If margarine is one to two months past the print date, you are better off throwing it in the trash, even if it looks and smells good. You can assume with confidence that margarine should remain fresh about a month after its printed label date. You can expect that once you have opened it, margarine will remain fresh for about one or two months, so you do not need to rush into using it.
If your margarine has been opened longer than a couple months, then chances are good that it is going to get stale, regardless of what the label says. If you are keeping margarine out for months at a time, it is important you know how to tell if your margarine has gone bad. If you notice no signs of your margarine tub getting worse, then you can automatically assume that it is safe to consume.
Margarine, particularly soft-bubbling margarine, may split into oil or water, as well as solids, if not kept refrigerated, though refrigerated margarine is safer. If the tub of margarine has been sitting in the back of the refrigerator for an extended period and is well past the expiration date, it will start to split. Like butter, margarine will develop mold if left in your fridge too long and past the expiration date. Margarine, just like any other kind of dairy, goes bad whether it is contaminated or if it is been sitting in the refrigerator beyond its expiration date.
|Storage Places||Shelf Life|
|Room Temperature||2-3 days|
It is fine to eat margarine after the expiration date as long as it has been stored in your freezer and has not shown any specific signs of spoilage. You can safely eat margarine after the expiration date if you stored it correctly and it has no signs of spoilage. With that said, you will want to avoid consuming margarine that has been sitting around for too long beyond its best-by date.
Since most margarines are sold with a best-by date that is between three and six months after production, this means margarine may remain in good condition for as long as one year. Unopened margarine should be good for a couple months beyond its best-by date, without any degradation to the product. An open margarine can have shorter shelf life if stored in a refrigerator, at best 1 to 2 months, and one that is open to storage in a freezer for 6 to 8 months.
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An unopened stick of margarine will last for around 4-5 months in the refrigerator, and if you want to keep it in its shelf life, place it in the freezer, where it will be good for 6-8 months. Keeping your margarine in the freezer keeps the product fresh for a lot longer than keeping it in the refrigerator. Margarine does not keep for long, but if you want to keep it longer, freezing it is a great option.
You can store smaller pieces of margarine outside the fridge for two to three days, but it will quickly spoil in room temperature. You do not want to leave the margarine out of the door, because each time you open the fridge, it is affected by a sudden change of temperature. In the fridge, margarine should be stored on an internal shelf instead of on the door because of frequent temperature fluctuations. As mentioned earlier, you can store your margarine in either the fridge on the inside shelf or the freezer covered with foil.
Because of the temperature-sensitivity of margarine, it is best to store your margarine in the inside of the refrigerator, where temperatures are cooler and more stable, rather than in the doors. When bringing it home from the store, you should try to store margarine in the original container. If your margarine is in the form of a wrapper, move it into a freezer-safe bag or container, then put it in your refrigerator. Whether you bought your margarine in sticks or in plastic tubs, it will have a best-by date on it, which you can use as a guide.
If you are months past your best-by date, do not hesitate to toss out the margarine and get a fresh, new margarine stick. The quality of unopened margarine will stay pristine for three or four months after the expiration date printed on the label. Margarine may keep 2-3 days at room temperature, 1-2 months in the refrigerator, and 6-8 months in the freezer. Leaving one stick or quart of solid margarine out at room temperature for one day should do, but manufacturers advise refrigerating tubular soft margarine immediately after use.
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Many manufacturers advise keeping soft margarine in the fridge immediately after use, to keep it from going rancid. Soft margarine contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that may turn rancid if left at room temperature. Some types of margarine, like the soft margarine found in tubs, go rancid faster than stick margarine.
Fat ratios, added salt, and other preservatives all will affect the amount of time that margarine stays good. Opened margarine only stays fresh for one month in the fridge before going rancid, so while it might be tempting to purchase those huge, discounted tubs of margarine, they are not worth the investment if you do not plan on eating all of that tub in one month. If you put your frozen margarine out on the counter to thaw, you risk having its ingredients re-assort quickly, changing the consistency and texture of your margarine. If you want to thaw the margarine, keeping it at room temperature is a good idea, but you will have to do it in smaller doses because it will go bad in that environment a lot quicker.
The molecular structure and ingredients in margarine allows for it to sit at room temperature for several days without the potential of damaging bacteria overgrowth. Even if it is used very quickly as it can be incorporated into every dish, it is still important to be aware of the amount of time that it is allowed to sit around. The FDA recommends using butter or margarine that is stored at room temperature for several days, as it still eventually goes bad.
Is margarine safe to eat if not refrigerated?
If not maintained chilled, margarine, especially soft tub margarine, can separate into water and oil or water and particles. It might be safe to consume, but it might not have the texture you’re after. Buttery spreads and margarine should both be kept on hand and refrigerated right away after usage.
How long does margarine last in the freezer?
With proper storage, margarine can last for 6 to 8 months in the freezer. This means that you can store it for much longer than you would be able to if you kept it in the fridge. In order to do this, you should always wrap it tightly in freezer-safe packaging.
How long does margarine last once opened?
Most margarine products will last for up to two months after being opened, as long as they are stored properly. However, some margarine products may only last for a few weeks before going bad. If your margarine starts to develop mold or an off odor, it should be discarded.