I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter can go bad if left unrefrigerated, but it will generally last longer than regular butter. Unopened, it can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 months. Once opened, it’s best to refrigerate and use within 1-2 months for optimal quality. The exact shelf life depends on storage conditions and ingredients. But in general, refrigeration extends the shelf life significantly compared to leaving it out on the counter.
How Long Does Unopened I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Last at Room Temperature?
An unopened tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 months before going bad. This shelf life information is provided by the manufacturer.
Room temperature storage takes advantage of the airtight packaging. As long as the tub remains properly sealed, the spread inside remains protected from air, moisture and bacteria that can cause early spoilage.
Of course, room temperature conditions can vary in different homes. Ideal room temperature for food storage is around 70°F. If your home is warmer, the shelf life may be reduced. Likewise, cooler room temperatures may allow the product to stay fresher even longer.
Bottom line – an unopened tub that has been continuously stored at an average room temperature will stay fresh for about 2-3 months past the sell by or best by date printed on the packaging.
Sell By and Best By Dates
You may notice both sell by and best by dates on packages of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Here’s how to interpret each:
– Sell By Date: This date tells the store how long to keep the product on shelves. You should purchase the product before this date for the maximum freshness timeline.
– Best By Date: This is the last date recommended for optimal flavor and texture. The spread may still be safe to consume for some time after the best by date, but the quality slowly degrades.
So for peak freshness, be sure to open and use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter sometime around the best by date. This guideline applies whether storing at room temperature or in the fridge.
How Long Does Opened I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Last When Refrigerated?
Once you break the airtight seal by opening the tub, oxygen and bacteria are introduced. This speeds up the deterioration process. To maximize the shelf life after opening, it’s best to refrigerate I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
When stored in the fridge, an opened tub will stay fresh for 1-2 months after opening. Make sure to screw the lid on tightly after each use.
Keep the butter spread towards the front of the refrigerator, where temperatures are coldest. The door shelves tend to be warmer, so avoid storing it there.
Also take note of any changes in consistency, color or aroma. If the spread seems to be separating, gets very runny, smells sour or has mold growth, it’s time to discard.
How to Tell if Opened I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is Bad
Here are some signs that opened, refrigerated I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter has gone bad:
– Unusual sour smell
– Mold growth on the surface
– Watery consistency and separation
– Rancid taste with bitter or chemical flavors
– Change in color, such as yellowing
When stored properly in the refrigerator, opened tubs typically last about 1-2 months. If you notice any of the above changes, it’s best to throw it out. Don’t take chances on consuming rancid butter spreads.
Does I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Need to Be Refrigerated?
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is made with oils that are more resistant to spoilage compared to real dairy butter. But for optimal freshness and shelf life, refrigeration is recommended both before and after opening.
Here’s a summary of fridge recommendations:
– Unopened: Can be kept unrefrigerated for up to 2-3 months, but will last even longer when refrigerated.
– After first use: Should be refrigerated and will stay fresh for about 1-2 months. Keep refrigerated at all times after opening.
Refrigeration isn’t strictly required by food safety standards. But chilled storage helps slow the separation and rancidification process. Overall, keeping both unopened and opened tubs in the refrigerator provides the best quality and extends the usable life.
Storing at Room Temperature After Opening
If you prefer to keep I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on the counter or table for easy access, here are a few tips:
– Use it within 1 month after first opening for best quality.
– Make sure to seal the tub tightly after each use. Air exposure speeds deterioration.
– Transfer to a butter dish or covered container. This protects it from direct sunlight and air.
– Check frequently for changes in texture, color or smell that indicate spoilage.
– If the room is very warm, use within a couple weeks. Heat accelerates the breakdown of the oils.
Again, the fridge remains the optimal storage spot. But if you want to keep some softened spread handy on the counter, consume it quickly and monitor closely for signs of spoilage.
How to Store I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to Maximize Freshness
Here are some tips for storing I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, whether opened or unopened, to get the most out of its shelf life:
– Before opening: Leave in the original packaging, and store in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight. Pantry storage for up to 2-3 months is fine, or refrigerate for even longer freshness.
– After opening: Immediately transfer to a clean airtight container or reseal the original tub. Press plastic wrap against the surface before securing the lid to prevent air exposure. Keep refrigerated at 40°F or below.
– Use clean utensils each time when scooping to prevent introducing bacteria. Don’t leave butter knives sitting in the tub.
– Check the ???use by??? dates. Consume opened butter within 1-2 months for optimal freshness and taste.
– Keep an eye on the consistency and aroma for signs of spoilage like separation, mold, or sour smell.
– Don???t freeze it, as this will damage the texture. I Can???t Believe It???s Not Butter doesn’t hold up well in the freezer.
– Refrigerate after use, even if you plan to use again soon. Leaving the tub out accelerates quality loss.
Following proper storage methods will keep both unopened and opened I Can???t Believe It’s Not Butter spreads fresher for longer.
How Does I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Go Bad?
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is a dairy-free spread made from vegetable oils like soybean, palm and canola oil. It also contains water, salt, and natural flavors.
Being dairy-free with no butterfat, it doesn’t go rancid in quite the same way as real butter. But the vegetable oils will eventually oxidize and break down, causing spoilage.
