almond butter refrigeration

I made chocolate almond butter with almonds, dark chocolate, coconut oil, and salt. How long can I store it outside the fridge? When it's cold it's too hard to spread.

Stephanie G


trampledbygeese January 17, 2013
Long answer time: There are a lot of different schools of thought on this one, I'll tell you my opinion and what works for me.

It's not likely that you will get mould or any dangerous nasties growing in nut butter due to the high concentration of oil and low concentration of moisture. Although, really fresh off the tree nuts that haven't been properly seasoned/cured/dried are different. I'm going to assume you are working with store bought nuts or nuts that have been properly treated/aged/seasoned (basically, semi-dried at a specific temp and humid. for a few days/weeks).

With nuts, the oils go rancid over time. Some people are of the school of thought that all nuts should be stored in the fridge, even in their whole form. But personally I find I have enough stuff in my fridge already and whole nuts do not last any longer in the fridge than out of it (I keep my house cool, so this has some influence).

Whole nuts (shelled and properly dried) for me will last about 2 years at room temp in an air tight container from the time have been harvested. But once you chop or grind, or blanch and remove the inner skin from the nut, the oils begin to oxidise and change. Toasting or roasting the nuts can 'freshen' the flavour of the oils for a while. Combining them with a more stable oil like coconut will slow down how quickly they go rancid.

How long your nut butter will last at room temp depends entirely on how fresh your nuts are. Nuts in the shop can be a year old or they could be stored in big open bins, exposed to the air - time and air will reduce shelf life of the nuts. So, if you have nuts that are fresh from the farm (and properly aged/seasoned/dried/cured/whatever you want to call it, farmers and cooks have different words for this) then the nut butter would probably last about a month at room temp. But store bought nuts... I personally would eat it in less than a week if kept at room temp. But for what I do at home, I keep it in the fridge until a few hours before I'm ready to use it.

You can tell when it starts to go bad by the rancid taste or if it starts to mould (which can happen with nut butter if it's not air tight or if the moisture content is too high).
Stephanie G. January 17, 2013
I guess I should have asked how long it's safe outside the fridge. I never refrigerate nut butters I buy at the store, and even after it returns to room temp it's never the same creamy texture as before.
ATG117 January 16, 2013
I'd definitely keep it in the fridge and let it come to room temp before you are ready to use it

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trampledbygeese January 13, 2013
Probably a few days outside the fridge would be fine. The coconut oil (probably) will help stabilize the oils in almonds a little bit. But it will go rancid much quicker than in the fridge. Best to keep it in the fridge then take it out an hour or so before you want to use it, then pop it in the fridge again till next time.
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