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This was news to me, from a Paris-trained chef friend.
Butter will keep for weeks or months without refrigeration, depending on how much oxygen it is exposed to. The purpose of a butter dish (or butter crock, etc) is so you can have soft, usable butter on the counter or table at all times, while protected from ambient air.
In fact, butter will stay better and fresher in a butter dish rather than in the fridge where it is exposed to ambient air. Why do Americans keep butter in the fridge? Who knows. It won't melt under 80 degrees F. Supposedly, the butter crocks that use a water seal will keep butter fresh even longer, many months. Well, butter has been around a lot longer than refrigeration.
My days of tearing bread and toast with hard butter are over, as of now. Yes, I do love butter, and even more now that we know it's healthy.
This was very useful information. When I was a kid we had butter out on the counter in a covered butter dish. I never remembered it being a problem or an issue. Then, suddenly everyone was switching to vegetable-oil based spreads and the butter disappeared!
I have been putting butter out on the counter as of late and had my husband question if that was okay. I am so very glad I will be able to share this factoid with him!
So much nicer to have REAL butter out on the counter, soft and ready for spreading!
Grandma always kept her butter in the cupboard, and it was always very soft and spreadable, and we never got sick, so bacteria must not have been a problem. As I grew older I began to wonder why it didn't go rancid, but it never did. I just assumed we ate it before that could happen.
Nonetheless, I am keeping my butter in the refrigerator, tightly covered, thank you very much.
We just got a butter crock (water-sealed) a couple of months ago, and yes, it's wonderful.
We use unsalted butter from a local farm, and in the past, if it wasn't kept refrigerated, it would get a bit rancid within just a couple of days.
The crock keeps that from happening. Soft, spreadable butter, every morning. It's a joy.
(We do store our reserve supply of butter in the freezer, but that's relatively long-term storage.)
I have never put butter in the fridge. Although I do keep it in the freezer until I need to bring out another stick. I don't bake so I probably go through 4 sticks in 6-8 weeks. My covered butter dish isn't big enough to hold all that. Maybe I need to get a bigger butter dish!
I know what you mean! I usually keep a stick out in a covered dish (oxidation and doggy concerns), but for fresh, untoasted bread I prefer cold butter. So a pound of butter from the store goes in the frig, and only a stick at a time comes out on the counter.
This is real butter, mind. No margarine (feh) in my house these last 30 years.
Grew up in a household that always had a butter dish sitting out; and I remember when in college a housemate was somewhat distressed that I left the butter sitting out all night!
You can't use it now! He said, it has gone bad. What? was my response.
Sure, growing up our mother kept most of the butter in the fridge in the original paper wraps. But, once we unwrapped a stick it went into the butter dish on the table and stayed there until finished - that's how I grew up. It only went back into the fridge if the summer sun heated the dish enough to melt the butter. Just stick it in the fridge to firm it up a bit and then back onto the table went the dish.
Oh, and it has always been real butter - none of that margarine stuff.
Back in the 30s or 40s, Robert Benchley (humorist and grandfather of the Benchley who wrote "Jaws") had a bit in an essay about going through half-a-dozen pieces of bread trying to put butter from the fridge on them.
Actually eggs only have to go in the frig if they are washed.
we have our own chickens and our eggs sit on the counter. Of course they dont sit there long we eat/bake 2 doz a week. My neighbor is an "organic" egg producer and his eggs (collected daily) sit in an unrefrigerated building before pickup 2 days a week.
I believe in europe they dont refrigerate (fresh) eggs either. The us is also the only country that tests milk for somatic cell count.