The Battle of Bottled Butter Continues

by Kellene

As crazy as it sound, I periodically engage in debates with another person or a cause privately in my mind. Ok. Yes, sometimes I do say things out loud just to see how they sound.  It’s how I formulate an articulate and sound argument on a particular issue.  I think I started it as a teenager when I plotted how I was going to rationally get away with pushing the envelope with my mother’s rules.  So, today, I am going to let you in on an argument that I’ve been having with myself and the imaginary USDA persons who believe that bottled butter is bad due to potential botulism poisoning.  I still hear so many of the concerns caused by the fictional USDA warnings about bottling butter. And I think it’s ridiculous—as is clearly noted in my previous article. So hear it goes folks…

First of all...why in the world would the USDA say that bottling your own butter increases the risk of botulism?? I may not be a scientist, but I do know what kills botulism:  heat and oxygen; 180 degrees of heat, to be exact, for about 20- 30 minutes. When I purchase my butter from the store, can I safely assume that there is no botulism in it when I buy it? Isn’t it fair to say that the manufacturers of the butter properly pasteurized it to eliminate botulism?  Um, I would certainly think so.  So, Mr. USDA, help me understand why is it that you are concerned that if I take my store bought butter from my refrigerator, put it in a pan and heat it for 15 to 20 minutes, which also exposes it to oxygen, which kills the botulism, and then transfer it to sanitized jars and seal it, that somewhere in that process I’m introducing botulism bacteria into my butter?! Botulism, by the way, originates from spores found in the soil!? Last time I checked I haven’t been able to grow butter in my garden. Botulism needs low oxygen, comfy temps, AND low acidity to thrive.  It’s not like I’m bottling my butter in the middle of my garden or field out back.  Yes, botulism is serious. You can’t see it, smell it, or detect it other than in a laboratory. So let’s be serious about it instead of spreading unfounded risks.  The growth of botulism requires low oxygen, low acidity, AND a comfortable temperature. Extreme hot or cold, along with the elimination of oxygen --AFTER the butter has been exposed to oxygen, is enough to cause the bacteria to become dormant.  Notice I said dormant-not eliminated.

In the past I have bottled my butter with a combination of the stove top, sanitized jars, a funnel, and shaking the contents for a while after bottling them. But lately I’ve been tweaking my method and am excited with the fact that I’ve made the process easier AND safer!  (I keep telling you all that I’m the laziest preparedness person you will ever meet. And what do they say about lazy people?  Give a lazy person a job and they will find an even easier way to do it.) hee hee

For starters, remember one thing about a solar oven.  It can easily reach 180 degrees and maintain that level with a modest amount of sun coverage.

Secondly, remember that you cannot burn or scorch anything in a solar oven. Thus, instead of having my butter melt in a saucepan on my stove for a long enough period of time that will  eliminate the botulism concerns, I’ve begun melting the butter in my solar oven.  This eliminates the oft-hyped concern that most bottle butter naysayers have to contribute about the process. At 180 degrees you are cooking low and slow. Botulism doesn’t have a chance in that environment.  This is why I teach folks that they can also use their solar oven to sanitize bandages, dishes, and medical supplies.  Heck, you can even pasteurize water in your solar oven!

My solar oven has simplified the bottled butter process substantially.  I take ½ pound of butter and put it in a sanitized ½ pint mason jar.  Then I add a single marble to the jar as well. (This will aid me in the shaking process.)  Then I put a lid on the jar, and screw it down tightly.  I melt the butter in the solar oven for about an hour—PLENTY of time!  The lids seal nicely and the butter melts beautifully without getting brown or scorched.

Then I cool off the jars of butter in the house, shaking them every 10 minutes for the first ½ hour of cooling. Then I put them in the refrigerator and continue to shake them every 10 minutes for the next half hour (the marble REALLY helps in this regard).  From there the golden jars of delight are stored downstairs in my cool, dry pantry for approximately 3 to 5 years.  No funnel, no mess, and no worries about botulism. Now when I make homemade bread, I can enjoy the taste of REAL butter on it, instead of the powdered stuff—even if there were no electricity for months and months.

Ah, freedom. You’ve just got to love it! Now, I feel so much better after this rant. How about you? *grin*

(Author’s note: I prefer the Global Sun Oven for its superior insulation, heat retention, seal, and sturdiness.  You can find them on Five Star Preparedness for a good, everyday price which includes drop shipping right to your door.)

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Comments

I thought I knew about pretty much everything that was out there, but I had never heard of home-bottled butter until I read your blog. I had heard of store-bought canned butter, which sells for astronomically-high prices, but never this.

How do you protect your glass jars in case of earthquake?

Preparedness Pro's picture

Good question, Katie. Actually, I wrap the jars in newspapers and put them in the 4 gallon square buckets. Others have used extra thick rubber bands on the center belly of the jars.

I love it! I like jarring butter. I don't like people telling me that I may kill my family doing it. (please! show me 1 case!) I'm definitely going to try the sun oven method because it seems so much simpler than the jars in the oven, boiling butter in the pot method. Thank you :)

Oh, dear - the info I have on botulism is different than yours.

