Do you have a whole lot of peanut butter just laying around and don’t know if you can freeze it ? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Freezing surplus food items is very common and peanut butter is in everyone’s pantry. So this is what we’re going to be talking about today, how to freeze peanut butter and what you should know before you do this.
First we’ll address a common misconception that you can’t actually freeze peanut butter, just to clear the air.
Can you freeze peanut butter ?
You can freeze peanut butter, yes ! Although it may behave a little differently than other food items it will still freeze.
When you freeze an item you freeze the water or moisture inside the item. Peanut butter has a very low moisture content but it will still freeze, only it will look different from what you imagine.
It won’t be a solid block of brown ice, instead it’ll be a solid block of brown fat.
Although you can’t easily freeze some oils or fats, peanut butter will freeze in a normal freezer. Peanut oil is the main issue here, and its freezing point is 3 C/ 37 F.
That’s also why peanut butter that’s kept in the fridge is so hard to work with. Back to freezing, a regular freezer usually keeps food at -18 C/ -0.4 F, so you can safely freeze peanut butter.
Before we get there, we should also talk about whether there’s any point to freezing peanut butter in the first place.
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Do you have to freeze peanut butter ?
No, you don’t have to freeze peanut butter but it’s one of the storage options you have.
The upside to freezing anything is that it keeps for longer and you can just take out a serving whenever you need it. But peanut butter has a fairly long shelf life to begin with and freezing won’t help it last longer.
You can simply store it in a cool, dry place and it will last as long as if you froze it. That’s mostly got to do with the amount of oil in peanut butter, which helps it store for a long time before going bad.
But if you’re set on freezing peanut butter here’s how to do it without any mishaps.
How long does it take to freeze peanut butter?
Freezing a big jar of peanut butter can take up to 24 hours for both homemade peanut butter and store-bought, if you freeze it in small batches, it will be much faster.
Of course, it also depends on how good your freezer is, but in general, it should not take more than a day.
I can’t see a situation where it is so necessary to freeze peanut butter in a hurry, but I hope this helps you.
How to freeze peanut butter
Freezing peanut butter is fairly simple and straightforward: you put the peanut butter in a container and throw it in the freezer.
But there’s a couple things you should know before you do this, and thawing peanut butter is another story, due to the high-fat content.
Natural VS processed peanut butter
It matters very much whether you use processed or natural peanut butter when you decide to freeze it.
Processed peanut butter has a host of stabilizers, preservatives and thickeners added to it. It’s got a longer shelf life than natural peanut butter, but it’s also got a slightly different aroma.
Because of this, processed peanut butter is going to be a bit harder to freeze, in that it may take a longer time to fully set. Less moisture and less peanut oil to begin with.
On the other hand natural peanut butter will be easier to freeze. Since it’s got nothing added – just peanuts and maybe some salt – it’ll be thinner and will set much faster.
Natural peanut butter may separate upon thawing
Nut butters are very different from dairy, they won’t get grainy but they may separate. This is something you need to take into account when freezing peanut butter.
Especially true if you’re using natural peanut butter with no other oils or stabilizers added. You can get past this, or at least minimize the effects in a couple of ways and we’ll talk about those a bit later in the article.
Freeze in smaller portions, easier to manage
A very good tip to remember is to use portions when freezing peanut butter. You’ll rarely need the whole jar in one go, so there’s no need to take the whole thing out of the freezer and wait for it to thaw.
Rather portion your peanut butter into several servings (you know how much you need).
This way when you need some peanut butter you’ll only take out one portions and thaw that ones, only as much as you need in one sitting.
Using smaller, portioned containers will also make the freezing process go a lot smoother.
Be sure to use airtight containers
Using the right containers is going to make your frozen peanut butter last long enough in the freezer and not lose its flavor.
To make sure your peanut butter won’t suffer at all, you should use heavy duty plastic wrap or freezer-safe Ziploc bags. Remove all the air from the bag, and make sure you’ve flattened it.
If you flatten it you’ll get thin sheets of peanut butter, which are much easier to freeze and thaw.
