The daily meal and snack of millions, we make our peanut butter, and jelly (Pb&j) sandwiches on wheat bread, white bread, whole grain, rye, and pumpernickel.
However, the type of bread we make our peanut butter and jelly sandwich on has little to do with its freshness, or does it?
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich bread will get dry and stale long before its ingredients go to ruin.
So, refrigerating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is more necessary to preserve the bread than the ingredients.
Like many questions, there is not a yes or no here.
Whether you refrigerate your Pb&j or not is up to you. It also depends on whether you are eating it in a few hours or tomorrow.
Continue reading to learn whether peanut butter and jelly sandwiches need to be refrigerated or not.
Do peanut butter and jelly sandwiches need to be refrigerated?
If you eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich within 24 hours of making it and wrap it well, it does not require refrigeration. However, the longer your sandwich is unrefrigerated, the drier the bread will become, even though the peanut butter and jelly filling should be fine.
Why doesn’t peanut butter need to be refrigerated?
You don’t have to refrigerate commercial peanut butter. However, the oils will begin to get stale after about 30 days.
If you go through a jar of peanut butter every month, refrigeration shouldn’t be a problem, as your peanut butter won’t have time to spoil.
However, for those of you who can’t eat a jar of peanut butter for a month, putting it in the refrigerator can extend its shelf life to six months instead of 30 days.
Natural peanut butter, made by some packers, is nothing more than ground peanuts with little else added.
This type of peanut butter must be refrigerated after opening or spoil quickly.
Why doesn’t jelly need to be refrigerated?
Most commercial jelly indicates on their product’s label to refrigerate after opening.
However, do you need to refrigerate your jelly?
Jelly has two things going for it that prevent it from going bad at room temperature.
First, jelly is acidic, and bacteria will not grow well in an acidic environment.
Second, jelly has very little water remaining after it is processed.
This absence of water and the presence of acid gives jelly a pH of about 3.0, which is considered strongly acidic.
Thus, jelly makes an inferior medium for bacterial growth.
Opening and closing the lid or your jelly will introduce small amounts of germs as it is used.
You will also put utensils into it, which can introduce bacteria. With all of this activity, the unrefrigerated jelly will begin to spoil.
About that bread, your peanut butter and jelly sandwich is made with
Not all bread is the same, as we know. Some are white and made from bleached flour, while others are whole wheat.
Other loaves of bread can have raisins and nuts added before baking, which gives them an entirely different quality.
Does the bread your Pb&j is made with make a difference in refrigerating your sandwich?
It can be because some bread dries out much quicker than other slices of bread.
Take your basic white bread.
If we leave a piece of it lying on the counter, it will be dry as toast in a few hours.
The same will happen to a Pb&j made in about 24 hours.
Even if you wrap your Pb&j well, it will lose its initial quality if unrefrigerated.
The drying process slows if you wrap it well; however, overall, a pb&j will last longer and stay fresher if refrigerated.
Other pieces of bread will dry out, too, if not refrigerated. For example, wheat or whole grain bread tends to be a little moister than white loaf bread; however, it will also turn to dust if subjected to too much air.
Homemade loaves of bread made without the preservatives of store-bought bread will begin to mold rather quickly.
Erring to the side of caution with Pb&j
Although peanut butter and jelly are safe to leave out at room temperature, you will extend their shelf life by refrigerating them both. They will last longer if you do so.
As for those sandwiches, if you are using refrigerated peanut butter and jelly to make them, it would be best to keep them refrigerated.
When cold items come to room temperature, they tend to sweat. So, making your Pb&j from cold products may make them soggy once they warm up and come to room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions About Do Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Need to be Refrigerated
Do I need to refrigerate jam?
Like jelly, fruit jam is highly acidic, and you can keep it at room temperature after opening.
Do Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches made with natural peanut butter need to be refrigerated?
If you are serving them within a few hours of being made, refrigerating them is unnecessary. If you eat your sandwich much later, like tomorrow, you need to refrigerate it. It is not that it will go spoiled overnight. However, the bread could become dry, making your sandwich less appetizing.