Peanut butter’s sumptuous flavor and smooth consistency have made it a go-to spread for many, and that is when many ask, “can peanut butter be frozen for later use?”
Peanut butter is popular not only because it is delicious, but also because it is quite healthy too.
And these health benefits come from its nutrient profile, which includes minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. The good thing is that no matter how you store it, it has a good shelf life.
But, paying attention to storage guidelines can help it maintain its rich flavor for a long time.
So, does peanut butter freeze well? Should you really be doing it?
Yes, you can store your peanut butter in the freezer for as long as 6 months without affecting its texture or taste.
The Prolific History of Peanut Butter
Peanuts originated in South America thousands of years ago. It is speculated that the Inca Indians ground peanuts into a smooth paste to use as a spread.
Interestingly, throughout North America, peanuts have been a staple food for those belonging to low-income families.
But it wasn’t until 1904 that peanut butter made its appearance commercially.
It was initially included in the US Army rations due to its positive health effects.
It quickly gained popularity along with other snacks, such as jelly sandwiches and became common by the time World War II rolled around.
Peanut Butter for All Your Recipes
The ubiquitous peanut butter is a staple in kitchens and pantries everywhere. It is delicious, nutritious, and much healthier compared to many other spreads.
It is also versatile enough to be utilized in a variety of desserts. In fact, you can use it in many different ways.
It goes well with either sweet or savory pairings, or even on its own.
You can always enjoy it with cookies, hummus, pizzas, soups, sandwiches, milkshakes, chocolates, cupcakes, and even salads.
But when something is so versatile, it is natural to look for ways to ensure you always have some around.
And that is when you have to think about how to extend the peanut butter’s shelf life.
Fact: Peanut butter is quite healthy with a single serving offering up to 7g of protein and 1.8g of fiber.
Can Peanut Butter Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze it!
Putting it in the freezer will help maintain its texture and quality for as long as six months.
You can either refrigerate it for later use or place it in the freezer in its current package.
As an alternative, you can divide it, cover it, and then leave it in the freezer.
The Shelf Life of Peanut Butter
Owing to its high-fat content, peanut butter is much likely to last longer than many other similar spreads.
Its low moisture content is yet another reason it maintains its texture and flavor for long without going bad.
The combination of high fat and low moisture content means the conditions are not suitable for bacterial growth.
When unopened, homemade peanut butter with 90% of peanuts is likely to last up to a few months in the pantry.
Put it in the fridge and it might stay good for a year or so.
The Extended Shelf Life of Commercial Peanut Butter
It is worth mentioning that commercially made peanut butter products can have an extended shelf life.
It is due to the inclusion of stabilizers, such as palm oil, and hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Similarly, sodium benzoate and other preservatives also help extend the shelf life of peanut butter.
The use of stabilizers particularly makes a difference to the shelf life because it prevents oil separation and also combats microbial growth.
It is because of these factors that commercial peanut butter can last up to a year if unopened.
It may still stay good for up to 3 months even when you have opened the bottle.
Fact: The shelf life of natural peanut butter products varies greatly between brands because of the ingredients used for preservation.
What Happens If You Freeze Peanut Butter?
As mentioned already, putting peanut butter in the fridge will definitely help improve its shelf life.
But, will it get better when frozen?
The truth is that storage definitely matters when you want to keep your peanut butter in the best condition for long enough.
It can be stored at room temperature, but refrigeration will extend its shelf life.
If you do not want to put peanut butter in the fridge, the pantry is a good option because of the cool, dark environment.
Freezing peanut butter would not change its taste or consistency, but it might not further increase the shelf life as well. So, simply leaving it in the refrigerator would do just fine.
An Important Consideration
Use clean tools and a clean workspace while working with peanut butter.
The use of soiled or worn cutlery increases the risk of spoiling because of the spread of bacteria.
Fact: Simply closing the jar tightly will increase the shelf life of your peanut butter by limiting air exposure.
How Do You Freeze Peanut Butter Properly?
Even when frozen, there is no harm done to the flavor and consistency of peanut butter.
It means you can definitely think of buying in bulk and then freezing it to use in the long run.
Now, if you have already bought a large batch of peanut butter and are wondering how to freeze it correctly, here is how to proceed.
Use an Appropriate Container
Glass jars can be used for freezing peanut butter, but plastic is preferable.
Put the peanut butter in the appropriate Tupperware containers. Here, you should ensure that you do not overfill the container.
It is better to leave at least an inch of extra room for expansion.
Seal it Well
Now, how well you seal the container will have a huge impact on how long your peanut butter will stay good.
If you plan on storing your peanut butter in the freezer for an extended period of time.
Double-check the seal of the container.
It is better to use a container that comes with a proper lid. But, if it is unavailable, you can use cling wrap or tin foil instead.
Before you put it in the freezer, it makes good sense to label the container.
Be sure to mention the date of storage along with whatever “best-by” date you notice on the original jar.
Place it in the freezer and it will stay fine for at least six months.
An Important Thing to Remember
It is never a good idea to store peanut butter in glass jars, as it can shatter under pressure.
This is a potential health and safety risk in addition to being an issue for food hygiene because glass could end up in the food.
If you want to store it in its original glass jar, you should first open the lid and get rid of the safety seal.
You can later replace the lid when the peanut butter freezes completely.
Thawing Peanut Butter
Okay, so it is clear that you can freeze peanut butter for several months, but how do you use it when in a frozen state?
Well, you will have to thaw it first.
It is important to remember that separation occurs naturally when you freeze and thaw pure peanut butter.
It is quite like how the butter and oil emulsion separate when stored in the pantry.
It occurs because solids and oils undergo a process called syneresis in which they gradually separate as the temperature rises.
When dealing with frozen peanut butter, you can reduce the separation a bit by simply leaving the peanut butter in your refrigerator.
Yes, it is going to take a lot of time, but it works pretty well to reduce the separation.
Once it has thawed a little, you can simply mix it thoroughly for a few minutes.
Sticking with a smooth, churning motion using a fork will bring your peanut butter back to its natural consistency.
Fact: It is okay to store peanut butter in a Ziplock bag but you need to press out excess air before sealing and freezing it.
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Can peanut butter be frozen? Will it change the texture or affect the flavor in any way?
It is natural to feel confused, but the truth is that peanut butter freezes pretty well. In fact, you will be able to store larger batches of peanut butter better in the freezer.
Just be sure to follow the storage guidelines and ensure you use the right container for freezing and steer clear of glass containers.
If done right, frozen peanut butter will be just as good as fresh even when used later.