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Adventures in Pressure Canning Butter

March 10, 2011

Well, although I’ve come around to feeling more comfortable with open-kettle canning of butter, I still wanted to see if I could pressure can the stuff, since that would remove any doubts I had on the matter.  My concerns were that it would boil up and out and disrupt the seals (as has happened to me when canning chicken).    To mitigate the chances of that happening, I only filled the jars up to their “shoulders” after boiling the butter for 5 minutes.

When the jars came out, I was a bit dismayed.   There was a good deal of solid material at the bottom of the jar, with some dark flecks in the jars.

Straight out of the canner.

I decided I would try to shake them up though, and as the afternoon progressed I began to get this effect:

Beginning to change

I really was not hoping that it would work, and just thought I would use the clear part in cooking, but I thought I may as well continue to shake it, and if it all separated overnight, so be it.   I asked my daughter to shake the jars a couple of times when I was out at a church home group.   (There was an excellent devotional on prayer last night, I know that is beside the point but I just thought I’d mention it!!)   When I came back, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the butter looked much better.  Opaque, solid, and a nice yellow color on top with some “stuff” on the bottom.

Butter the morning after

I decided to open a jar and try it out.  Despite the appearance in the jar, the butter, though grainy, was a lot smoother than it looked like it would be.  I dug down to get to the bottom and bring up the stuff that looked different than the yellow stuff on top.

Digging in

A sample

Of course the proof of the butter is in the eating.  I gingerly tasted a bit – it had a different taste than normal butter, but it was not unpleasing.  In fact, upon a second taste I realized what had happened – the sugars in the butter had caramelized and had given the butter a sweet taste, almost a toffee-like taste.   My older daughter opined that to her it tasted like shortbread.

So, canning butter at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes won’t give you a fresh from the farm dairy quality (but neither does the other method of canning butter) , and it may not work if you are wanting a savory taste,  but it will be still be good spread on bread, crumpets, and other things, and will certainly work in most baked goods I believe.

Testing the product

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