Mine is that botulism grows in anaerobic (oxygen free) low-to-non-acidic environments. Which is why we can water-bath can high-acid tomatoes, but not low acid green beans (unless we add vinegar to increase the acidity). And why you don't get botulism from non-canned items, since they are in an aerobic environment (not that you can't get other food born illnesses from them).

Not that I can knowledgeably comment on canning butter, mind you!

Preparedness Pro's picture

FernWise, oxygen free AND low acid AND a comfortable temp. grow botulism. If you take one of those components out of the formula, then you have sufficiently battled botulism. When you expose the butter to high heat, oxygen and then put them in a sealed, cool environment, you cause the botulism to be dormant. I sure did try to make this clear in the article. But I'm not always successful in conveying what's in my head.

I have bottled a 100 pounds of salted and no-salt butter into 1/2 pint jars. I have used them up to about 4 years later after being stored in my root cellar. Absolutely no problem. So just like every other govenment agency the USDA is serving its industrial masters.

Not us

I went back and forth on this butter thing for a long time after reading one of your post on the subject. Like you, I mentally argued both sides. Here's the conclusion I came to: If I can take a piece of what is surely bacteria laden raw pork (yes, I've seen the videos of meat processing plants and they're disgusting),push it into a jar, and can it according to proper canning procedures, and have it come out safe to eat, I know for SURE I can take relatively clean butter, heat it up, put it in a jar, pressure can it, and have it be perfectly safe to consume as well. Yes, you read it right. I pressure can my butter. I decided, that for added peace of mind, I would treat it like other protein and process it at 11 pound of pressure for 75 minutes in my pressure canner...just to ally all fears. It worked perfectly.

I feel confident in the solar oven method you described as well and will try it on the next sunny day. (I have a stash of butter waiting to be canned in my freezer.) Couldn't you sanitize your jars with the solar oven as well?

All that aside, I can't trust the USDA on this matter. The are so heavily influenced by the powerful dairy lobby who would like us to believe that we're idiots, and can't process our own dairy goods.

Thanks for the article.

Preparedness Pro's picture

Yes, you can use the solar oven to sanitize your jars, dishes, bandages, clothing, etc.

Where did you get the solar ovens?

Five Star Preparedness.com

According to wikipedia butter contains 1 percent protein. Many, if not most butter packages say there is no protein in butter. So I wonder if it is a good idea to pressure can it. The wiki article also stats that ghee butter (butter cooked to 120C) can keep for up to six to eight months under normal conditions. Ghee is what the Asian Indians use in their cooking. So the real question is how much protein requires pressure canning and will the protein in butter (milk proteins) cause the same problems as meat protein?

Wiki is not an expert on any topic it posts. It is accumulated by lay persons who put in their information.
I'm having difficulty following you logic here. I pressure can raw meat all the time--delicious!
If you see a product commercially canned in the market place, then you know that you too can can it under pressure, heat, or oxygen absorbing methods, depending on what the product is. Butter is pressure canned and sold commercially in most of Europe and on a small scale here in the U.S.
Expiration dates are not created by USDA or any supposed food authority. They are created by lawyers and have nothing to do with taste, quality, or safety.
As for the marble, glass is significantly less expensive than lead. Unless you're getting your marbles from some freakazoid market in a third world nation, there should be no problem with lead contaminants. The marble is necessary for giving your butter a nice and smooth texture and evenly distributing the cooling off so you don't get any curdled particles.

I love all your articles! I too, plan on canning butter but like katzcradul was going to pressure can it. Do you think pressure canning would change the butter in some way? Thanks a bunch!

Preparedness Pro's picture

It does change the consistency...a bit more "grainy" but it's still usable just fine.

Right, the texture is not quite as creamy but the taste is the same. The only way I really notice any different is if you eat it cold. If you spread it on warm toast, on a hot muffin, etc., you won't notice any difference and certaily not in cooking with it.

So let's talk about the eggs I slathered with mineral oil last Oct and still haven't quite gotten around to use them....am I a chicken?

Preparedness Pro's picture

Blithe, the nice thing about eggs is that your nose will tell you when it's not ok. The last big batch I did is now 7 months old and I've been using them joyfully without any snag. However, the old eggs do not work well for creating fluffy egg whites. But I've been able to use them in every other way just fine and dandy.
Yes, you're "chicken"--excuse the pun.

blithe, I did the mineral oil thing and I did not flip the eggs. The eggs were good for 4 months with no problems after 6 months they smelled a bit off, so I tossed the eggs.
From what I heard from some military buddies flipping or rotating the eggs will get you a good 6-9 months. That's how the US Navy stores eggs for long deployments. The Navy guys recommended cutting a couple of egg cartons in half and place the eggs so they are easily flipped and protected then marking them top and bottom with odd or even and you just flip the eggs based on the calendar date if it was odd or even.
If you are worried just crack an egg into a bowl outside then smell it. If you are worried about it toss the eggs and chalk it up to learning cost.
My test was with store bought eggs. The farm fresh ones never last long enough to test. :)

Preparedness Pro's picture

Jamie,
The flipping of the eggs is important and is a part of my instructions. A farmer taught it to me and then a scientist explained the "why" of it to me.

