Everyday Meals

Double the shelf life of peanut butter with quick tip – and avoid ‘sharp’ scent

Peanut butter may have a long shelf life just like many other spreads but the nutty mixture can quickly turn sour if stored incorrectly.

While the variations of this creamy product all share the same signature flavour, some are more prone to “going off” than others.

No matter whether it’s used for topping toast or mixing it into hot porridge, food experts have shared the ideal place to keep the jar for the best flavour.

And they explained that following it could extend the freshness by as long as three months.

Dr Lisa Young, author of “Finally Full, Finally Slim” said: “Thanks to stabilisers, such as palm oil, that are found in processed versions of peanut butter, the product has a long shelf life; this means you do not need to refrigerate it.”

In fact, unlike other products such as jams or creamy sauces, the nutty mixture will remain safe to eat for as long as two or three months even after being opened.

While there is “no need” to store jars of the stuff in the fridge to achieve this long shelf life, the food expert noted that households can enjoy it for double the length of time with some clever thinking.

She said: “To extend their shelf life past that time, it’s okay to store in the fridge and it may last another three months or so.”

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Though this is a perfectly safe way to enjoy processed peanut butter products, which tend to be cheaper too, raw versions require a different treatment.

Lisa warned that “natural varieties” tend to include just two ingredients – peanuts and maybe some salt, which means they are more prone to bacteria.

Without the preservatives and stabilisers, she explained that the nutty mixture “can go rancid quickly” when stored at room temperature, and will often give off an “unpleasant smell”.

Of course, visible mould is another telltale sign the product has gone off, but the lesser-known indicator is the “sharp” scent contained in the hardened butter.

For this reason, the nutrition professor and author recommended moving jars of raw butter to the fridge as soon as they are opened.

She added: “Do keep in mind that when you refrigerate natural peanut butter, the problem is it gets harder than it would at room temperature.

“Some people like to put a serving in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it. Also, when you don’t refrigerate natural peanut butter, oil separation can occur, requiring you to mix it well upon using.”

Peanut butter lovers should be reassured that the flavour “does not change” when refrigerated, only the texture.

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