Unless you're a compulsive baker or a glutton with some seriously decadent eating habits, you've probably found yourself with a few sticks of leftover butter that you know you won't need for a while, possibly for months. You want to make sure it will still be edible the next time you decide to use it. but you might not be sure exactly how. Should you freeze it. or should you just stick it in the back of the fridge and hope for the best? Can you leave it on the countertop, wrapped in a flimsy paper towel? and expect to enjoy flavorful. fresh-tasting butter weeks from now? (I'll just say it now: no. no, you can't) These are important questions, and luckily for you, I happen to have the answers.
Classifying Your Butter
There are all kinds of butter out there: sweet cream, sour cream, ripened, unripened. cold storage. fresh. But when it comes to butter preservation, there are only two words you need to think about: pasteurized (vs. unpasteurized) and salted (vs. unsalted). In general, most of the butter you buy from a grocery store will be pasteurized, which is great news for anyone interested in storing their butter for a long period of time. Pasteurization kills the lion's share of the bacteria that live in dairy, meaning that even unrefrigerated butter can remain edible for over a week with the right butter keeper.
How To Store Your Butter
If you have a few sticks of butter on hand and no plans to use them anytime soon, your best bet is to refrigerate them in an airtight butter dish like this attractive dish with an airtight beechwood lid made by Sweese. Airtight butter dishes are designed to protect the flavor of your butter from all the other food odors that are probably wafting around in your fridge, and by sealing it off from outside air and light you're also preventing bacteria from gaining a foothold and rendering your precious butter unfit for consumption. In the best-case scenario, refrigerated butter should be good for approximately three months after purchase, or up until the expiration date printed on your butter's packaging. If you need to store it for more than three months. freezing it can keep it good for about a year if it's salted, or for around six months if it's unsalted.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that butter tastes better at or above room temperature, but if you want to store your butter on the countertop you'll need to be careful. A proper butter keeper. such as the Sweese Turcauoise Porcelain Butter Keeper is essential; it will protect your butter from air and light, and the Sweese Butter Keeper allows you to fill the crock with hot water before inserting the keeper, so you'll be able to enjoy your butter warm even when it's straight from the fridge.
How Long Can Butter Be Stored At Room Temperature?
Even pasteurized salted butter stored in Sweese's butter dishes will only keep its fresh taste for about two days, so if you want the benefits of warm butter without the hassle and mess of fiddling with a microwave it's best to cut off a two-day supply for your room-temperature container while keeping the rest of your butter sealed away in the fridge. If it's unsalted, adding a little salt or vinegar can help it maintain its freshness at room temperature, but once it's been out of the fridge for more than ten days you should avoid consuming it under any circumstance (which isn't difficult. since it usually won't taste very good by then).
Unpasteurized butter should never go unrefrigerated for extended periods of time, though it's safe to use Sweese's Porcelaine Butter Keeper to warm your unpasteurized butter as long as you consume it promptly.
A Better Butter Life
Butter is one of the unsung heroes of the culinary world, capable of elevating even a humble piece of toast to the heights of gastronomical glory. With the right knowledge, and with butter dishes and accessories made by companies like Sweese. you can be confident that every stick of butter you buy will be enjoyed to its full potential whenever you decide to include butter in one of your delicious home-cooked meals.