I have a question ,we live in Fl and do not have cellars here. How can we store our buckets of food for 10 or more years? How can we build a cellar? If we dig our soil caves in. Please advise.
Thanks,
k

Preparedness Pro's picture

Karlene,
I have a couple of answers for you.
1) if you have no where under ground level to store things, then I'd store them underneath the beds and at the back of the closets. I also make use of the deep bookshelves that I have and store some items behind the books. This way there is no direct heat on them and the books essentially insulate them for heat or cold. I also store some items behind my sofas--the ones that are right over a vent. Again, this way they are not in direct heat or light, and when the A/C is on, they get the first exposure to the cool air. In addition to this, I put anything out in the garage/shed that I possibly can instead of taking up valuable space in the home. For example, I have lots of medical and hygiene supplies such as bandages, toothbrushes, isoproyl alcohol, etc that certainly do not need anything more than organization and accessibility. So storing those in the garage is no problem. This leaves me more room for the items that have a higher priority for the cooler shelter.
2) When I lived in FL I had a hurricane/tornado shelter that I also used as a cellar. Yes, it takes some work other than just digging. But even for my lazy butt, it wasn't that much work and was well worth the effort. Besides, it made sure that I also had food and water in the event I got stuck down there for long periods of time. :-)

Don't you wish the naysayers would just leave you alone sometimes? The USDA is just another government organization that wants to CONTROL every aspect of our lives. Next thing you know they'll be coming after us because we can our own meat and bottle our butter. Good Grief! Keep up the good work, Kellene--we love you!

Oops--forgot to ask you about the jars in the solar oven. I have a Global Sun Oven too and I love it BTW! My question is...do you put the jars of butter directly on the floor of the oven or are they elevated to encourage heat flow all around them? Also, I'm maintaining a temp of 275-325 degrees--will I still be able to leave those jars of melting butter alone for an hour at those temps or will they start to brown? Thanks again for all you do!

Preparedness Pro's picture

Good question, Sharon. I prefer to put the jars on a couple of wooden trivets spread on the bottom of the oven.
The one hour should be sufficient even at that temp. If they look perfectly melted prior to that, then you can take them out sooner. Anything past 180 degrees and 30 minutes is sufficient to kill the bacteria.

Love it Kellene. I have about 10 lbs. in my fridge, and I've been meaning to do my first attempt at canning it, but haven't known where to start. Thanks for the info and tutorial! Not sure if you intended it that way, but I appreciate it! ha! :)

Ok, now I have a question. Does regular canning it cause it to be grainy, as someone else mentioned with pressure canning?

Preparedness Pro's picture

yes.

..."put it in a pan and heat it for 15 to 20 minutes, which also exposes it to oxygen, which kills the botulism..."

and then you said

..."Botulism needs oxygen, heat, AND low acidity to thrive."

are these not contradictive statements? They are actually within the same paragraph. Not that I care, just pointing it out. I buy canned butter from Red Feather and don't worry about who says what about the safety of bottling your own.

Great comments though. :)

Preparedness Pro's picture

Rachel, thanks for the second pair of eyes. I fixed this yesterday, or so I thought, but it looks like Wordpress strikes again. Oxygen does kill botulism as it's anaerobic, which means it thrives in a low oxygen environment.

What kind of marble do you use and have you had any trouble with breakage of the marble or jar?

Preparedness Pro's picture

Just a simple game marble. No breakage problems previously.

I would just make sure your marble does not contain lead or other toxic stuff. Colored glass contains a variety of elements. It just seems safer to me not to use a marble.

I have been using large cats-eyes marbles to weight down homemade sauerkraut in quart jars and in my canned butter for over 18 years without a problem. Be sure to boil the marbles along with the jars to sterilize.

Thank you, Kellene ~ you're brilliant!

This article is another example of why I never miss your blog. I would never have imagined there would be controversy about canning butter of all things. Thanks. You're my "common sense" fix. Again.

Can't we bottle butter the same way without the sunoven by using our indoor oven and setting the temp. to 250°? I don't see why I would have to boil the butter first and then put them into the jars, when using the sunoven you put the unmelted butter into the jars and then place them in the sunoven for an hour to melt. I have a sunoven, but am too lazy today to bring it out. Is there a problem with doing it indoors the same way as you would with the sunoven?

I love to challenge the mainstream too. Love your articles. I print them so that if the electricity is off, I can still refer to them. Thanks for all the hardwork you have done to make our preparations easier.

Preparedness Pro's picture

Cathrine, If you will read the previous article which this article refers to, you will see the alternative way of bottling butter that does not involve a sun oven.

