Can peanut butter go bad? Peanut butter in many countries is used as a sandwich spread and it’s made to last a pretty long time, assuming that you’re buying your peanut butter in store and not making it yourself. If you’re a peanut butter fan, you’d definitely benefit from knowing how long does peanut butter last, how to tell if it is bad and similar issues.
How long does peanut butter last?
As long as your peanut butter jar is still unopened, it can be stored for at least one and a half years, or more, provided you store it in appropriate conditions. What are the appropriate conditions to store peanut butter? It should be stored in a pretty cool (with temperature below room temperature) room, possibly in the pantry.
Once the jar is opened, peanut butter should last at least a few months, provided it’s stored in the pantry and sealed tightly with its original lid. Peanut butter contains a lot of fat and oxygen makes fat deteriorate faster. Therefore you should always keep the peanut butter’s jar sealed, unless you’re using this sandwich spread at the moment. If you’d like the product to last longer, you can keep it in the fridge. Refrigerated peanut butter won’t spread that easily, but it prevents oil separation and helps retain the flavor.
Image used under Creative Commons from Bobbi Bowers
If you’re making peanut butter yourself and you’re not using any stabilizers or hydrogenated fat, your peanut butter should last a few months, possibly half a year. Because you’re not using any stabilizers, it’s quite natural that oil will separate – that’s not harmful to the sandwich spread, you can just stir contents of the jar and you’re ready to use it.
Does peanut butter expire? How to tell if peanut butter is bad?
Unfortunately, similarly to other sandwich spreads, peanut butter does spoil. Every jar of this delicious product should have a “Best By” or “Use By” date which is a rough indication of how long contents of the jar should be of best quality. Of course the peanut butter should be fine for a longer period of time – check out previous section of the article.
So, you know that peanut butter can spoil. Another question that comes to mind is – how to tell if peanut butter is bad? It’s quite easy – you just need to examine its appearance, smell and taste. If it has developed a strange (or “funny”) odor, throw it away. Proceed similarly if you’ll notice any signs of mold in the jar. If peanut butter smells and looks fine, it probably isn’t spoiled, but you need to check its taste before spreading it on your sandwich.
Here’s the thing, peanut butter after being stored for quite some time might not taste best. If it doesn’t taste awful, but just “not as good as it used to”, you should know that it’s perfectly normal. After opening, contents of the jar deteriorate slowly, so after a few months the peanut butter’s taste won’t be as good as it used to. It’s your call whether you’d like to eat a sandwich with it, or not. If it doesn’t taste strange, off or simply awful, peanut butter should be perfectly fine to eat.
As you probably know, peanut butter can expire. Therefore, the answer to the main question – “can peanut butter go bad?” is affirmative. However, if you’ll store it properly, you should be able to use the whole jar before it gets anywhere near “spoiled” or “rancid”.