Butter or margerina are a classic staple of most fridges across the UK. Used for spreading on toast or bread, adding into your scrambled eggs or folding into a cake batter, the pair are extremely versatile ingredients. But what do you do if you’ve come back from the shop with an extra tub?
Can you freeze butter or margarine in a tub?
There are a number of food items that can be frozen for later use.
Nutrients are not necessarily killed in the freezing process and it’s a handy way of storing food without resorting to using use chemical preservatives.
Dr Joanna McMillan said: “Freezing is a really amazing way of preserving our food because you don’t have to use chemical preservatives.
“It’s actually one of the oldest means of preserving foods. I think we under-utilise the freezer in today’s age where we think everything that’s fresh is better for us and it’s actually not the truth.”
Butter and margarine are not the same thing. Butter is made from churning milk or cream.
It can be made using milk from a cow, sheep or goat, as well as yak and buffalo if you live in an area where those animals are common.
Butter consists of roughly 80 percent fat, three percent milk solids and 17 percent water.
Margarine tends to be made from vegetable oil and while fat from skimmed milk is sometimes added, usually no dairy products are added.
Both are fine to be stored in a freezer either before or after being opened.
Frozen butter can last between six and nine months and margarine between six months to a year.
If planning to store either in the freezer it’s worth noting that they can pick up flavours of foods with a strong odour, like onions.
To avoid your butter or margarine tasting of onion, make sure the packaging is tightly sealed so the fats don’t take on the flavour.
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For an extra layer of protection, seal margarine or butter in freezer bags.
Margarine in a tub is not recommended to be frozen in the container as it might affect the quality of the product and the tub could crack when it freezes.
Putting slices of margarine in a freezer bag is a safer way to store it.
If you do choose to freeze margarine in a tub, you might notice some separation after it’s thawed.
To use frozen butter or margarine after it’s been frozen make sure to thaw it first.
To thaw margarine, leave it in the refrigerator overnight; it should not be thawed at room temperature.
Butter should also be thawed overnight in the fridge but if you can’t wait that long you can use a microwave.
Heat it for 10 seconds in the microwave, flip it to another side, then heat it for another 10 seconds and keep repeating this process until the butter is soft but not melted.
Depending on the recipe, you might be able to use your butter while it’s still frozen.
You can also use margarine or butter after the expiration date if you don’t notice any signs of it going bad.
Assuming it’s remained frozen the entire time, your frozen butter will still be safe to use but you might start to notice signs of freezer burn.
The original packaging should help against freezer burn, but using a freezer bag will offer further protection, as well as preventing the butter or margarine from taking on the flavour smelly foods.
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