I got that with your other procedure you melt/cook the butter on the stove top and then put it in the jars. I am asking why you can't follow the same procedure you give when using the sun oven, but use a gas oven instead to melt and heat the butter to above 180° for an hour. What does the sun oven do that the conventional oven can't? To me it makes sense that it would work both ways. Am I missing something? What I am reading is that the temp is what is important and keeping it there for at least an hour to eliminate the potential for botulism.

Preparedness Pro's picture

Ah...gotcha.
In a solar oven you cannot burn or scorch anything, whereas you can burn or scorch your butter were you to melt the butter on the stove for that period of time. I like the additional peace of mind in knowing that I've exposed the butter for an extensive period of time and thus have eliminated any potential for botulism.

The Sun Oven method is easier

Preparedness Pro's picture

The Sun Oven method is easier. I don't have to babysit the butter like I would indoors. It handles the butter low and slow...however, you STILL have to make sure that you've maintained the heat on the butter long enough to kill bacteria, etc. Just don't let it turn brown.

A bit of a nit to pick: There is a difference between the botulism spores and the botulism toxin. Think of the spores as seeds. They are harmless in and of themselves. Like a seed, when they are placed in their own type of fertile environment (warm, low ox, low acid) they "sprout", producing the toxin. It's the toxin that can make you sick or dead.

To neutralize the toxin, you can heat the food to approximately 180F for 20 minutes or so, and you'll be OK. To destroy the spores, you must reach pressure canning temps of 240F.

So.... personally, I follow the process described by katzcradul - I pressure can the butter to ensure I kill all of the spores AND any toxin that might be present. This ensures my butter won't be carrying any potentially deadly spores while it is being stored in conditions that are conducive to toxin releases (in fact, they are just about perfect conditions).

BTW, that was a GREAT idea with the marbles. They will definitely be included in my future batches.

Preparedness Pro's picture

I think the difference between spores and toxins is worthy of mentioning. Thank you for doing so.

I do wholeheartedly disagree with you on the cooking temperature though. It's not the pressure that kills, it's the exposure to heat. Whether that heat is 240 or whether it's 180, so long as it's long enough, the food is cooking and killing. This is the exact same rationale applied to not having to boil water but instead only having to reach 180 degrees for a lenthy period of time. The good news though is that in a solar oven, the heat gets much higher than the 180 degrees and can do so without burning or scorching the butter, just like would occur in a pressure canner.

However, I did not state in the article to only cook it at 180 degrees. My info was that so long as you are at 180 degrees you are cooking. Most commercial solar ovens easily get up to 350 degrees. The Global Sun Oven gets up to 400 degrees. Just like you can cook food in the sealed pressure cooker in jars without burning them, you can also cook foods in jars in the Sun Oven without burning them. In fact, even if the food isn't in a jar, you can't burn or scorch your foods in there so long as it's sealed properly.

My whole point in sharing all of this information is to make life easier for folks in ALL circumstances. It's what I personally choose to do. Folks can take it or leave it. If folks want to still expend the fuel for pressure canning to have peace of mind, then so be it. I like being able to produce great food for my family--even without fuel--in as easy a manner as possible.

Kellene - I read you regularly, and get TONS of great information from your site. I don't want to be argumentative, but it's important to understand the botulism spores.

The spores are not destroyed until they reach home canning temps of 240F. They are unaffected at 180F, regardless of the amount of time they are held at that temp. This is not like pasteurization where lower temperatures over extended time will kill the "bugs".

The Colorado State Extension has some excellent information on this subject:

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09305.html

Preparedness Pro's picture

Chief, I have no problem taking your comments in the spirit which they were intended.

I will simply tell you this...I am looking forward to publishing the testing results of the bottled butter which I've done out in my solar oven. I'm paying for that testing out of my own pocket to prove, once and for all, that the solar oven is JUST as effective as a pressure canner when used properly. There is tons of data which provides this information, but I decided to do a test myself. I want people to feel and BE independent in preserving foods long term even in the midst of power outage or just plain to save money on their power costs. (Besides, I think things taste SO much better in a solar oven) That should dispel a bit of all of this controversy.

In the meantime, like I always say, the key is to get our pantries in order--not simply do it the "Kellene" way. Do what you are comfortable with and what your research you are willing to rely on.

Please note that I look at extension services information as non-authoritative. They are educated primarily through the USDA. They have been incorrect on so many critical issues, that I don't even reference them any longer. I know. I'm such a rebel. eh?

I think that's great what you're doing. I look forward to seeing your test results.

Solar cooking is one of the things on my personal To Do list. I've done some tests with Thermos cooking, and the results were pretty disappointing for most things other than rice or pasta. You really need the sustained heat, so I'm hoping solar cooking can fit that niche.

I tried fitting 1/2 LB of butter in a 1/2 pint jar and it wouldn't fit. Did you mean 1/2 LB in a 1 pint jar. Thanks for the help. I love bottled butter.

Preparedness Pro's picture

Hmm...I could have sworn that's what my notes said that I made while doing my latest butter bottling. If it doesn't fit, then maybe it's just a situation of the loaves and the fishes. hee hee. Take all you can get, right?

