Can Butter Spoil In The Refrigerator?

With the cost of so many grocery items rising, it's tempting to stock up when you find a good deal, such as on sticks of butter. But if you find yourself with drawers full of butter, do you need to worry about them spoiling before you make cookies, cakes, or garlic butter? First off, if you do find yourself with extra butter, you may want to consider keeping it in the freezer, according to Eating Well, because it can still be used the same way as butter that was never frozen. Simply put the butter in its original wrapping in a sealable bag and put it in the freezer. Or cut the sticks or blocks of butter into smaller pieces, wrap them, and place them in a sealable bag for storage. 

If you're confident you'll be using the butter soon, then go ahead and store it in the refrigerator for quick use. For the butter that is kept in the refrigerator, MasterClass advises that it's best to keep it in the original packaging or in a butter crock. If the butter's original packaging has been opened, then it should be stored in an airtight container or sealable bags. Never store it in aluminum foil, per MasterClass, because it increases the fat oxidation process and makes the butter go rancid.

Nothing lasts forever

Keeping butter in the refrigerator is a good idea for keeping it usable for an extended period of time. You still need to be cognizant that if the butter doesn't get put in mashed potatoes or spread on toast soon, it will still eventually go bad. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, butter can be kept in the refrigerator for one to two months from when it was purchased. Pasturization also helps keep the butter in stores fresher for longer, explains Martha Stewart. The pasteurization process fights bacteria, which in the case of butter, helps it to stay edible longer. By keeping butter away from heat, light, and oxygen, it will last longer, according to Reader's Digest, which adds that salted butter also lasts for a greater period of time than the unsalted variety. Working as a preservative, salt can help to extend the life of the dairy product.

The best-by date on a package of butter refers to how long it will stay good in the refrigerator, as opposed to being kept at room temperature on the counter or in the freezer (via MasterClass). Should the sticks of butter in the fridge start to discolor or get a bad smell, don't use them because they might be rancid. Still in doubt whether the butter is edible? Taste a small piece of it, and your taste buds will tell you what you need to know, per Reader's Digest.