We’re not sure if it’s the separation of oil or the act of vigorous stirring, but there’s something about natural peanut butter that has people confused.
Does it, or does it not, have to be refrigerated?
To refrigerate or not is a serious question we ask about many of the most common ingredients in our kitchens. But when it comes to natural peanut butter, it’s especially important. Natural differs in that it’s just ground roasted peanuts, sometimes with added salt; it doesn’t include ingredients like hydrogenated oils that make traditional PBs into a homogenized spread that’s definitely not in need of a fridge. Storing natural peanut butter in the fridge means a rock-hard product, but many natural peanut butters instruct us to refrigerate on the label. What’s the deal?
Here’s the short answer: no, you don’t have to refrigerate. Even a trusted natural peanut butter company, Teddie’s, says so on the landing page of their website.
Natural peanut butter keeps just fine in a cool, dark place like the pantry for at least a month ― which is more than enough time for many peanut butter lovers to consume it. But if you don’t eat this nutty spread that quickly, the fridge will keep it fresher longer. The oils present in natural peanut butter can go rancid, and the rate at which that happens is accelerated by heat and humidity.
Please note: It’s important to notice the aroma of the peanut butter before use ― if it’s off, toss it. And if it should develop any mold, toss it.
If you do refrigerate your natural peanut butter, be sure to stir it before doing so ― once it’s cold, it can be hard to stir the oil back into the peanut butter. But once that’s done, a jar will easily keep in the fridge for six months.
So long as you don’t finish it first.