Past sell-by date butter?
Posted: 03 August 2008 01:04 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve just realized that I have several large packages of butter in my garage fridge that are a couple of weeks past the sell-by date. They’re the multi-packs from Costco that contain three one-pound boxes. I’ve never thought of butter like I do other dairy products as far as strictly adhering to expiration dates, but I’m unsure as to how long I can let it go and still use it. And can I freeze it with no change to the quality/consistency, etc.? Usually I go through unsalted butter so fast that it’s never an issue. Worst case, I can make some things that use a lot of butter and freeze them. But it seems to me like it should still be good regardless for at least a month or more past the date. Any insight would be appreciated!

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Posted: 03 August 2008 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I freeze butter all the time - I buy it in bulk from Costco, freeze it immediately, and stock my refrigerator with just enough to last me a week or two.  If memory serves me correctly, Rose freezes her for up to a year. 

As for the expiration date issue - salt acts as a preservative, so salted butter will last longer in the refrigerator than unsalted butter, which is reflected in the respective expiration dates.  I wish I could tell you how long beyond the expiration date your refrigerated butter can be used.  I guess that depends on how cold your refrigerator is - your nose should let you know if the butter has gone rancid.

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Posted: 03 August 2008 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Great. I’m going to go put it in the freezer right now. Thanks so much!

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Posted: 04 August 2008 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Make sure you wrap the butter well before freezing it as butter absorbs odours easily. I freeze my butter all the time but I always vacuum seal each one.

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Posted: 04 August 2008 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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agreed, make them airtight, so butter won’t absorb odors.  I freeze my butter right away, and keep NOTHING in my refrigerator.  I use butter straight from the freezer.  To thaw, cut your frozen butter with a cleaver and let sit at room temperature in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.  Preferably a clear glass bowl, much faster than on a stainless steel or plastic bowl.

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Posted: 04 August 2008 09:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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i have a granite countertop and i’ve noticed that butter thaws very quickly when in contact. has anyone else noted this?

jen

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Posted: 05 August 2008 02:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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  Likewise I buy bulk butter at sam’s and never even notice expiration dates unless it is not properly stored.  I use a vacume sealer for most everything and things keep for at least a year except bacon or other cured meats which goes through a profound texture change if frozen more than a few weeks.  I bake all our bread in a simple conventional electric oven then freeze all but one loaf the rest lasts against freezer dry out for a month or so.

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Posted: 07 August 2008 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jen68 - My granite counters are on the cold side so I don’t they thaw butter any faster.  For quick thawing, I cut the butter into “pats” and spread them out on a dinner plate (2 sticks per plate), and I then place the plate directly under my under-cabinet halogen lights…. softens it right up!  Works for softening cream cheese too, but you have to keep the cream cheese covered because it dries out very quickly.  I’d like to add that I always unwrap my butter sticks when they are cold or frozen - too messy if I wait until the butter has softened.

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