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How to Store Butter and Margarine

how to store butter

Butter and margarine are solid fats that should be stored in a fridge. But except from keeping them from melting, why should they be kept there? Have you ever really asked yourself how to store butter and margarine to get the most out of them?

Here are some questions that you may or may not have asked yourself before about how to store butter and margarine:

  • Should butter and margarine be stored in the fridge?
  • Where in the fridge should they be stored?
  • How long do they last?
  • Can they be frozen?
  • Can they go off?

First, a little information about the differences between butter and margarine.

Butter is made from churning milk or cream and is made of a cow’s, sheep’s, goat’s, yak’s, or buffalo’s milk. It’s about 80% fat, 3% milk solids and 17% water.

Margarine is usually made from vegetable oil. Fat from skimmed milk is sometimes added but usually no dairy products are added.

But whilst they are both a little different storing butter and margarine is very similar.

Where Do You Store Butter and Margarine?

Both butter and margarine should be stored in a refrigerator at 40℉ (4℃) or below. By storing butter and margarine here you stop them from being exposed to light and high temperatures which can make them become spoiled and rancid.

You should keep them in their original containers or packaging, but should consider putting them in an airtight container as air is another contributor to making them go bad.

TIP: Instead of throwing away butter wrappers, use them to grease baking tins and pans with minimum mess.

When storing butter and margarine, the best place to put them on the upper refrigerator shelves.

TIP: To make soft butter solid quicker, place it in a container, which should then be placed in a bigger container filled with cold water or ice and water.

TIP: To melt butter quicker, take a piece of glass and make it hot by pouring some hot water over it and let it rest for a minute or two. After draining away the water, put the butter you want to melt on a plate, and then put the heated glass on top of it.

How Long Do They Last?

When unopened, butter lasts for 1-2 months in the refrigerator. You should use it within 2 weeks.

Margarine may be kept for 3-4 months when unopened and 1-2 months when opened.

Can You Freeze Butter and Margarine?

Absolutely! What’s more is you can freeze butter and margarine before or after opening them.

Butter will last 6-9 months when frozen, whilst margarine will keep 6-8 months.

How Do I Know If Butter and Margarine Has Gone Bad?

To check if butter or margarine have gone bad, it’s best to smell and look at it. When butter or margarine has a sour smell and taste it has become bad. Other signs of expired butter or margarine are discoloration and mold.

However, it is worth noting that even after the expected expiry date, if there are no signs of butter or margarine having gone bad, it is still safe and good to use!

How to Store Butter and Margarine Like a Pro

Now you know all the best ways on how to store butter and margarine. The most important things to remember are:

  • Keep them in the fridge in 40℉ (4℃) or below on the upper or middle shelf
  • Butter lasts 1-2 months unopened and stored in the fridge, and should be consumed within 2 weeks of opening
  • Margarine lasts 3-4 months unopened, should be stored in the fridge, and consumed within 2 months of opening
  • Butter and margarine can be frozen: up to 6-9 months for butter and 6-8 months for margarine
  • Butter and margarine have gone bad when they have sour smell and taste, have mold, or are discolored
  • After the expected expiration date, if they don’t show signs of having gone bad, it’s safe to eat them

Storing butter and margarine in the best way possible will help it last for longer and help you to get the most out of it.

For more information on storing food, see our other “How to Store” guides.

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