- Peanut butter can last 3-4 months in the pantry and 6-9 months in the refrigerator.
- Natural peanut butter will last 2-3 months in the pantry and 3-6 in the fridge.
- Powdered peanut butter lasts up to 15 years for long-term storage.
If you are a peanut butter lover, you likely always have some on hand, but It is important to know how long it is good for and how to store it long term.
To keep peanut butter fresh long-term, choose one with stabilizers like palm oil or opt for powdered peanut butter. Peanut butter does not require refrigeration but will keep it good for a few months longer. Store the peanut butter in an airtight container and keep it away from light.
As someone who loves a delicious high-protein snack on hand, I know how important proper storage is to the shelf life of peanut butter. So keep reading as I share some valuable information on how to store peanut butter long-term. I also look at why peanut butter is good for your emergency supply kit, how to tell if it is bad, and other facts about peanut butter.
Why Peanut Butter is Good for Emergency Supplies
Peanut butter is not only delicious but also the perfect food to keep in your emergency supply kit. There are many reasons, but here are some of the best:
- High in calories: Foods high in calories, like peanut butter, are vital during emergencies when food can be scarce. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain around 190 calories, making it an excellent energy source. It is also high in protein and healthy fats, which is key for keeping energy levels up and staying full longer.
- Long shelf life: Peanut butter can last months in the pantry and does not need to be refrigerated.
- Nutrient-dense food: Peanut butter is a good source of important nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, and fiber. It also contains vitamins and minerals like E, magnesium, and potassium.
- Easy to transport: Peanut butter can be easily stored in containers making it easy to take camping or on hikes.
What is the Shelf Life of Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter shelf life varies based on the type and storage locations.
Powdered peanut butter can last 15 years if stored away from heat and moisture. The best way to ensure this is by storing it in mylar bags. Peanut butter powder can last even longer than the recommended best-by date if kept in a cool, dry, dark place, such as the pantry, and if unopened.
Store-bought peanut butter can last 3-4 months in the pantry and 6 -9 months in the refrigerator.
Natural peanut butters will last 2-3 months in the pantry and 3-6 in the fridge. The shortened shelf life is due to the lack of stabilizers like palm oil.
How to Store Peanut Butter Long-Term
Storing peanut butter properly is important to ensure its long-term shelf life. You can store peanut butter in the pantry or the refrigerator, with the latter keeping it fresh longer.
Choose the Correct Type of Peanut Butter
Not all peanut butter has the same shelf life, so choose peanut butter ideal for long-term storage. The best of these is powdered peanut butter. Just remember it will have a different texture and flavor than traditional peanut butter.
If you don't like powdered peanut butter, choose a peanut butter that contains stabilizing ingredients, such as hydrogenated oils, palm oil, sugars, or preservatives. These are found in most peanut butter except the all-natural varieties. These ingredients can help prevent the peanut butter from spoiling and keep it fresh longer.
Store in a Cool and Dry Place
Storing peanut butter in a cool and dry place is very important. When exposed to high temperatures, the oil in regular peanut butter can separate, causing the texture and the flavor to change.
Store peanut butter at room temperature in a location like a pantry or a cupboard is best for keeping it away from light and heat.
Live in a hot and humid climate or have no air conditioning, consider keeping the peanut butter in the refrigerator.
Use Airtight Containers
Using airtight containers is important when storing peanut butter long-term because it helps to keep out air, moisture, and other contaminants that can cause spoilage.
Airtight containers prevent the peanut butter from drying out or absorbing moisture, which can cause the texture and flavor to change over time.
Glass jars with tight-fitting lids are an excellent option for storing peanut butter. They are non-reactive, so they will not react with the peanut butter or leach any chemicals into it. They are also easy to clean and can be reused multiple times.
Additionally, glass jars are less likely to absorb odors or flavors from other foods in the storage area, keeping the peanut butter tasting good for longer.
Plastic containers can also be used for storing peanut butter. Still, choosing a food-grade plastic free from BPA and other harmful chemicals is important. In addition, look for containers with a tight-fitting lid that creates an airtight seal to prevent air and moisture from getting in.
Regardless of the container type, ensure the container is completely clean and dry before storing the peanut butter. Any residual moisture can lead to spoilage or the growth of mold.
When filling the container, leave some space at the top to allow for expansion if the peanut butter is exposed to temperature changes.
Finally, label the container with the date of purchase or date of opening to help keep track of the peanut butter's shelf life.
Protect from Light
Light can cause the oil in peanut butter to oxidize, giving it a bad taste and turning it rancid much faster. This is true for natural peanut butter, which contains only peanuts, salt, and no stabilizers.
Storing peanut butter in a dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard, is best. Avoid storing peanut butter in areas that receive direct sunlight, as exposure to light can speed up the oxidation process and cause the peanut butter to spoil more quickly.
If you must store peanut butter in an area that receives light, wrap the container in foil or put it into a different container. This can help reduce the amount of light the peanut butter is exposed to and extend its shelf life.
Refrigerating peanut butter can help extend its shelf life and keep it fresh for longer as the cooler temperatures can help slow the process of oxidation, which can cause the oils in the peanut butter to go rancid.
This is especially important for natural peanut butter containing no preservatives.
However, refrigeration can cause the peanut butter to harden, making it difficult to spread. Try storing the peanut butter in a wide-mouthed container, as this can make it easier to scoop out even when cold.
Keep It Upside Down
Keeping peanut butter upside down can help prevent oil separation at the top of the jar. This is true with natural peanut butter, which has a thicker consistency and is more likely to separate than regular peanut butter.
Keeping the peanut butter jar upside down allows the oils to be distributed throughout, making mixing the peanut butter easier.
What is Powdered Peanut Butter?
Peanuts are roasted to make powdered peanut butter, and most of their natural oils are extracted, leaving behind a dry peanut powder.
This powder is ground further into a fine consistency, so it can be easily reconstituted with water or other liquids to create a creamy peanut butter spread.
Powdered peanut butter is a healthier alternative because it has less fat and calories without the added oils and sugars.
Signs Peanut Butter Has Gone Bad
While regular peanut butter has a long shelf life, it can still go bad over time. Here are some things to keep an eye out for if you think your peanut butter might be bad:
- Change in texture: Peanut butter can become hard or dry if it has turned. Also, if the peanut butter has become overly soft or runny, it can be bad.
- Unpleasant odor: If the peanut butter has a sour smell, this is a clear sign that it has gone bad.
- Funny taste: If the peanut butter tastes off, sour, or bitter, this may indicate spoilage.
- Visible mold: While not common, any signs of mold on the peanut butter's surface indicate that it has gone bad and should be discarded.
If you notice any of these signs, it's best to err on caution and discard the peanut butter. Eating bad peanut butter can give you stomach upset, nausea, and even food poisoning, so when in doubt, throw it out!
Is it Okay to Freeze Fresh Peanut Butter?
Freezing peanut butter is a good idea to extend its shelf life even longer than the pantry or refrigerator. However, remember that freezing peanut butter can affect the texture and flavor of the peanut butter.
So it's best to freeze peanut butter in recipes with less noticeable texture or flavor changes, such as baking or smoothies.
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Virginia Just, and I have a passion for food and consider myself to be a great home cook. I love watching Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef with my husband to learn new techniques. I am currently working on getting my first of many nutrition certifications to become a Nutrition Coach and advise people struggling to stay healthy.Read More About Virginia Just