If you’re using Tupperware you may want to add a bit of plastic wrap on the top of the peanut butter. This creates an airtight seal and protects the butter in case of any mishap like the lid popping open or breaking.
You should not use the glass jar the peanut butter comes with. The trouble with glass is that it’s a very fragile item.
Most glass jars are not tempered, since they’re not meant to survive in the freezer or in an oven. This applies to peanut butter jars as well, since they’re only meant to store at room temp, or slightly cooler.
If you’ve got a plastic jar that’s better, since it’s more flexible and may handle expansion and cold temperatures better.
Even so, it’s best to not freeze a whole jar of peanut butter since it takes longer to do so, as opposed to a thin sheet of peanut butter in a freezer bag.
How long does peanut butter last in the freezer ?
Do not freeze peanut butter for more than 6 months. You can keep it longer than that, but you risk it getting that dreaded freezer flavor.
There isn’t much freezer burn that can happen, since there’s barely any moisture in PB to make that happen.
How to thaw peanut butter?
When you’re ready to take the peanut butter out, make sure to thaw it overnight, in the fridge. This does take longer and may prove to be a waiting game but in the end it’s worth it.
If you were to thaw it on the counter you’d get condensation on the outside, and possibly on the inside. No one likes that, but it’s not the biggest concern.
The biggest concern is that peanut butter will separate if thawed in a warm room, even if it’s just room temperature – around 20 C/68 F.
This is especially true if you’re using natural peanut butter. With 100% just-peanuts PB you’re going to get that anyway, every now and then. It’s the warmth of the room and the solids in PB settling to the bottom of the jar over time.
Of course, if you need your peanut butter ASAP you can thaw it on the counter, easily. Just keep an eye on it.
As for microwaving it, we don’t recommend it since there’s a lot of oil in there and it may react unexpectedly to a hot microwave. But if you really insist on microwaving it, be sure to do so on the lowest setting, and check it every half minute.
It may seem like a lot but you don’t want exploded PB all over your microwave do you ?
Does frozen peanut butter still taste good ?
In theory, if you did everything right and used an airtight container and thawed it right then yes, PB should still be good after freezing.
Texture shouldn’t be a problem here since it’s a creamy/mushy item to begin with and there’s barely any fibers to crush.
How to store peanut butter?
Here’s a few tips to keep in mind when storing peanut butter, since freezing it really isn’t the only option.
As long as you store your peanut butter properly it’ll last for up to one year if processed, and up to 3 months if natural.
Keep peanut butter in cool, dry place
The best way to store peanut butter is in a cool, dry place. That usually means a pantry, where you may keep some raw veggies like onions, potatoes, carrots, maybe a head of lettuce.
An ideal temp for that kind of storage should be around 10 C/ 50 F, possibly a little lower.
Peanut butter will hold up very well in that kind of environment, as long as there is no moisture. If you keep it colder it will be hard to spread, and if you keep it warmer (like room temp) it may turn rancid faster.
Know how fast you go through a jar of PB
Whenever you buy a new jar of peanut butter you should be thinking of how fast or slow you go through an entire jar. Do you have a big family and everyone loves peanut butter ?
Chances are you may finish a jar within a week, and in that case it won’t really matter where or how you store it. It won’t have enough time to go bad, so you’re safe.
But if you’re the kind of person who only eats PB every now and then you might want to store it in a cool place, maybe even in the fridge.
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Don’t keep peanut butter more than a year after opening
Once you’ve opened a jar of peanut butter you should really throw it out within a year, no matter how often or seldom you eat PB.
The trouble is that opened peanut butter just gets more oxygen and this helps the fats and oils turn rancid over time (aside from temperature).
This is especially true if you’ve got natural peanut butter, which won’t even last as long.
In short, please don’t keep peanut butter for years, if the jar has already been opened. Unopened jars last much longer and you’ll see the date printed on the label.
You can freeze peanut butter to make it last longer, in most cases, it is not necessarily because peanut butter lasts for a long time without freezing it. But if somehow you still need to freeze it, make sure you follow every step from this article to make sure it will be good when you plan to eat it.