There are some fridge staples I run out of on the reg. It seems like I’m always buying eggs or another half gallon of almond milk. But butter on the other hand, sits in my fridge for literally months on end. Maybe it’s because I don’t make Bulletproof coffee every morning and I’m not much of a baker, but it takes me forever to run out of the stuff. Which made me wonder: When does it reach the point when it’s not safe to eat anymore?
I did some digging to find out. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who have ancient butter in their fridge, including this person who put four year old butter on her baked potato. Fortunately, scientists have actually studied this. They meticulously monitored butter kept in the fridge and found that it can last about six months with no gross bacteria growing on it and no changes in texture or flavor. In another study, scientists found that after ten months, there actually still wasn’t enough harmful bacteria on refrigerated butter to lose any sleep over it. So it turns out when kept in the cold, butter can last for a long damn time.
But what happens when you’re like the lady who ate four-year-old butter? Will it leave your stomach, er, churning? (Sorry! Sorry!) The first thing to know: Don’t panic—old butter can’t kill you. It seems the worst that can happen is, yes, you’ll get a stomach ache. Rancid butter could also lower your vitamin E and B stores, so maybe eat a salad with avocado slices when you’re feeling better.
Like most foods, you’ll be able to tell when it starts to go bad because it will look discolored (brownish) and have a slightly sour taste to it. But overall, you’ll live.
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