Studies have shown that butter has a shelf life of many months, even when stored at room temperature ( 6, 10 ). However, it will stay fresh longer if it is kept in the refrigerator. Refrigeration slows down the process of oxidation, which will eventually cause butter to go rancid.
It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for refrigerated butter to soften to room temperature. Speed things up by cutting the butter into 1-inch cubes: Take a stick of butter and halve it lengthwise.
We found that official USDA guidelines assumed butter should be refrigerated and only softened “ten to fifteen minutes” before use. Which is all well and good for those who like their butter cold and hard, but we like ours very soft and spreadable!
If you’d like to store salted, pasteurized butter on the counter, go for it. Make sure to put it in a butter dish or crock to protect it from dust and other contaminants. Butter will stay edible for up to two weeks, assuming your house is kept at around 70º. Yes, the butter will spoil eventually.
According to the USDA, butter is safe at room temperature. But if it’s left out for several days at room temperature, it can turn rancid causing off flavors. The USDA does not recommend leaving it out more than one to two days.
What happens when you eat expired /old butter? The first thing to do is, not panic as old butter cannot kill you or give you food poisoning. The worst that can happen is a stomach ache. Also, rancid butter can lower your vitamin E and vitamin B stores.
The best way to soften butter for a recipe is to set it out on the counter for about 1-2 hours.
Simply fill a large, deep bowl with warm water. Place your stick of cold butter in a slightly smaller bowl and submerge the bowl in the bowl of warm water. Wait just 5-10 minutes depending on how cold your butter was, and just like that your butter should be perfectly soft and room temperature.
Souza explains that there is no difference in flavor between butter that has been left on the counter and butter that stays in the fridge, assuming both are still fresh and haven’t picked up flavors from the surrounding environment.
So if you keep your house warmer than 68°F, you really want butter that’s a few degrees cooler than room temperature —it should be pliable but still slightly firm, not soft and squishy. In this case, let the butter soften until it makes a slight impression when pressed with a fingertip, but still feels fairly firm.
It should be pointed out that rancid butter can ‘t make you sick, but it won’t taste or smell very good. Rancidity is caused by exposure to oxygen, light and heat.
You’ll know if your butter has spoiled because it’ll smell rancid. You might also see some discoloration and changes in texture. Mold is also another really good sign that your food has turned.
Unfortunately, eggs left out on the counter for more than two hours need to be tossed. This is because eggs are susceptible to salmonella contamination due to how they’re processed before they get to the grocery store. Once the eggs have been refrigerated, letting them sit unrefrigerated is a big no-no.
In the United States, fresh, commercially produced eggs need to be refrigerated to minimize your risk of food poisoning. However, in many countries in Europe and around the world, it’s fine to keep eggs at room temperature for a few weeks. If you’re still unsure, refrigeration is the safest way to go.
You can leave eggs on the counter about two hours at room temperature or one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or hotter before you start to worry, per the Egg Safety Center. After two hours, you’d be safer to throw those eggs out and get a fresh dozen rather than chance it.