The decision on whether to store peanut butter in the fridge or the pantry often depends on personal preference and the type of peanut butter. While storing peanut butter in the fridge can extend its shelf life and prevent oil separation, it can make the spread hard and difficult to use. This article explores the factors that might influence your decision.
What’s Inside Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is made of peanuts, and depending on the brand and type, it may contain additional ingredients like salt, sugar, or oils. These ingredients influence how you should store peanut butter.
Natural Peanut Butter
Natural peanut butter often has a layer of oil at the top. If you keep this type of peanut butter in the fridge, it helps keep the oil from separating. However, you may find it hard to spread, as it tends to become firmer when cold.
Commercial Peanut Butter
Commercial peanut butter usually contains stabilizers that prevent the oil from separating. So, if you store this in the pantry, it’s typically fine, and it spreads easily.
Benefits of Storing in the Fridge
Longer Shelf Life
When you store peanut butter in the fridge, it can last longer. The cool temperature slows down the oxidation process, which helps prevent spoilage.
Prevents Oil Separation
If you don’t like the oil separation in natural peanut butter, keeping it in the fridge will keep the oil and solids together, giving it a consistent texture.
Downsides of Storing in the Fridge
Hard to Spread
Cold peanut butter can be difficult to spread on bread or crackers, especially if it’s natural peanut butter without stabilizers.
Loss of Flavor
Some people believe that refrigeration causes peanut butter to lose some of its flavor, making it less enjoyable to eat.
Storage Recommendations from The National Peanut Board
Guidance from reputable organizations can help guide our choices, and The National Peanut Board is an authority on peanuts. They provide clear recommendations for peanut butter storage that are worth noting. An open jar of peanut butter can remain fresh for up to three months when stored in the pantry. After this period, it becomes wise to move the peanut butter to the fridge. In the cooler environment of the refrigerator, the peanut butter can maintain its quality for an additional 3-4 months.
Alternatives and Considerations
Storing in the Pantry
If you consume peanut butter regularly and quickly, storing it in the pantry might be more convenient for you. Ensure that the container is tightly sealed to maintain freshness.
Mixing Before Use
For natural peanut butter that has oil separation, you can mix it thoroughly before placing it in the fridge. This makes it easier to spread even when chilled.
Consider the Expiration Date
Always check the expiration date and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on storage. This will ensure that you enjoy the product at its best.
Whether you should keep peanut butter in the fridge or the pantry depends on your preferences and the type of peanut butter. If you prefer a more solid texture and longer shelf life, the fridge might be the best place. On the other hand, if you want it to be easily spreadable and enjoy its rich flavor, the pantry could be a better choice. Always take into consideration the type of peanut butter and your eating habits to make the best decision for your household.
Further Reading: 10 Reasons to Start Eating Peanut Butter