keeping unsalted butter fresh. Follow these tips to keep your butter delicious for as long as possible:
- Keep it in the original packaging: Butter is sensitive to light, which can cause it to spoil more quickly. Keeping it in the original packaging will help protect it from light exposure.
- Store in the refrigerator: Unsalted butter should be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Keep it in the coldest part of the fridge, such as the butter compartment in the door or the back of the fridge.
- Freeze it for longer storage: If you’re not planning on using the butter right away, freeze it in small portions for later use. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
- Don’t store it near strong flavors: Butter can absorb strong flavors and odors, so it’s best to keep it away from foods with strong smells, such as garlic or onions.
- Use a butter bell: A butter bell is a ceramic or glass container that holds a stick of butter upside down in a small amount of water. This keeps the butter fresh for longer and makes it easy to spread.
How to Tell if Unsalted Butter Has Gone Bad
It’s important to check your unsalted butter before using it to ensure it hasn’t gone bad. Here are some signs to look for:
- Off odor: If the butter smells sour, rancid, or unusual in any way, it’s best to discard it. The smell could be an indication that harmful bacteria have started to grow.
- Mold: If you see any mold on the butter, it’s definitely time to throw it out. Mold can cause food poisoning and other health problems.
- Appearance: If the butter has started to turn an unusual color or has developed a sharp or bitter taste, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it.
Tips for Using Leftover Unsalted Butter
If you find yourself with leftover unsalted butter, here are some useful tips for using it up:
- Make flavored butters: Mix unsalted butter with your favorite herbs or spices to create a flavorful spread for bread or vegetables.
- Use it in baking: Unsalted butter is a staple ingredient in many baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, and pies.
- Make a compound butter: Mix unsalted butter with other ingredients, such as garlic or cheese, to create a spread that’s perfect for grilled meats or vegetables.
- Use it for frying: Unsalted butter is great for pan-frying or sautéing, thanks to its high smoke point and rich flavor.
In conclusion, unsalted butter can last up to four months in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer when stored properly. Always be sure to check the expiration date on the package before using it.
Proper storage is key to keeping unsalted butter fresh. Keep it in the original packaging, store it in the refrigerator, and freeze it for longer storage. Don’t store it near strong flavors and try using a butter bell to keep it fresh for longer.
If your unsalted butter has gone bad, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it. Off odors, molds, and unusual colors or tastes are all signs that the butter has gone bad.
With these tips, you can enjoy the perfect buttery toast or baked goods without having to worry about whether your unsalted butter has gone bad. Happy cooking!
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.