Right way to store butter: Should it always be refrigerated?

According to Pepe Saya’s founder, Pierre “Pepe” Issa, you might love the convenience and spreadability of butter that is soft on a benchtop, but it belongs in the refrigerator.

This is the most frequently asked question he gets asked at Carriageworks in Sydney and his cultured butter factories in Tempe and Caringbah.

I came from a household where the butter would be left out on the dining table for days. What about in our home now? Never. Never. Pepe says emphatically, “Never.”

Pepe says that butter bells are not unusual to find on Australian kitchen counters. However, this is a European tradition.

In Australia, it is only allowed to be left out for two to three days during summer and up to seven days during winter. Pepe says that after that, it is gone.

If you cannot consume the whole block at this time, then it should be stored in the refrigerator.

The homogenized butter found in supermarkets tends to spoil faster than cultured butter like the Pepe Saya brand.

It’s possible that a second source, such as a dirty spoon, could contaminate butter left on the counter.

Pepe says that if a pathogen such as E. coli or listeria makes its way into butter, it will multiply much faster.

Butter will stay fresher and last longer in the refrigerator. It’s also likely to retain its taste.

Pepe says that cultured butter has a more creamy texture than homogenized butter and can be left out of the refrigerator for only a few moments before it becomes soft.

Plant-based butter will keep your butter fresher for longer, such as on a camping trip.

Pepe: “I admit that there is also a preference element to it.”

“I like my butter really hard.” We slice it and spread it on bread, like cheese.

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