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Storing Fats and Oils

Updated on August 27, 2010

The way fats and oils are stored has a great effect on their keeping qualities.

Butter should be kept at a low temperature. At home, the refrigerator is the best place. Butter will keep in the refrigerator for six weeks. Always wrap opened butter well before placing in the refrigerator—it easily absorbs food flavors. Butter will keep in the freezerfor six months.

If butter is kept out of the refrigerator for spreading, it must be kept in a covered butter dish in a cool place. If exposed to sunlight or heat, the butter will quickly turn rancid. For the summer it is a good idea to buy a butter dish which has a double bottom where you can put ice or iced water and so keep the butter cool.

There is no difference in storage times between salted and unsalted butter. The amount of salt added to salted butter is not enough to be a preservative.

Margarines containing butter should be stored in the same way as butter and will last for the same time as butter.

Low-calorie margarine should be stored in the refrigerator in its container. It will keep for about one month. It will not freeze.

Medium-grade margarines without added butter and low-grade margarines will keep in the refrigerator for two months and in the freezer for up to a year. Like butter, margarines absorb flavors, so wrap them well.

Lard is stored in the same way as butter.

Synthetic cooking fats are stored in the same way as butter.

Dripping contains meat extracts and can go rancid fairly quickly. Keep it in the refrigerator and try to use it within 10 days. Dripping can be frozen and will keep in the freezer for three months.

Clarified dripping will keep in the refrigerator for three weeks. Like dripping, it will keep in the freezer for three months.

Speck will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for two weeks. It does not freeze well.

Fresh suet will keep in a cool place or the refrigerator for one month and in the freezer for six months. Racketed suet will keep in the refrigerator or larder for two months and in the freezer for six months.

Oils must be stored in a cool, but not too too cold, place with the bottle firmly stoppered. If the temperature too low, the oil will solidify and will to be brought into a warm room to melt again. A dark place is important to the freshness of oils, as light encourages them to turn. Most oils will keep for up to months without turning sour or rancid.


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