Thursday, May 20, 2010
One of my most favorite additions to my food storage is butter. Canned butter. When I first heard this I didn’t really believe it. But it is true. You can and it is not hard to do. Actually it is fun. If you do this close to a holiday, you can usually find butter on sale. Buy it when it’s on sale and freeze it until you have enough to make a batch of this. Every time I see these little jars of butter in my food supply, it makes me smile. The recipe suggests using pints, I used half pints. If I were using this and had no refrigeration, I wouldn’t want to open a jar bigger than what I could use up quickly. Here is how it’s done:
1. Heat half-pint jars in a 250º oven for 20 minutes, without rings or seals. One pound of butter slightly more than fills two half pint jars, so if you melt 11 pounds of butter, heat 12 pint jars or about 24 half pints or a combination of the two. A roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet works well for holding the pint jars while in the oven.
2. While the jars are heating, melt 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 heat and simmer for 5 minutes at least: a good simmer time will lessen the amount of shaking required (see #4 below). Place the lids in a small pot and bring to a boil, leaving the lids in simmering water until needed.
3. 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 inch of head space in the jar, which allows room for the shaking process.
4. 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. 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.
5. At this point, while still slightly warm, put the jars into a refrigerator. 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! Leave in the refrigerator for an hour.
6. Canned butter should store for 3 years or longer on a cool, dark shelf. It does last a long time. It has been tested and it was fine after 5 years. Canned 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.