Preparedness Pro's picture

hmmm...I could have sworn that's what my notes said that I made on my last butter bottling scenario. If it doesn't work out for you that way, don't fret. It doens't mean you're doing anything wrong. Maybe you're simply the beneficiary of a loaves and the fishes blessing, eh? Take all you can get. :-)

I've tried the Red Feather canned butter and it is good but pricy. This is on my To-Do list now!

I know this is an old post, but I finally found the "recipe" in a book called Preserving Food without freezing or canning by Chelsea Green. The recipe is for clarified butter (Ghee). It says (parapharsing) In a large pot put 2-11 pounds or unsalted butter on very low heat, do not stir. It must cook for 5 -6 hours to allow the water to evaporate and the solids to rise to the surface. Skim the solids, watch that the ghee doesn't burn or it'll turn brown. When done, it should be amber colored and crystal clear. At this point pour the ghee slowly into terrine(earthware), allow to solidify, then store it tightly closed in a cool place.Ghee will keep for months, even unrefrigerated. This practice is used in modern day France... If people don't like the way you do it refer them to ghee. To my knowledge the FDA doesn't say anything about refrigerating Ghee.

Preparedness Pro's picture

I'm sure the FDA or USDA will find time enough to ruin ghee for American households as well. *sigh.
Thanks for the recipe, Adam.

How can I sign up for your site? Or, do I just check it frequently?

I'd love to have an email notice that a new articla has been posted.

BTW I am copying off all your articles, giving you full credit of course, onto a WORD file and plan to print them off for my dau-in-law and future, dau-in-law as a gift. I've had to delete many of the photos due to file space and printing costs though. (Sniff!)

If this is not OK with you, please advise me via email.

Your info has been and continues to be invaluable to me. I used some quotes from your article (I believe Aug 2010) on world-wide wheat shortages, during a Sac. Mtg. talk. Had many favorable comments. Thanks so much! Glenda

Just subscribe to the "RSS Feed" and you're good to go.

Hey Glenda,
SO glad that you're finding out site valuable.
We actually prefer that you not distribute our articles in any other fashion other than referencing folks to a particular link. The reason for this is that I'm under contract with a publisher and if there are bits and pieces of my writing already out there, then it makes it hard for the publisher to keep their publishing rights and revenues.
Thanks.

I have a question: do you think this process would work fine for a combination of honey and butter (let's just say 1:1)?

After giving it some thought, yes, actually I do think that would work just fine, but my question to myself would be, why bother with it? Storing honey and butter separately is better because they can then be used for a myriad of applications, but once I bottle honey butter, it's applications then become limited.

A couple of points. One, botulism spores occur in soil, and are found everywhere, including our intestinal tracts. They are easily transported on shoes and clothing to indoor locations, including kitchens, which is why we should be careful. Second, the average number of botulism cases, per year, over the last one hundred years of statistics being kept by agencies of the US government, are approximately 12-15. That's right, 12 to 15 cases per year. Not deaths, just infections. You have a higher chance of being hit, and killed, by a drunk driver on your way to the store to buy commercially processed foods.

Also keep in mind, the top two goals of the USDA, per their own website are: "expanding markets for agricultural products and support international economic development, further developing alternative markets for agricultural products and activities."
They are primarily a marketing organization, not overly concerned about what is safest and most economical for the average person. It is in the dairy industry's best interest for people to purchase perishable dairy products on a regular and ongoing basis at whatever prices they choose.

Thank you so much for this article! I'm in the midst stocking a food storage pantry. Then I'm going to experiment and see if my hubby and I can live off of only the items in the pantry for six-months. Bottled butter will be a great item to have in the pantry. I look forward to reading more of your articles to help me prepare for my "little" experiment. I'm off to the kitchen now to bottle some butter. :)

Kellene, I firstly wanted to tell you how grateful I am for all the effort you take to inform us all.

I have wanted to try canning butter for a long time, and always when I feel I've finally geared up for it, I'll read something that will make me unsure again. I don't have a basement, and wonder about storing the canned butter at ground level. I would say we are generally around 70 degrees.

Also, read your post wherein you said you were going to have your butter tested. Did you ever get back the results?

Thanks again for all your help.

you need to store it at 68-72 degrees. Under the beds or the backs of closets work best for homes with no basements.

Nope, never finished the testing. Mid-way they required significantly more money. This is a FREE blog AND I've been consuming the butter now for a couple of years, so decided not to mess with it just to be "more right."

I've never canned anything, so I won't even bother with all the questions I have to even begin canning, BUT... as everyone is saying about the dairy product storage, temperatures still need to be moderate. I live in central Texas and God forbid we lose our electricity; last summer was mostly over 100 degrees, and not too much below that at night. We don't have cellars here, at ALL. So, is canning fragile dairy products out of the question, when I'm pretty sure the coolest and darkest place in the house (IF there was no electricity for even a day) would be at least 90 degrees? Then, if we're figuring weeks or months....???
Thanks for your great instruction. I'm on turbo-learn, figuring what all I need to focus on. Really looking for pet food storage tips for the long haul...as well as "people" food! I feed raw, frozen food to the dogs and thought about this when the electricity flickered one day. Guess I better get dry food and store it air tight someway.
Thanks again!

