Here at HuffPost Taste, our week is basically comprised of reading about food, tasting food, learning about new foods, cooking food and then synthesizing it all into (we hope) coherent thoughts to share. We try our best to be organized, but sometimes things get a little chaotic. Last week, as we did some taste test shopping for frozen natural football foods (yep, that's a work errand around here), we tried to kill two birds with one stone and also shop for our natural vs. regular peanut butter taste test. Perhaps you see where this is going.
As we unpacked our frozen foods for tasting the next day, we realized that one of the peanut butters we'd bought was forgotten in the bottom of the bag and was now a leaden, frozen, deadly peanut butter missile. "A whole jar of peanut butter ruined," we thought. But wait. Can you freeze peanut butter? A quick internet search did not yield hopeful results. Actually, a quick internet search of "can you freeze," was pretty enlightening about people's comfort level with sticking something in the freezer.
Anyway, back to peanut butter. The conventional wisdom seems to be that freezing will cause the oils and solids in your peanut butter to separate, and once they've separated, you won't be able to emulsify them again after it's defrosted. Lucky for us, we tend to ignore conventional wisdom, so we let this jar of 365 Organic Peanut Butter slowly defrost at one of our desks. After a full 24 hours we opened it up, and guess what? No discernible change in flavor, appearance or texture. We had successfully diffused the peanut butter missile and turned it back into regular old food.
Our success emboldened us and led us to another question: does frozen peanut butter taste good? Could you, instead of a spoon of peanut butter from the cupboard, eat peanut butter like ice cream? In order to test this idea, we stuck our jar of peanut butter back in the freezer. Bad news on this front, frozen peanut butter just tastes like really cold peanut butter. There's nowhere near enough liquid in it to give it a pleasant iciness, or to tremendously change the texture. However, there is a silver lining: not only can you freeze peanut butter, you can defrost it, re-freeze it and defrost again. This particular jar of peanut butter did not suffer in texture or flavor from the temperature roller coaster we forced it to board.
The last lingering question: do you need to freeze peanut butter? No, not really. Most commercial peanut butters have a shelf life of about a year. If it is genuinely taking you longer than a few months to go through a jar of peanut butter, you can probably stick it in the fridge to prolong its life, without having to worry about the cumbersome defrosting process. If, say, you are leaving the country for six months and want to preserve the jar of peanut butter you just bought (we don't know your life), you can stick that peanut butter jar in the freezer and rest easy.