Stroage of Butter

Butter is essentially a perishable product. It should not be stored for a long period.However, when production exceeds the demand it becomes inevitable to store butter. Only butter made in hygienic conditions should be selected for storage. Good quality butter should keep good for 7 days at 20°C, 20 days at 10°C and 30 days in a refrigerator without significant decrease in quality. Storage for longer period (6 months) must be at –12 to –15°C to avoid loss of quality. During storage in deep freezer, salt crystals may develop at lower temperatures. However, the crystallized particles re-dissolve on thawing at ambient temperature.

During storage some changes in the quality of butter may occur particularly in salted-ripened butter. These changes may be physical, chemical or rheological.Butter may loose its weight and shrink due to the loss of moisture. Therefore,allowance must be provided to compensate for the possible evaporation losses of moisture while packaging butter. The loss of moisture depends on the following factors:

i) Type of packaging material- Use of moisture proof materials reduces losses.

ii) Moisture in butter-If the moisture present in butter is more in free form, then losses are more.

iii) Size of pats-The smaller size pats loose more moisture.

iv) Temperature of storage-Higher temperature causes more shrinkage losses.

v) Relative humidity-Higher the relative humidity of storage room lower is the loss of moisture. But higher humidity may favour mould growth and hence not desired.

vi) Period of storage- Longer the storage period higher is the loss in weight of butter.

The keeping quality of butter made from good quality cream under hygienic conditions depends upon its temperature of storage, degree of freedom from metallic contamination, exposure to light, salt content, curd content, acidity and air content.Higher contents of salt, acidity, curd, air and use of raw cream decreases the keeping quality. Also higher temperature of storage, exposure to light and metallic contamination reduce the shelf life of butter. Sweet cream and unsalted butter has the maximum shelf life while acid cream and salted ripened butter has the minimum storagability.

Butter is usually transported in a refrigerated transport system maintained at – 23°C in bulk packages (i.e. secondary packing) to the whole-sellers. The temperature during the entire period of distribution should be preferably maintained at least in the range of – 18 to – 29°C. In retail shop, again it must be stored in deep-freezers at –18 to –20°C. It should only be taken out of the freezer at the time of delivering to the customer.

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