You know, I haven't had to really think about that before. I actually gave this some thought and I'm sorry to say that I don't feel like I have the right answer. I KNOW that the American Indians preserved dairy and meat products in the same conditions as you've described. I know that they used clay pots to perform as refrigeration. But they also smoked a lot of meats too as a result of the conditions and made use of caves for food preservation too. I lived in the hot and humid Philippines for over a year and their solution was to kill their meat fresh each day, milk the cattle daily, and have a small refrigerator for the more fragile items. We had brownouts often and it was obviously labor intensive to provide meals every day. But after really thinking about this, I'm certain that with the right kind of planning and research you could come up with a solution. I'm certain that a self-reliant lifestyle isn't exclusive of those who live with cellars and caves. :-) If you really have NO way of preserving food in a cool environment, I would stick with the powdered dairy products instead, but in the meantime I encourage you to do a little research. There are all kinds of ways to create your own refrigeration using the sun and the moon, solar generators, etc. (hmmm...guess I need to put yet another article on my research and writing list. I just don't know what all of the answers are for your situation right now.)

I am researching on how to do this and came across your instructions. I've had people give me the "scare" that you mentioned. No one was able to tell me what the illness was until your article. Thanks!

So, you are saying that as long as the butter reaches a MINIMUM of 180 degrees F for about an hour in my solar oven, I don't have to worry about this? I don't want to pay the price for canned butter from the food storage companies, but I want to store it. I just want to make sure I'm doing this right.

yup. that's right.

I've been doing this & love how easy it is! I've been telling everyone!
But today I just tried making butter with my shelf stable food storage whipping cream. I thought the flavor was better than the canned, & it was more creamy. I'm still going to can butter like this as I find it on sale, but I really like having another way to make it out of my food storage too. And the method also makes buttermilk. The instructions are on my blog:
singlemompreparedness.blogspot.com

Kellene- I made butter today and got interrupted -had to turn butter off. By the time I was ready to pour in the jars. I had to re-heat butter. UGH!!
Sealed the jars waited for the "ping" to shake the jars.They did not separate the white on the bottom and yellow on top. I didn't have a reason to shake them. Question: Did I screw up by the interruption? Is it safe to store or should I eat it up soon???

You're fine Dotti, although you may have lost some of that "buttery" flavor by having to melt it twice. So long as you got your ping they are good. The primary purpose in shaking is for aesthetics and flavor to evenly distribute the fats.

Am I the only one that is worried about the lids getting ANY of that butter on them and not sealing. I watched the LDS Prepper video they made after reading your post. Neither the vid or your instructions say anything about it. Maybe it is because I am a canning newbie and it is somthing that is implied, but please clear this up for me. Love the site by the way and I was at a walmart during the Chaos on thursday night. I like a good deal, but was ready to walk out of there empty handed if it got too crazy for me to handle.

Actually, my detailed canning instructions always talk about being sure to wipe off the top of the jar and you should always be "boiling" your lids for sanitation safety. They should come directly from the pan of water to your jar. Care to share the link to the video you're referring to?

I'm sorry if I missed it. I am new to your site as well as canning. I have not canned anything yet as I am still gathering supplies. I just didnt know how clean the rim needed to be to make a proper seal. LDS Prepper seems to have a very good swath of prepping videos. If you have videos or a youtube channel please let me know. I am trying to make up time as I have been slightly blind to the whole preparedness mindset. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/user/LDSPrepper#p/u/6/K4LzRNbeL_I

I need to can some frozen butter and am wondering about the best way to do it...after putting it in the refrig. to thaw.....there was a comment maybe a yr ago about putting the butter in the oven to melt in the jars as you would do in the solar oven method and your reply seemed to indicate that you would first melt the butter and pour into the jars and put in the oven.....I really feel so unsure about how to do this, I don't want grainy, separated butter, and I don't know where the original article is about the shaking the jars etc.....thanks.

the solar oven won't burn or scorch your butter and it will warm it up slowly enough so as not to compromise the jars. There are two butter articles. One with the stove top and one with the solar oven. Just use the search bar and you'll find the.

HELP........I tried bottling the butter this a.m.....the on the stove method and heating the jars in the oven......it's been an hour and only 2 have popped/pinged.......is this normal??? I think I followed the directions to a tee, but am concerned something has gone wrong....thanks, kc

You may have missed some of the pinging noises. You can test whether or not your jars are sealed by pressing the middle of the lid with your finger. If the lid springs up when it's released, it's not sealed. Or you can us the spoon method in which you tap the middle of the lid with the spoon. If it's a dull thud sound it's not sealed. If it's a clear ringing sound, it is. If not, start over with new flat lids. You can reuse the butter though.

