I continue to be pleasantly surprised to find out just how many things can be preserved without refrigeration, canning or freezing. Recently our local market had a great sale on butter, so I bought several pounds to preserve and keep in our root cellar. But the great thing about this preservation method is that you don’t need a canner! And since we don’t run a large storage freezer, this is a great alternative way to preserve large amounts of butter!
I love our goats and the milk God provides through them and have made a little butter from their milk. But the amount of cream contained in goat milk is a fraction of that found in cow milk, as well as more difficult to extract from the milk. A cream separator is low on our “to get” list, so I usually end up buying butter from the store at this point in our lives (although we do use lard as well). I keep a keen eye out for a sale on butter at the local market and then “pounce” and buy several pounds if I am able in order to stock up our pantry in a cost effective way.
The process to preserve butter is so easy and quick that if you blink before you read this entire blog post you might miss it! I started to type out my own instructions but found online the butter preserving recipe I had been given and have posted it below along with my own pictures and a few added notes.
1. Use any butter that is on sale. Lesser quality butter requires more shaking (see #8 below), but the results are the same as with the expensive brands:
2. Unwrap all the butter quarters and place them in a pot large enough to easily melt and process your butter:
3. Place pint jars in a cold oven without rings or seals and turn the heat to 250 degrees for at least 20 minutes. Place the jars directly on the rack or you may find a roasting pan works well for holding the pint jars while in the oven. One pound of butter slightly more than fills one pint jar, so if you melt 11 pounds of butter, heat 12 pint jars:
4. While the jars are heating, melt the butter slowly until it comes to a slow boil. Using a large spatula, stir the bottom of the pot often to keep the butter from scorching. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minimum of 5 minutes. A good simmer time will lessen the amount of shaking required (see #8 below):
Here’s what it looks like if it gets scorched a little:
5. You will notice a thick foam form at the top. You’ll need to continue stirring for several minutes until this foam begins to dissipate. The foam can get pretty thick:
And here it is with the foam dissipating:
6. In the meantime, place the jar lids in a small pot with water and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low and leave them simmering in hot water until needed:
7. After most of the foam has dissipated, stirring the melted butter from the bottom to the top with a soup ladle or small pot with a handle, pour the melted butter carefully into heated jars through a canning jar funnel. Leave 3/4″ of head space in the jar, which allows room for the shaking process. Carefully wipe off the top of the jars, then get a hot lid from the simmering water, add the lid and ring and tighten securely. Lids will seal as they cool:
8. Once a few lids “ping,” shake while the jars are still warm, but cool enough to handle easily, because the butter will separate and become foamy on top and white on the bottom. In a few minutes, shake again, and repeat until the butter retains the same consistency throughout the jar.
9. While cooling and hardening, shake again, and the melted butter will then look like butter and become firm. This final shaking is very important! Check every 5 minutes and give the jars a little shake until they are hardened in the jar:
10. Preserved butter should store for 3 years or longer on a cool, dark shelf. Preserved butter does not “melt” again when opened, so it does not need to be refrigerated upon opening, provided it is used within a reasonable length of time.
DISCLAIMER: There is information found on the internet claiming this is not a safe way to preserve butter because there is no official supporting information. But if the butter is kept in a cool dry place, it should be kept preserved for a long time. We have had no problems with it in our experience. However, these are my own personal thoughts and opinions. I would encourage you to do your own homework and proceed at your discretion.
NOTE: This form of preserved butter may taste a little more salty because of its condensed form. Use unsalted butter and add salt to your taste if this is of concern to you. I have had much success using it as-is in recipes and in our everyday uses for butter.
We have found this to be a great way to preserve butter in a cost-effective way for any lifestyle!