How Long Does Peanut Butter Last?
Peanut butter is an undeniably delicious and versatile pantry staple, so understanding how long it lasts once opened is important for ensuring the best possible taste.
Fortunately, when stored correctly, opened peanut butter has a shelf life of up to four months in a cool, dry place. Peanut butter the is sealed has a much longer shelf life as bacteria can’t reach it. Unopened peanut butter can typically last for up to a year if stored in a cool, dry place.
Refrigeration isn't usually necessary; if you do want to refrigerate your peanut butter, expect it to remain safe for consumption for up to six months — though freezing can increase its lifespan even more to about one year.
Does Peanut Butter Expire? Does Peanut Butter Go Bad?
Yes, ultimately peanut butter can expire or go bad. Sealed and unopened peanut butter can last for approximately 3-4 months beyond the best by date, after this time frame the peanut butter is likely still safe to eat but can begin to decline in quality and flavor. Refrigeration helps maintain the quality of your peanut butter for an an additional 3-4 months and minimizes oil separation.
Is It Okay To Eat Peanut Butter After The Best By Date?
It is likely safe to eat peanut butter after the expiration date as in most cases this date is actually a recommendation of when to consume the peanut butter, for optimal quality and consistency. When peanut butter is opened and beyond the best by date, the likelihood of bacteria growth or contaminants is more present than in comparison to a sealed container of peanut butter. Peanut butter can go rancid so its best to check by sight and smell before consuming.
How To Tell When Peanut Butter Has Gone Bad
One of the first signs that peanut butter has gone bad is a change in smell; good peanut butter should have a pleasant scent, whereas spoiled peanut butter will develop a rancid smell. Other indicators are a drier and more crumbly texture than normal, discoloration on the surface and a bitter taste. If any of these signs are present, it's best to throw away the peanut butter.
The Expiration Date on the Jar
Most jars of peanut butter will have an expiration date printed right on the label. This date is typically 18 months to two years from when the jar was manufactured. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your peanut butter will go bad after this date passes. Generally speaking, unopened jars of peanut butters are safe to eat up to six months past their expiration date. Keep in mind, however, that quality may begin to decline after this point in terms of flavor and texture.
Storing Your Peanut Butter Properly
If you want your jar of peanut butter to last as long as possible, proper storage is key. To ensure maximum freshness, keep your nut butters away from any sources of heat or direct sunlight and store them in a cool, dry place—ideally between 50°F (10°C) and 70°F (21°C). Refrigeration isn't necessary for opened jars of natural peanut butters; just make sure you secure the lid tightly after each use in order to prevent contamination from moisture or other ingredients like jelly or jam.
Opened jars of processed and flavored varieties should be refrigerated if not used within five days or so—check the label for specific instructions on how best to store these types of nut butters for optimal freshness and safety. As always, it's also important to remember that jar lids should be screwed on securely after every use in order to prevent contamination from moisture or foreign objects like dirt or bacteria.
In conclusion, understanding how long peanut butter lasts before it expires is important if you want to avoid foodborne illness while still enjoying its delicious flavor. Unopened jars can generally last up to two years past their expiration date while opened jars should be stored properly according to their labels if they are not consumed within five days or so. Keeping your nut butters away from sources of heat or direct sunlight and storing them in cool, dry places can help ensure they remain tasty and safe for consumption as long as possible!