If you stocked up on baking supplies for the holidays (or during a big sale at the grocery store), but didn't bake all the cookies, you might have a few things left over. If you've got more sticks of butter than you know what to do with, you definitely want to freeze the butter for use later on. In fact, frozen butter can even be an asset in some recipes. Here's the best way to freeze butter.
Can you freeze butter?
In a word, yes. Freezing butter is easy. Most fresh butter is good for about four months, but you can extend that shelf life for up to a year. Even after that time, as long as the butter has stayed frozen, it's still technically safe to eat, though you may notice freezer burn or that the butter isn't as fresh-tasting. Salted butter will stay fresh longer than unsalted butter since the salt helps preserve the butter.
You can also put spreadable butter in the freezer, but it's better to place it in another container first since its original plastic container may not be freezer-grade plastic.
What's the best way to freeze butter?
If you can keep the butter in the original packaging, that's best, but only so you can see the original expiration date. Try to use any frozen butter within four to six months of that date for the best taste.
If you don't have the original packaging or want to freeze butter in smaller increments, wrap the butter well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and make sure you label it with the date it went into the freezer. Regardless of whether the butter is wrapped in the original package, foil or plastic wrap, make sure you place the butter in a good freezer bag to help keep any odd odors and flavors out.
Do you need to thaw frozen butter?
It depends on what your recipe calls for. If you're making something like biscuits or pie crusts where the colder the butter is, the better, you can grate the frozen butter on the large holes of a box grater or cheese grater for use in your recipe. If you're making something that calls for melted butter, you can simply pop the butter into the microwave instead of thawing it first.
If you need room temperature or softened butter, you can defrost the butter on the counter or set it on top of a preheating oven (rotate the stick so that one side doesn't get softer than the others).
Once it's out of the freezer, make sure you use your thawed butter within a month.
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