Here are a few ways I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter can go bad with time:
Exposure to air causes oxidation and free radical damage to the unsaturated fatty acids in the oils. This produces unpleasant rancid odors and flavors. Refrigeration helps slow this process by protecting the oils from heat and air.
As the spread loses moisture over time, you may notice changes like dryness, increased hardness, separation or the formation of air pockets. Proper sealing prevents excess moisture evaporation.
Bacteria, mold and yeasts can grow if introduced through unsanitary handling and warm conditions. Eventually, they will change the texture and create slime, fuzz or a sour smell.
Oxidation also degrades pigments like beta carotene, causing fading or unappealing color shifts to yellow, orange or brown. Light exposure speeds this up.
So in summary, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter goes rancid through oxidation, moisture loss, microbes and color changes. Refrigeration, air-tight packaging and good handling practices help delay these processes.
How Long Does Butter Last Compared to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter?
Real butter contains dairy fat that is more prone to rancidity compared to the oils in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Here’s a comparison:
|I Can???t Believe It???s Not Butter
After Opening, Refrigerated
|I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
As you can see, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter lasts a bit longer than real butter when properly stored. The differences come down to the makeup – dairy fats vs. vegetable oils.
However, neither will last very long at room temperature after opening. So for best quality, both real butter and I Can’t Believe spreads should be refrigerated after first use.
How to Tell When Butter Has Gone Bad
It’s important to know how to recognize when butter has spoiled, whether you’re using real dairy butter or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Here are some signs to watch out for:
– Sour smell – Fresh butter has a creamy, milkfat aroma. Rancid butter smells sour and unpleasant.
– Change in color – Butter slowly shifts from yellow to an unappealing grayish or brown hue.
– Mold growth – You may see fuzzy mold on the surface of bad butter. It may be white, green, blue or black.
– Smooth consistency – When butter goes bad, it can become quite runny as the fats break down.
– Taste – Rancid butter will have a distinctive bitter, sour or metallic flavor. The texture may feel greasy.
– Pinkish tint – If you see pink, red or orange spots, the butter may have lipase spoilage.
When in doubt, remember this rule: If butter smells or looks questionable, throw it out. Consuming rancid butter can cause unpleasant symptoms, so it’s not worth the risk.
Can You Freeze I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter?
Technically, you can freeze an unopened tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, but this will negatively impact the texture once thawed. The oils will separate and the spread becomes grainy or watery.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is not well-suited for freezing and thawing. Here’s why:
The liquid vegetable oils used have a different chemical structure compared to solid dairy fat. This makes them more prone to separating when frozen.
Higher Water Content
Products with more moisture tend to crystallize and undergo textural changes in the freezer. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter contains water.
Emulsifiers are added to stabilize the oils and water. But freezing can still disrupt this emulsion, causing separation.
Ice Crystal Formation
Freezer temperatures damage the creamy, smooth consistency by causing large ice crystals to form. The spread ends up grainy.
So for best quality, it’s recommended to only refrigerate I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter without freezing. Refrigeration keeps it spreadable while slowing spoilage. If you do freeze it, use within a month after thawing and expect some separation.
Can You Freeze Real Butter?
Unlike I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, real dairy butter can be successfully frozen to extend the shelf life. Here’s how:
Freeze it sealed
Keep real butter well wrapped in its original packaging, or tightly rewrap if opened. This prevents freezer burn and off-flavors.
Press plastic wrap against the butter surface before sealing to minimize air exposure and oxidation.
Use within 6-9 months
For best quality and taste, use frozen butter within 6 to 9 months. The high butterfat content still allows gradual rancidification over time.
Thaw frozen butter in the fridge before using. Don’t refreeze thawed butter, as this alters the texture.
So in summary, real butter can be frozen for about 6-9 months. Just be diligent about excluding excess air and minimizing time in the freezer. Refrigerate once thawed and use promptly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter need to be refrigerated before opening?
No, unopened tubs can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 months. Refrigeration isn’t required initially, but will prolong the shelf life.
How long can you leave butter out?
It’s not recommended to leave butter out for more than 2 hours, even in a butter dish. Leaving it out causes faster moisture loss and rancidification. Always refrigerate unused butter.
Can you get sick from eating spoiled butter?
Consuming rancid butter likely won’t make you severely ill, but it can cause symptoms like nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea, headache or vomiting in sensitive individuals.
What happens if you cook with expired butter?
The unpleasant rancid odors and flavors will come through in your cooking. Baking with old butter can give baked goods a bitter, unappealing taste. It’s best to only cook with fresh, non-rancid butter.
Why does my butter smell cheesy?
A cheesy or spoiled milk odor indicates your butter has undergone lipase enzyme activity breakdown. This causes defects like bitterness, a fizzy texture and cheesy flavors.
The Bottom Line
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter generally lasts 1-2 months after opening, compared to 1 month for real butter. For best quality, keep all butter spreads refrigerated after first use. Signs of spoiled butter include sour smells, changed consistency, mold, and unpleasant tastes. Refrigeration helps extend shelf life once opened. While real butter can be frozen, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter becomes grainy in the freezer. Follow proper storage and food handling to maximize freshness of butter spreads.