Kellene: I am so jealous! I've been canning butter by melting it first on the stovetop. What a mess it always makes! From now on, I'll be doing it in a solar oven. I do want to add this to the conversation: I canned several pints of butter in 1999, anticipating Y2K. We're eating out of the last jar this year: 2012. It's still quite good. I do have a basement to store it in, so that helped. And no one got sick. :)

I don't have a solar oven. It's on my wish-list, but hubby says we don't get enough sun up here in Northern Ontario...

Can I simply place my sterilized jars into a roasting pan in my regular electric oven at 250 degrees and let the butter melt in there for half an hour? At what point would I put the lids on--before putting them in the oven, or after the butter has melted for half an hour?

It's so interesting how everyone has odd questions about things--they all contribute to the whole picture. By the time I'm done, I'll be ready to try canning some butter! If I can find some cheap. Where in the world do you get butter at $1.50 a pound? I'm lucky if I can find it at $3.49!

If you can grow anything, you have enough sun for a solar oven. Even in Alaska, there's time during the year.

Connie, the heat that is put out by a solar oven is different than that in your electric oven. What I'd suggest is that you bottle the butter according to the regular oven instructions I provide in the other post, this will include using your stovetop first.
And by the way, it's been a while since I got butter that cheaply. Times are definitely changing, but I do get it at $1.88 a pound quite regularly.

I decided to try it in a regular oven. As to killing the bacteria... I can't say, I'm not an expert. But I will say this: If the bacteria that cause botulism truly are killed at 240 degrees, then I should be okay. I set the oven at 280, had the butter in pint-sized jars (3-1/2 sticks per jar), and left them in the oven for 1-1/2 hours just to be safe. It definitely worked...the butter melted, the lids pinged, and regular shaking blended it all. My biggest fear... glass jars breaking and hot melted butter exploding all over my oven... never materialized. :-) One more tip: During the shaking process, I skipped the refrigerator step. The butter solidified just as fast on the counter as when I did it in the frig. And that was on an 80-degree day!

Is there an update to the amount of butter that can fit per half-pint? I threw a stick in and then cut into pats and pushed into the jar. I energy up with 11 sticks in six half-pints.

they are not separated. The jars look just like that "bottled butter" , they just get much softer, almost fluid at room temp. They have that warm glow color through and through but it doesn't hold it firmness. I am OK with that, as it never gets hard again, anyway. But it usually gets hard enough to stay in place if you turn the jar over. Just want to make sure I am OK to take it out of the fridge and store it and eat it later. Or do I need to redo a step. We did open one jar and loved the smoothness of this butter! As I think about it. I am thinking we just didn't shake enough during the setting up process. (That was Mr-Mr's job.) thanks for the reply and thanks again for all that you do! I will can all my butter this way again. SOOOO much easier!

Yeah, you're ok to remove it. You COULD have been purchasing a brand of butter that injects water instead of fat. I understand that a lot of brands are doing that to cut costs nowadays. But it's sealed, and you're good to go, Girl! Way to go!

Good to know, THANK YOU! This was the Costco butter. I was wondering about that water as I usually boil that water off. For the future and other readers, is there a brand you can suggest? I understand, if you can't. Thanks again!

Kellene,
I have been a follower of this blog for a couple of years and LOVE it. I thank you for all the information you have shared and for the links and contacts to product and other blogs. THIS is my favorite blog because your are so full of information and I think like you. You are articulate and to the point. I love the REBEL in you! I love that you think outside the box!!

So I do have a problem with my Solar Oven method of canning butter. I have done it the old school way a couple of years now and am thrilled that the solar oven method will take care of many of the problems I have had with the stove top method. Such as brown bits, grainy butter and the mess. I will say that MR-MR has always had us pressure can the butter, but after reading your logical explanation yesterday he allowed as how we could try a test on the Solar oven.

We put the room temp butter in pint jars, lidded them and put them in the oven. The oven stayed about 180 for and hour and 45 min. We did the shaking, and put them in the fridge. I took one jar out today and the butter did not stay solidified. So I don't know what to do. Do you have any thoughts on this issue? I did use the marble, which by the way was brilliant. We didn't shake it every ten minutes after we saw it setting up. Could that be an issue? probably?

the fat needs to be properly distributed in order to get it to set up properly. If you don't shake it through, you'll have parts of the butter solid (usually on the top) and the rest of it looking like clarified butter. The good news is though that you can still cook with the clarified butter and not worry about browning it. It's the fat in the butter that burns on us.

I am soooo thankful for you Kellene! I don't think you could ever understand how much you are appreciated. I started off this whole process of preparedness not knowing a thing except to buy extra rice and canned foods. You have taught me so much. Now, when I share with my kids another new idea, they just say, Kellene? I say yep! You know it! My preparedness is coming right along. I have a long way to go, but with your help I can do this! Again......Thank you!

