As a person who keeps at least 1kg of butter on hand at all times, I’m constantly cycling blocks of the stuff between my freezer, fridge and butter dish. Recently, though, I found myself in an unthinkable predicament: I was out of butter. I dug around in the back of my freezer, and behind a half-empty bag of frozen dumplings and some chicken stock, I found one last box.
Sadly, that butter sure tasted like it had spent some time rubbing elbows with pork and leek dumplings. Freezers, especially older ones, have weird smells — and the longer a fatty, aroma-absorbing substance such as butter sits in a fragrant environment, the more likely it is to absorb unwanted odours.
The best way to prevent this is to use up frozen butter before it has a chance to take on any funky smells — a couple of weeks at most — but if you rely on your freezer for longterm storage, it’s best to wrap it in something airtight.
When it comes to freezer-proofing butter, you have a couple of options. Wrapping individual boxes or blocks in heavy-duty aluminium foil works great, but multiple layers of plastic wrap will do in a pinch.
For extra insurance, pop the wrapped butter in a heavy-duty freezer storage bag and press out excess air; if you have one, I imagine a vacuum sealer would be even better. Any material that’s thick and can be wrapped tightly will do the job.
Once properly wrapped, butter will keep in the freezer for a very long time: Six months for unsalted, a year for salted. Labelling it with the purchase date before freezing will help you keep track.
To thaw, just leave frozen butter in the fridge overnight or out on the counter for a couple of hours. If you’re in a rush, microwave each it for a few seconds per side, and repeat until softened to your liking.