Home-canning peanut butter is not recommended due to safety concerns. Unlike commercial peanut butter processed with preservatives, homemade varieties go rancid quickly due to the fat content and consistency. Refrigerating and freezing are the best methods of preserving homemade peanut butter.
Can Peanut Butter be Canned?
No. Preserving homemade natural peanut butter by canning is not safe. While you may come across canning instructions for peanut butter in older editions of popular canning books, these instructions have been removed from current versions due to food safety concerns.
The National Center for Home Food Processing recommends canning unshelled green peanuts instead of peanut butter.
Some reasons why you shouldn’t can peanut butter include:
- The oils and fats in nut butter deteriorate quickly.
- Peanut butter has a dense consistency similar to that of pumpkin puree. The thickness makes it difficult for heat to penetrate the mixture properly. Also, air can’t move freely in such conditions, trapping harmful bacteria.
- Low-acid foods like peanuts require pressure canning, which is only possible using a specialized pressure canner. Peanut butter’s low pH increases the risk of botulism associated with home canning.
How to Preserve Peanut Butter Safely
Even though experts don’t recommend canning peanut butter made at home, you can use other approved food preservation methods to extend the shelf life of store-bought peanut butter.
The additives and processing the store-bought varieties go through make it safe to refrigerate and freeze.
- Refrigeration – Refrigerating peanut butter prevents exposure to bacteria and air. Put it in an airtight container inside your fridge, and you can enjoy it for up to three months. The lower temperature of the refrigerator slows bacteria multiplication while preventing the separation of oils which leads to spoiling.
- Freezing – It’s best to divide peanut butter into small portions when freezing it. An ice cube tray will come in handy. Simply portion the peanut butter into cellophane-lined ice cube trays and freeze until solid. The frozen peanut butter can then be transferred to zip-top bags. Experts warn against using glass jars as the peanut butter may expand and shatter the container.
Tips for Storing Peanut Butter
- Avoid contamination. Use clean utensils to prevent cross-contamination.
- Keep the jar upside down. This position enhances the even distribution of oils, keeping the nut butter fresh and smooth.
- Stir before use. Stirring prevents moisture loss and improves the shelf life of peanut butter.
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place away from sunlight. If your pantry temperatures are below 25 degrees, your peanut butter can last longer.
Shelf Life of Homemade vs Commercial Peanut Butter
Homemade and commercial peanut butter contain different ingredients, and commercial peanut butter has a longer shelf life.
Homemade peanut butter uses natural ingredients, while store-bought varieties contain stabilizers, hydrogenated oils to prevent oil separation, and sweeteners. These additives extend the shelf-life of commercial peanut butter.
Commercial peanut butter is shelf-stable and easier to preserve. If kept at room temperature, the stabilizers keep it fresh for three months after opening. After opening, placing it in a refrigerator increases its shelf life from 6-9 months.
As homemade butter doesn’t have these additives, an opened, refrigerated jar lasts for one month.Print
How Long Can Peanut Butter Be Stored in a Mason Jar?
Storing peanut butter in mason jars with lids is an excellent way to preserve it long-term. Unopened peanut butter in an airtight mason jar can last up to three months.