Does Butter Have to Go in The Fridge? Easily Explained

Pros and cons: Why butter needs to be in the fridge

Butter seems complicated when it comes to temperatures. Sometimes it’s too hard to brush when it comes straight out of the fridge. Sometimes it melts when the thermometer rises above 25 degrees. The climate window in which butter has optimal serving and processing properties is correspondingly small.

  • Butter is about 80 percent fat and about 20 percent water. Butter is therefore generally well protected against microbial infestation (bacteria and mold).
  • This natural protection against microorganisms is an argument that, according to the American dairy specialist John Bruhn (em. University of California at Davis), for example, speaks for the fact that butter can also be stored outside of the refrigerator.
  • On the other hand, fats are known to be sensitive to oxidation. When fats react with oxygen, free fatty acids and so-called free radicals are formed, which in turn lead to peroxides and similar chemical compounds. Translated, this means: The butter can become rancid, which can be noticed, for example, by a sour, pungent off-taste.
  • The higher the temperature, the faster these chemical processes take place. This is why butter stays fresh longer when refrigerated. The Bavarian consumer advice center states weeks to months as a shelf life for butter in the refrigerator and only a few days for storage at room temperature.

How butter can be stored well

So that butter can be used for a long time, it should be cooled. Depending on your purpose, you can store the spread fat as follows:

  • If you choose to store it in the refrigerator, it is best to place the piece of butter in a butter dish after unpacking it, the lid of which is as opaque as possible. In this way, you protect the fat from foreign odors and from light, which attacks the fats in their chemical structure.
  • Choose a storage spot in the refrigerator that is warmest. Experience has shown that this should be the case in the upper third of the door. There is usually a storage compartment provided for butter by refrigerator manufacturers. This way the butter is not too cool and is easier to spread on the table.
  • If you intend to store butter for months past the expiration date printed on it, because you’ve bought too much, you can cut it up into small pieces, wrap them in foil, place them in a freezer jar and store them in the freezer. Here the butter keeps for several months and you can always take as much as you need.
  • The so-called French butter dish is a very practical way of cooling the butter, which does not allow it to get too cold so that it is easy to spread, but retains its values ​​and protects it from oxidation. The ceramic mold is saturated with water. This creates a small cool climate zone under the hood, which protects the butter perfectly.

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