Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Butter Does NOT Need Refrigeration

I recently got an email from a new reader asking me what that red jar was that seems to be in almost all the pictures I take in my kitchen. You can clearly see it in this picture.

So, I thought I would answer it here. That is my butter jar! It is a popular myth that butter must be refrigerated. It isn't at my house. If you think about it, people have been eating butter for centuries. There wasn't any electricity then. If you were lucky enough back then, you could chill your butter in a local cold spring. Most people used what I use to store butter, my butter jar. 

It is easy to use. The butter goes into the cup on the top, and water goes into the cup on the bottom. It is the water that seals the butter and keeps it fresh. You can get the idea from this picture. You can purchase these from a lot of different companies. Do a Google search on 'butter crock' and you should find plenty of sources. 

In my house, in the winter, room temperature is between 65 - 68 degrees. At this temperature, the butter will stay fresh for one month. In the summer, room temperature is about 78 degrees. At this temperature, the butter will stay fresh for two weeks. Change the water in the jar every day or every other day.

I do not use butter from the store in my butter jar. (I do purchase butter from the store when I am doing a lot of baking. For example, at Christmas time.) Butter is quite easy to make. Even better, if you use shelf stable cream, no electricity is necessary! You can see how I make butter here.

Try storing your butter on the counter and start to reduce your need for electricity!


  1. Well son of a gun. I didn't know this. So much to learn.

  2. Kitchen/home heat is the issue. In the Pacific NW (where I currently live and grew up) we routinely keep butter in an uncovered dish on the counter, perfect for easy spreading on toast. When I've lived in other areas (like DC and Texas) I discovered that approach encouraged either melted or rapidly rancid butter. Bottom line: heat and humidity in your location needs to be taken into account. I haven't used any of the "butter keepers" (like the bell) mentioned above -- frankly because there is no need here (other than perhaps protecting the butter from the cat, but that's another issue!) -- but have heard great things about them from friends who live in other areas.

    1. I am glad you can keep butter on the counter where you live! In the southeast, we can not. It will quickly go rancid. The butter keepers are the key to non-electric storage here. Just like our great-grandmothers did it!!

      Thank you for your comment!


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