Peanut butter is a very popular spread made from ground dry roasted peanuts. It is interesting to learn that peanut butter is not just for school lunches, as its versatility is surprisingly good for one’s health. However, proper caution should be observed, as at least 1% of the world’s entire population is highly allergic to peanuts.
If you have a jar in your kitchen cabinet and you are wondering how long does peanut butter last, read this post. I will be discussing some of the important things you have to know about peanut butter’s shelf life, proper storage and some of the signs to look out for to determine if the peanut butter you have has already gone bad.
How Long Does Peanut Butter Last?
Before we discuss the shelf life of peanut butter, you should be aware that peanut butter could be categorized into natural, smooth, and crunchy. It should also be noted that these three types differ in shelf lives, whether it is opened or unopened, and where you store it: pantry or refrigerator.
All peanut butter jars have “best before” dates on their packaging. This date is just the manufacturer’s information that the peanut butter should be in its best quality when consumed in that period of time. It does not necessarily mean that the peanut butter will go rancid or will taste awful after the specified date.
Unopened smooth peanut butter should last in the pantry or in the refrigerator at least 1 year after the best before date. Crunchy peanut butter will last in the pantry or in the refrigerator for 1 year after the best before date. Natural peanut butter, however, will last for 2 to 3 months in the pantry and 3 to 6 months in the refrigerator.
Opened peanut butter can last for 3 to 6 months while natural peanut butter will last for 5 to 6 months inside the refrigerator. Smooth peanut butter will last in the pantry for 3 to 4 months and 6 to 8 months inside the refrigerator. Lastly, crunchy peanut butter will last in the pantry for 3 to 4 months and 6 to 8 months inside the refrigerator.
This is the reason why proper peanut butter storage is vital to prolonging its shelf life after the best before date. As we all know, food items last for a shorter period if time if not properly stored. You do not have to worry about consuming peanut butter past its best before date if you have it stored properly, which will be discussed in later sections.
If you have a jar of unopened peanut butter in your kitchen cabinet or refrigerator, make sure you use them before it goes bad. Here’s a video showing a very delicious recipe using peanut butter:
How Do You Properly Store Peanut Butter?
Fortunately enough, storing peanut butter properly is an easy task because doing so is very important. The first thing you have to keep in mind is that the peanut butter jar should always be closed with its lid when you are not using it. Peanut butter contains a lot of fat and oils that exposure to oxygen may alter its taste.
The process of the oxygen degrading the fat’s structure that results in alteration of the flavor and smell of the peanut butter is referred to as rancidification. With this, it can be assumed that the longer the peanut butter is exposed to oxygen, the poorer its flavor will become.
When it comes to homemade peanut butter, you should always remember to keep it in the refrigerator, especially if you did not use any stabilizers. However, if the one you have is commercially manufactured, you have to keep it in a dark and cool place, such as the pantry or kitchen cabinet. After a few months of storing, you may transfer it inside the refrigerator.
Homemade peanut butter jars can also be stored at room temperature but it should be noted that it may lose its flavor and oil separation may progress a little faster. For the peanut butter to spread quickly and easily over your bread, you may prefer to conveniently store it in the pantry or the kitchen cabinet.
How Do You Tell If The Peanut Butter Is Already Bad?
There are a lot of easy ways on how to tell if the peanut butter has gone rancid and I am going to discuss it in this section. Fungi and bacteria do not have much place to grow and live in peanut butter because it contains a lot of fat and a minimal amount of water. Therefore, oxygen will be the biggest factor that can alter the peanut butter’s flavor.
You have to keep in mind that when peanut butter is stored for a long period of time, oil will eventually separate, and you will notice it on top of the container’s contents. This is normal and you can just stir the contents and the peanut butter will appear to be in its original state once again.
However, if you notice that the peanut butter gives off an odd or strange odor, its flavor may have been altered drastically. In addition, if you see something wrong with its appearance, besides the separation of oil, you have to throw it away. If you are still not convinced, a little taste test will determine if the peanut butter has gone bad.
So, how long does peanut butter last? According to the discussions above, peanut butter may last up to a year after its best before date, as long as it is stored properly. To summarize, here are some of the important points discussed above:
- The shelf life of peanut butter is dependent on its type, if it’s unopened or opened, and where you store it. It should be noted that natural peanut butter’s shelf life is a lot shorter than smooth and crunchy peanut butter.
- Peanut butter jars should always be closed with its lid. In addition, it should be kept in a cool and dark place.
- If the peanut butter smells strange, if its appearance is odd, or tastes different, you have to discard it.