Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bottled Butter Part 2

In case any of you missed my first experience bottling butter, check it out here before reading the rest of this post. I'll wait . . .

Okay, back now? So the two main problems with bottling butter were 1-not high enough temperature to kill botulism spores, and 2-jar lids did not seal completely even though they "popped" down.

Chef Tess commented that she pressure cans her butter, and in my half scientific opinion, that would theoretically solve both problems. It would definitely get the butter hotter (hot enough for any other food to be past the fear of botulism growing), and the lids would seal securely since it was heated so long in the canner. You can your butter using the same canning time and pressure as if you were canning meat (check your canner's instructions--I can my meat 55 mins at 12 lbs). Then proceed with the shake shake shake as it cools to avoid separation.

So I called my local extension agent who told me in effect that there is no research to show that pressure canning butter works. (Which also means there is no research to show it doesn't work.) She sent me to the FAQ section of the National Center for Home Food Preservation, but it only discusses the problems with the non-pressure-canned method. The major concern is the possible extent to which the fat in the butter could protect those nasty dangerous little botulism spores which may or may not be present to begin with from cooking to death during the canning process. She told me if I want to bottle butter in the pressure canner to do it at my own risk, but she wouldn't do it and for sure wouldn't do it using the non-pressure-canning method.

So there you have it. I'm not in any real hurry to bottle more butter (I usually just keep a bunch in the freezer), but if I wanted to, I would feel pretty safe using the pressure canning method. But just in case you die from botulism tainted bottled butter, I didn't recommend it. ;)

Oh yeah, of course click COMMENTS and keep reading!

10 comments:

Chef Tess said...

Very interesting indeed. I know there are companies that commercially can butter in metal cans using pressure and high heat in the same manner, so I don't see the issue. But...if the extension office says not to, what to do? It seems way odd to me that every other fatty meat and oil can be pressure canned though. Especially given the fact that fat wouldn't protect the spores, but heat them hotter than liquid. Oil gets hotter than 212 degrees--it's a heat transfer--ever used a deep fryer...much hotter(unlike liquid). I'm very curious. I have a friend who is a micro biologist/biochemist and will have to talk with her in depth on this subject. I personally am not at all concerned about canning the butter. I'm seriously not arguing either...just find it interesting. Now I'm off to the science lab. This is worth further study.

Chef Tess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chef Tess said...

Well, from what my friend says, I think you are right. I will not go with canning butter either. Until it is canned in the USA and approved. The butter cans you do find online are from New Zealand, and there is really no guarantee that it is safe. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. She also agreed about the spores being protected by the fat. So there you go. I am totally wrong (I can admit that right?). Gulp. Now to go throw away some butter. Guess butter takes like 18 hours to boil out the spores. Yikes...time to buy some of that fake Orville Redenbacher butter flavored oil...or powder...or yucky Crisco.

Kemari Nielson said...

Hey cousin! again let me express how I have no skills like you and I feel so inadequate when I look at your blog! Super woman indeed! I do have a random question... are you or do you teach this stuff? I am the Enrichment leader in the ward and would love to show off your skills maybe in May? let me know, we'll feed ya! I can always return the favor, somehow... maybe to babysit when you come into town?

Sharla said...

Yeah, so I've still got like what? 6 bottles of butter on my shelf that I need to dispose of but never get around to. Oh well.

HermitJim said...

Anyone that doesn't want to keep their canned butter, feel free to send it to me! I love the stuff...and have been canning my own and eating both mine and the N.Z. butter for well over a year, with no ill effects.

I, for one, am not basing my manner of canning or bottling anything on a system that allows already tainted peanut butter to get passed on to the consumer. I think that common sense and following the leadership of the old timers is a far better way to go.

Sorry, didn't mean to write a book here. I love your blog, by the way!

Angela said...

Tess and Jim--I guess it's do it at your own risk. There are other people who do it and swear by it--heck, we got our instructions out of a published food storage cookbook! I might do the pressure canned way, but really didn't trust the seal on the hot canned butter.

Kemari--I'm glad you keep checking in even if you feel inadequate! I'd love to come out and do an enrichment with you! Would be nice to see you all again! Send me an email off my profile page and we can talk specifics. Thanks!

Olivia said...

So today I called my local extension agent too and she gave an unequivocal NO to the canning of butter- for all the reasons you all have already discussed.

She did, however, say that BYU and Utah State have teamed up to research the possibility of safely bottling butter. They're just in the beginning stages of the research, so I guess we'll know soon enough.

I hope they do find a definitively safe way to do it because I love me some butter! And I cannot imagine having to go without it in an emergency. ;-)

Chef Tess said...

I'm with you Olivia! When you hear from Utah State, let me know! I'd love to have their food science dept. behind it! Especially because I am a huge Aggie fan! Cache valley seemes the perfect place to get this figured out!

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Hmmmm...This is all very interesting. I'm one of those who did can butter back in November using the original method you talked of. Mine all sealed. I haven't used any yet (Was thinking of them as long-term storage.) Now you've got me wondering. I'll have to do a bit more research, too. Glad to hear that they're working ok for the Hermit. Thanks for the heads-up on what to be careful of!