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What Are the Best Tips for Canning Butter?

By Patrick Lynch
Updated May 16, 2024
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Although the process of canning butter is becoming increasingly popular in 2011, there are governmental agencies that see it as unsafe. When canning butter, the chosen containers need to be heated while the butter which is to be stored is melted. The melted butter must be placed into the containers carefully and shaken on many times until the butter becomes hard in the refrigerator. It is difficult to say specifically how long canned butter can safely last, though several years does seem to be safe.

It is possible to can butter, a number of regulatory bodies do not approve of the practice. For example, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes that canning dairy products is dangerous. Yet proponents of the process of canning butter wonder why it is acceptable to purchase canned butter from stores if it is such a risk.

For canning butter, there seems to be little difference in results whether expensive or cheaper brands are used. Salted butter is recommended while margarine is not. Once suitable containers have been found, they should be sterilized by heating in an oven at a temperature of at least 482 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius) for 15-20 minutes. It should be noted that one pound of butter (454 grams) will require a container of more than 454 grams because butter is denser than water. In fact, 454 grams of butter will need a container of approximately 523 milliliters (ml) because 1 gram of melted butter equals about 1.152 ml.

The butter should be melted in a pot over a stove while the containers are being heated. As the butter is melting, it needs to be carefully watched and stirred, or else it will burn and stick to the bottom of the pot. The lids of the containers should be placed in hot water for a few minutes as a means of sterilization.

The containers can be taken from the oven after the allotted time and the melted butter must be poured into them with a funnel. As the butter will need to be shaken, 0.8 inches (2 cm) of space should be left between the butter and the top of the container. The tops of the containers should be wiped clean before the lids are taken from the water, still hot, and placed on the containers.

These lids must be tightened and allowed to cool as they will seal the container during the cooling process. When the containers are cool enough to handle, they can be shaken to ensure that the consistency of the butter in the jar stays the same from top to bottom. After the process is completed, the containers can be placed in the refrigerator to cool down but should be shaken occasionally as the butter becomes firmer.

The containers must be shaken until the butter becomes hard. Canning butter allows it to stay edible for at least three years and, perhaps, a lot longer. Those who store butter in this manner claim that it is safe, healthy, and delicious.

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Discussion Comments

By Krunchyman — On Oct 09, 2014

While I have had canned butter before, I have always preferred to store it in containers myself, instead of buying it from the store. I have never been the biggest fan of canned foods, and reading this article (along with Chmander's comment) further proves my point that canned foods can be rather dangerous. Like with many things, there are exceptions, but it's still a good idea to be cautious.

By Euroxati — On Oct 08, 2014

This article does a good job at showing that there are many ways in which butter can be used. While there are those who see butter as nothing more than a substance which melts easily, and that you can spread on your toast, this sentiment proves false. Whether it's safe or a complete risk, canning butter really shows what can be done with even the most unusual of food products, and one can only wonder what kinds of uses we'll find for butter in the future.

By Chmander — On Oct 07, 2014

Not only was I not aware that you couldn't can butter, but even more so, I'm quite surprised to hear that it's as early as 2011. Speaking of which, I don't know why people would want to do it in the first place, especially considering how butter melts rather easily, and generally speaking, seems to work rather well in the average container.

While reading the article, I also noticed how it's mentioned that it's supposedly dangerous, and that even government agencies agree with this sentiment. While I've never had experience with canned butter, I can certainly see where they're coming from. In fact, let's look at it this way. It's not just butter, but in general, many canned foods can be considered dangerous, especially if they stay in there for too long.

Considering how the food is completely surrounded by metal, there's always the possibility that overtime, the metal from inside the can, will begin to break down and "leak" inside of the food product. Poisoning from canned food products is one of those things that people don't pay attention to that often. However, that's because it's a gradual process, and it can take years before you see any effects. This is one of the reasons why my parents have always told me to remove tuna fish from the can immediately after I open it.

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