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How Long Does Peanut Butter Last? Can It Go Bad?

Who doesn’t love a hearty peanut butter sandwich? All of us do! But do we know how long we are supposed to keep a jar of peanut butter in the pantry?

How long does peanut butter last and does it go bad? Peanut butter has a long shelf life, especially if it contains preservatives and stabilizers. Unopened peanut butter will last around a year past its ‘Best by’ date. Once opened and stored in the fridge, this nut butter has a shelf life of up to 6 months after its ‘Best by’ date.

Continue reading to learn all about the storage conditions of peanut butter and how to extend the shelf life of this product if you are someone that doesn’t go through peanut butter jars quickly.

Does Peanut Butter Go Bad?

Some people indulge in peanut butter often. Thus, they don’t have to worry about it going bad as they finish a jar after jar. For others, however, peanut butter is simply a source of fat that they enjoy tablespoon by tablespoon. In such cases, one may start thinking about the shelf life of this well-loved product.

Does peanut butter go bad? Peanut butter can go bad as a result of contamination. If you store it right, a jar of peanut butter will have a quite long shelf life. Just enough for you to finish it and buy a new one.

If your peanut butter is stored properly, it may not necessarily go bad. But keep in mind that like any other food item, it will gradually lose its best quality and the flavor will deteriorate to the point where you will need to discard the jar.

So, if you store your peanut butter right, following the advice we are about to give you, you will enjoy a good-tasting nut butter for months.

How to Store Peanut Butter?

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No matter where you store your peanut butter, the primary rule you should follow is always keeping the lid of the jar tightly sealed.

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As you know, peanut butter is high in fat. Thus, it is high in oils. This means that if you expose your nut butter to air, it will start to lose its flavor, and quality in general, very quickly. This is exactly how peanut butter turns rancid.

If your peanut butter is unopened, you can keep it in the pantry or anywhere in your kitchen where it is dark and cool.

An opened jar of peanut butter can also be stored at room temperature but only if you know you will be using it often. If you are not sure that you will finish the jar within a few months, you should start thinking about storing your peanut butter in the fridge.

Opened peanut butter will gradually undergo flavor changes whether you keep it in the pantry or in the fridge. However, it is recommended to store opened peanut butter in the fridge to slow down the process of deterioration.

With this being said, there is a reason why many people avoid storing peanut butter in the fridge. Affected by the cold temperature, it becomes firm and less spreadable.

Can You Freeze Peanut Butter?

Technically, you can freeze peanut butter. However, there is no point in doing that as the freezer won’t extend the shelf life of peanut butter any further.

If you store opened peanut butter in the freezer, it will have a shelf life of around 6 to 9 months.

Freezing peanut butter is a good option only for those who have multiple opened jars of peanut butter and no room in the fridge.

How Long Does Peanut Butter Last?

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The shelf life of peanut butter depends on a few things. Firstly, if it is unopened, peanut butter will last even a year past the date indicated on the packaging.

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Secondly, the shelf life of peanut butter depends on how much preservatives it is made with. The more preservatives it contains, the longer it will maintain its best quality. On the one hand, this is good. On the other hand, not everyone wants added ingredients in their peanut butter. Thus, you can choose between peanut butter that is more natural but will last shorter and nut butter that will keep well longer but contains additives.

Last but not least, your storage conditions decide a lot. If you keep your peanut butter somewhere cool and dark, you will make its shelf life longer.

It is important to know that the expiration date on the packaging doesn’t decide it all. Given that you have stored the butter properly it is likely to still be good even after the date on the packaging.

Unopened peanut butter will last up to a year after the ‘Best by’ date indicated on the packaging. You don’t need to refrigerate unopened peanut butter to make it keep for longer.

Opened peanut butter will last up to 6 months longer than its “Best by’ date if stored in the fridge. If you have been keeping opened peanut butter at room temperature it is best to consume it until the date on the packaging.

Signs that Peanut Butter Has Gone Bad

There are many signs that will tell you that it is time to get rid of that jar of peanut butter.

  • Appearance. If the peanut butter has hardened and lost all its moisture content, it is most likely past its expiration date. Some people think that if peanut butter has separated, then it has gone bad. This is not true especially in the case of ‘natural’ peanut butters that don’t contain stabilizers. As the oil content in peanut butter is very high, oil separation is only natural. So long as your peanut butter has been stored in proper conditions, a small amount of separated oils is okay. Give your peanut butter a good stir and if it tastes and smells good, then it is good to eat.

If there is mold in your jar of peanut butter, discard it right away.

Expired peanut butter can also be darker in color. So, pay attention to the color as well.

  • Taste. The taste of peanut butter changes over time, especially if it has been exposed to oxygen. This doesn’t mean that it is bad. If it tastes good to you and there are no other signs indicating that your peanut butter is bad, you can go ahead and make your favorite sandwich with it.
  • Smell. The smell can be the biggest indicator of whether your peanut butter is still good or not. Give it a sniff test. If the smell of the butter is very different from what it smelled like initially, then your peanut butter has gone bad.

What Happens If You Eat Expired Peanut Butter?

So long as peanut butter is not contaminated with bacteria, there is little chance that it will make you sick. The preservatives in store-bought peanut butter don’t really allow it to go bad and cause major problems. The issue of eating expired peanut butter can be serious if it is homemade, i.e. lacking any preservatives.

In any case, if you notice altered smell, texture, flavor, and mold in your peanut butter, don’t risk it. Discard it and think of something else to spread on your bread.

Related Questions

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How Long Does Homemade Peanut Butter Last?

If you own a powerful food processor, making peanut butter is easy as pie. This is also a healthier alternative to store-bought peanut butter as most brands use added ingredients and preservatives.

But the downside of homemade nut butter is that its shelf life is not as long.

Homemade peanut butter lasts around 2 to 3 months. And it should always be refrigerated. Once you notice a rancid smell in your homemade peanut butter, discard it.

The shelf life of homemade peanut butter may differ depending on the recipe. Thus, it is always good to look for answers in the particular recipe you are following.

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