I'm a bit of a food storage/preparedness junkie, but in a good way. Thankfully it's recommended...you can see so yourself in Doctrine & Covenants 109:8.
I've been wanting to try canning butter for a while now, but life always gets in the way. Until now!
Out here in the west there is a grocery store called Macey's. I really like this store, it is open 24 hours, it has a great "feel" and they are closed on Sunday. They also have a perks program and email specials that they do not advertise in-store. That is how I was notified of the sale they recently had on butter...$1.88 per pound. For reference one could easily find butter for $2.50 per pound on a pretty regular basis. So yeah, that's a great price.
My good friend's mom is ridiculously knowledgeable about canning and food storage. I am house sitting for them right now and she left instructions and all the accessories necessary to take on 18 pounds of butter. Following are her instructions accompanied by photos I took along the process, and some commentary.
1. Real butter is best but margarine works too. DO NOT USE UNSALTED BUTTER.
2. Heat half-pint or pint jars in the oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.
Heat lids (flat piece) in boiling water, then turn down to low heat.
* I used half-pint jars because the way I see it is it will be easier to go through a half-pint jar of butter than a pint or quart if/when I'm in a place without refrigeration. Because once you open these pretties they will need to be kept cold just like normal butter.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan; boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Don't forget to prep your space...
4. Stir and ladle the butter and whey into the hot jars, using a funnel to keep butter off the rims.
5. Wipe rims off, then place the hot lid and ring on the jar.
(no photo, but I think you get the idea)
I used an area to the left of the stove top to ladle the boiling butter into the hot jars, secure lids & rings and then transferred the jars to the cooling racks. Fill the jars one at a time. The jars are super hot and you're making them hotter by putting boiling butter inside, you don't need the jars or the butter to cool through this process before you get a chance to put the lid/rings on. You also don't want to risk burning yourself by doing too much at once...see my "oops" below.
The photo below shows what the butter looks like when it's hot right after you've finished steps 4 & 5.
6. Shake jars every 5 minutes over the next 20 minutes.
7. Put the jars in the refrigerator & shake every 10 - 15 minutes. Eventually the butter will stop separating as it hardens.
You'll see it really start to firm by about your second or third shake in the fridge. You'll also notice it go from an apple juice yellow to a whiter/creamish yellow.
Leave in fridge 1 hour more, then you can store it.
Look at that...
Such an awesome thing...I'm giddy thinking about the last dozen jars sitting in the fridge right now.
Bottled butter can store on your shelf for 3 years.
If you want delicious "browned butter" stir less during cooking & boil 7 - 8 minutes. It will be darker in color and apparently it tastes like heaven.
For reference I was able to fit 3 pounds of butter in 7 half-pint jars.
Keep in mind when you cook the butter it boils the water out so you end up with less butter than what you started with. I started with 18 pounds of fresh butter and it produced 42 half-pint jars of canned butter (plus a little tiny jar seen on top of the box in the above picture.)
If my math is correct (and that's doubtful) I figured each jar of butter cost approx. $1.36. (This doesn't count my oops below.)
The oops: while I was multitasking I dropped a jar. Technically I think it popped out of my hand, the jar part that is. I am not quite sure if the lid wasn't on properly or if it was literally forced off by the heat, either way I can't get all the butter cleaned up off the floor. So the casualty was the contents of one jar, but the jar didn't break... testament to the Mainstays brand. I like them too because they're plain (no quilted look) and simple.
If you're a friend and want a hand or some company while you do this just let me know...if you're close I'll just come visit. If not I'll happily accept payment for my time in the form of an airline ticket.
If you have any questions just leave a comment...I'll do my best to answer or get an answer from the queen.
Here's the last thing, some people say "why can butter?" and I say "why not can butter?!" I don't have a job, much less a home or a generator at the moment, but I do recognize the need to be prepared. I also know that the woman that left me the directions and accessories to make this happen DOES have a generator and even she doesn't leave it up to the freezer/refrigerator to keep all of her food stored. Because yes, butter can be frozen, but I really don't think that's the point people.