Unfortunately I discovered Preparedness Pro in 2011 and introduced to this article as a result of your Storing Oils article published this week Nov. 2012. I have two questions:
1. My Solar Oven purchase won't happen until 2013, I have an excellent dehydrator with temperature control. Would you recommend a trial in the dehydrator? If not why?
2. I discovered a youtube where the person skimmed off the frothy part and canned the clarified part. In your storing oils article you mentioned this technique as well. I am assuming that the marble is to keep the frothy part mixed with the clarified part. a) Is that assumption correct, and the only purpose? b) what happens if you don't marble and shake and leave it separated?
Blessings,
Sharon

"Unfortunately"?
Nope, the dehydrator won't mimic solar oven options, they are not similar at all in this regard, however, you can make your own solar oven simply for this project.
The "frothy part" is the butter fats. And yes, the marble is only used when you are doing whole butter so that the fats and the high water content portion mix together well. Otherwise it's just like oil and water with the oil portion floating to the top. You don't end up with that beautiful creamy looking butter product if you don't follow the mixing step. In which case, you might as well just preserve them separately.

OMGoodnes... My deepest apologies for "unfortunately." My typing never keeps up with my brain processes. :( The sentence was meant to be read as ... "Unfortunately I DIDN'T discover Preparedness Pro until 2011. Or as I read back over the the original sentence I used past tense in discover and had "in" instead of "until". In that case it should be read as "FORTUNATELY" Either way it was not my intention at all to consider my discovery of Preparedness Pro as unfortunate in any form or fashion. I am not only fortunate but very blessed.

I am even more blessed that you had answered my questions despite the implied negative connotation. I am now on a path to make my own solar oven in order to prepare butter for canning, and won't try to use my dehydrator. I will also do some batches of "whole" butter and batches of "separated" butter

Blessings,
Sharon

I have a couple questions here. First is about where the regular stove directions are? I have a gas stove. Another is that I make my own butter by mixing 1 lb of butter with 3 cups of different oils, mixing it all and then freezing it. I am limited with freezer space but would like to know if I could can my butter recipe in the way that you do. My butter has Pumpkinseed, Flaxseed, Palm, Coconut, Sesame, Grapeseed, Olive and Avacado oils in it. They each have their own health purpose in this mix.

Nope, you wouldn't be able to can that mixture the same you would regular butter. Sorry. You're better of simply preserving JUST your butter and then your other oils separately and then mix them as you need it, but if the process only works with a freezer then you'll run into difficulty of course if there's a widespread power outage. I like the sound of your mixture though. Sounds satisfying and healthy. I read a lot of cookbooks, obviously--total addict here--and I've yet to see anyone provide separate directions with a gas stove. As such, it never occurred to me that there is a difference. In fact, I can my butter frequently using my butane gas stove and don't recall making any modifications.

Hi Kellene,
For some reason (probably my fault) I can't seem to find your 'stove top' directions for canning butter. But I was thinking (which is scary..LOL) Could I just melt the butter in the jars in the microwave, then place them with lids and rings on inside my oven range and process at 180° for an hour? Thanks!

Can you do this with homemade butter?

Kellene , I've tried the stove top version, think I did it like you explained, it solidified in the refrigerator, I put it on the pantry shelf for couple weeks just to test to see if it would stay solid, which it did, but when I opened it, it smelled and tasted more like the butter in microwave popcorn, is this the way it's suppose to be? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially since I have about 12 pounds on hand to store (Wal-Mart sometimes has the twin packages of sweet cream butter on sale for 4.98). Thanks in advance, I love your articles, and enjoyed watching you on preppers, you actually inspired me to start prepping

You may have heated it too high, Janet, thus causing a rancid effect in the fat. I'd suggest the Solar Oven method instead.

That definitely could have been it. I tried a different method last night using my oven, heating the butter at 180 degrees for 1.5 hours, all seemed fine but the butter turned out grainy and I should have used the marble trick like you posted in earlier posts. I'm definitely going to add a solar oven to my prepping wish list

grainy is normal and is indicative of the way a butter is manufactured. Not all of them do that; the more organic you get, the better. But it's still SO much better than NO butter and better than that expensive Red Feather butter.

Kellene,
I have been pondering on this, an I finally feel I have enough information to do it. I am wondering how many jars you get in our solar oven? Do you just put them on the bottom or do you stack? Thanks!!

I have a question on storage. I live in Southern California, we do not have cool basements here to store items in. Only garages that get very warm in the summer. Would you still recommend I "can" butter. Maybe if I keep it in a closet in the house? I'm a little worried about the storage....

I presume you properly store other food items that are vulnerable to heat and humidity. You would take the same care with canned butter as you would those other foods. If you don't can butt, what's your alternative to fulfilling any recipes you intend to use that require butter? Powdered butter? Powdered shortening? Crisco in a can? Either way you'll need to take care with ANY of those items so that they don't go rancid. ALL fats have to be properly stored. Underneath beds or at the back of closets are typically the coolest places in a home.

Hi someone asked back in 2013

Hi someone asked back in 2013 if you could use homemade butter? I didn't see the answer. My question is like hers can you make canned butter that comes from a real cow or goat and is from raw milk?

Absolutely you can.

Preparedness Pro's picture
Absolutely you can. BTW, all butter comes from a real cow...so far, that is.

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