Canned Butter

Today I found a link for canning butter. We can peas, beans, tomatoes and now I've canned butter. The Indians have been canning butter for a long time. It's called ghee. Seems like a nice thing to have tucked away on the pantry shelf.

It's pretty simple actually. Start with butter. One pound of butter will fill a one pint jar with a table spoon or so left over. So decide how many pounds of butter you want to can and collect an equivalent number of jars with one extra for the extra butter.

Place sterilized jars in a roasting pan in the oven at 250° F for 20 minutes.

While the jars are heating, begin melting the butter. Use a pan that is a lot larger than the amount of butter you'll be melting. You'll be boiling the butter. Butter foams and pops as it boils so a lot of head space in the pot is a good thing. Also think about long sleeves, long pants, oven mitts, shoes and even safety glasses to keep hot, flying butter from sensitive body parts.

In a small pan, start some water heating. This is to sterilize the jar lids used to close the jars.

In another pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue heating until the butter begins to boil. Stir so that the butter doesn't scorch. This is boiled butter, not browned butter; so avoid scorching. Once the butter boils, turn down the heat and let the butter boil for five more minutes. For frozen butter, the melting, boiling and simmering will take the 20 minutes that it takes for the jars to heat in the oven. The jar lids will have reached a boil during this time period as well.

Remove the jars from the oven. Using a canning funnel, ladle or pour the butter into the jars. Leave 3/4 inch of head space (You'll be shaking the butter later). When the jar has been filled to the appropriate level, place a lid and ring on the jar. After tightening the ring, set the jar aside. Don't shake at this point...I tried. Bad idea. The butter comes flying out.

When you start to hear the ping of sealed jars, it's time to shake the butter. The butter separates into clarified butter and milk solids during the boiling process. Shaking while the butter is cooling will recombine these components. With no shaking, the butter will solidify into separate layers. If that happens, it's not the end of the world. After shaking for a bit, place the butter in the refrigerator, wait five minutes and then shake again. Keep doing this while the butter cools, until it achieves a consistent, single layer. But as I said, if you have to pick the kids up from school, or go to soccer, and the butter doesn't get shaken, it will still turn out ok.

I plan on canning more butter when I find it on sale. I've read that it will keep for three years when stored in a cool, dark pantry. I can't attest to that since I've only just canned my first batch of butter. Canned butter is also said to not need refrigeration after opening if used within a reasonable period of time. Although next time around, I think I'll use half-pint jars. Canned butter seems such a handy thing to have in the pantry. After all butter stored in the freezer isn't going to stay frozen if there's a long term power outage.


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