Can Butter Go Bad If Not Refrigerated? Find out!
Butter is a very popular spread and the most used ingredient in baking. When stored in the refrigerator, it turns hard. In order to be able to use it, you need to melt or soften it. This is why some people keep butter on the counter instead of the fridge.
But can butter go bad if not refrigerated? Let us find out!
Butter is high in fat
Butter is made by churning milk or milk cream till it separates out into buttermilk (the liquid) and butterfat (the solid).
Butter is a unique dairy product due to the amount of fat it contains. Whole milk has just more than 3% fat and heavy milk cream has 40% fat, whereas butter contains more than 80 percent fat. The rest is just water.
Butter does not have too much of carbs or protein. It is the presence of high fat that makes butter so thick and easy to spread. As already mentioned above, keeping it in the refrigerator makes it become hard and difficult to spread so some people store it at room temperature so that they can use it for cooking and spreading.
As butter is high in fat and low in water content, there are lesser chances of bacterial growth when compared to other types of dairy products. This holds true if the butter is salted that lowers the water content of the butter even more. This makes the environment unsuitable for bacteria.
Regular salted butter has lower chances of bacterial contamination when kept at room temperature.
Don’t let the butter go rancid
The risk of bacterial growth in butter may be low but the high fat content in it makes it more vulnerable to go rancid. You can tell when a fat spoils. It can no longer be eaten as it smells bad and gets discoloured.
Fats turn rancid or spoil by a process called oxidation that alters the molecular structure of the fat. Light, heat and oxygen exposure can speed up the process.
Butter stays fresh in the fridge
Unsalted butter, whipped butter or raw, unpasteurized butter should be stored in a refrigerator to reduce the chances of bacterial growth.
Talking about salted butter, it is known to have a shelf life of many months when stored at room temperature. But it will stay fresh longer when it is stored in the fridge. Refrigeration helps in slowing down the process of oxidation (the process that makes the butter go rancid).
It is recommended that you don’t leave the butter outside for more than a few days or weeks. Also, if the temperature at home is more than 21–25°C, it is better to keep it in the fridge! In India, I guess storing the butter in the fridge is the best option as in summers the mercury rises to more than 40 degree Celsius. So, winters are the only time you can think of storing butter on your kitchen counter.
Tips to store butter at room temperature:
- Keep only a little amount of butter on the counter and store the remaining in the fridge or freezer for later use
- Store the butter in an airtight container, which is opaque
- Keep away from direct sunlight and the stove
Hope this post “Can Butter Go Bad If Not Refrigerated?” has been useful!
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