Butter is one thing that is commonly found in the fridge in many households. It is known for its versatility as it can be used in more ways than one. However, there will come a time wherein it will spoil, and at such point, its taste and texture will no longer be the same. At such an instance, it is best to simply throw it away.
In the rest of this post, I will provide you with practical insights on how to tell if butter is bad. We will take a look at some of the most obvious signs indicating that it is no longer safe to eat or use butter that has been sitting for a while. More importantly, I will also give you some useful tips on how to store butter correctly and keep it fresh for a long time.
What is Butter Used For
To start with, let us first discuss the common applications of butter. As they say, butter makes almost anything better. It should never be confused with margarine. Also, it should be used in moderation, especially if you are conscious about your health.
Butter can be used in more ways than one. For instance, it is popular for making gravy and other types of sauces. It can also be used as a spread for your toast, waffles, or pancakes. Many people who bake at home will also find butter to be handy.
Beyond its culinary applications, however, butter has other uses. For instance, it can be used to cover cheese to make it fresh longer. You can also use it for eliminating watermarks in wood, untangling jewelry, removing ink from plastic, and silencing a creaky door, among others.
Do you know that you can make home-made butter? Below is a short video that shows how you can do it.
What is the Shelf Life of Butter
Before we discuss how to tell if butter is bad, let us first have a look at its shelf life. Obviously, the easiest way to tell if the butter has already gone bad is to simply look at the date on its packaging. Do not eat it beyond such.
The shelf life of butter will be affected by a number of things, such as the type of the butter that you have and the way it is stored. For instance, unsalted butter has a shelf life of 3 months while salted butter will last for 5 months.
Meanwhile, based on the information released by the USDA, if you keep butter in the refrigerator, whether it is opened or not, it will be good for up to three months. If you want it to last longer, on the other hand, freezing is the best solution. With this, its shelf life can be extended to up to one year.
How to Tell If Butter is Bad
Now, let us go to the most important part of this article. The easiest way to tell if butter has gone bad is to look at its packaging. The manufacturer will indicate a best before or expiration date, which will specify until when it can be consumed. Once this date has lapsed, do not attempt to use the butter.
Visual inspection is another effective way to tell if butter is bad. First, slice a small portion of the butter using a clean knife. Look at its color. The butter is fresh if the color is the same from the inside to the outside. On the other hand, if the inside looks brighter, this is a sign of oxidation. Air has penetrated and your butter is no longer fresh.
You also have to pay attention to the packaging of the butter. If it seems distorted or wet, this can affect the freshness of the butter. If it has already darkened, this means that butter has been stored for too long. Pay attention as well to the possible appearance of mold.
Smelling the butter is another thing that you can do. It will smell rancid or foul when it has already spoiled. You can also consider tasting a small portion of the butter. Do not be afraid. You won’t die with just a small bite of butter that has gone bad. If it is sour or if tastes off, throw the entire butter away.
How to Keep Butter Properly
To retain the optimal flavor and freshness of butter, it is important that it is stored properly. As much as possible, do not open the butter or take it out from the packaging unless you are ready to use it. You might also want to consider buying smaller portions so that it won’t go to waste.
Do not leave the butter at room temperature. If it stays in the countertop for a long time, especially during a hot day, it will end up melting. Keep it in a clean container with an airtight seal. The fridge is the best place to keep it. If you want the shelf life to be longer, on the other hand, you can consider having the butter frozen.
If you opt to freeze your butter, you have several options to thaw it before using, depending on what the recipe calls for. If there is a need for melted butter, you can have it melted in the microwave or stove. On the other hand, if you need the butter to be soft but not melted, microwave it but only for a short time. Ten seconds will be enough.
Now that you have reached the end of this post, I hope that you were able to learn from the discussions above on how to tell if butter is bad. In a nutshell, here are some of the things that have been earlier mentioned.
- Butter is a staple in the kitchen because it can be used in more ways than one. From cooking to baking, even in many DIY household tasks, it can come handy.
- Butter can last from one month to one year, depending on the way it is kept. Freezing is recommended if you want to extend its shelf life.
- To tell if butter is no longer fresh, pay attention to its color. If the outside is lighter, this is an indication that butter has already oxidized. The condition of the packaging, as well as taste and smell of the butter should also be checked.