My Wife Leaves the Butter Dish out, but I Like It in the Fridge | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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My Wife Leaves the Butter Dish out, but I Like It in the Fridge


Published July 3, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

  • ID 194505789 © Xsviatx | Dreamstime

Dear Reverend,

For the 15 years we've been married, my wife has always left the butter dish out on the kitchen counter. I firmly believe it belongs in the refrigerator. I always put it back in, and then she takes it out again. It's like a never-ending butter back-and-forth. Can you settle this debate once and for all?

Oli O. (man, 43)

Dear Oli O.,

Full disclosure: I've been a lifelong member of Team Leave-It-Out. I like to believe it's because of my French Canadian roots, but it could simply be that I don't enjoy cold butter ripping up my toast in the morning.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says butter is safe at room temperature but leaving it out for more than a few days may cause the flavor to turn rancid. It suggests only leaving out an amount that can be used in one or two days.

According to the American Butter Institute, different types of butter have different recommendations for proper storage. Salted butter is fine to leave out at room temperature anywhere from a few days to two weeks. It should be kept in a covered container, and if the room temperature goes above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be put in the fridge.

Unsalted and whipped butters are more perishable. They can be taken out of the fridge to soften for 30 to 60 minutes but should not be left out for an extended period of time. Any unpasteurized butter should always be refrigerated.

Settling your debate would involve a deep dive into details of your butter that I don't have. What I suggest instead is that you become a two-butter-dish family. One can live on the counter and the other in the fridge. Bingo-bango — everybody's happy.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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