Have you ever wanted shelf stable butter? Let me show you how to can butter. This method, when properly done, makes butter stable for up to 18 months!
One look at my cheesy squash casserole recipe (Six Dollar Family) should tell you that I use a lot of butter in my kitchen. I firmly believe it is one of the building blocks to a great recipe and that in most recipes, taste is improved with butter if it’s properly used.
It’s because of this that I adore canning butter to have on hand in my emergency food stockpile (Six Dollar Family). Honestly, it’s super nice to have room temperature butter anytime I want it!
The History of Canned Butter
Believe it or not, canning butter is not a new thing. There is firm evidence of butter being canned as far back as the Victorian Era (Biodiversity Library) and even today, you can buy canned butter (Amazon) in a commercial setting.
I, however, do not relish paying the price for canned butter when I can do it myself – in my own kitchen where I control the environment it is processed in – for far less per pound.
Homesteaders through the years have always made canned butter a staple in their pantries but over time, like most instances of learning how to can your own food, (Six Dollar Family) it fell out of fashion.
Why Butter is Important In an Emergency
Our bodies need fats to survive. In case you weren’t aware, a lack of fats can actually kill you earlier than you would otherwise die. Studies like this one (AFR) have shown that even severely reduced fat diets can cause early death. This is also the reason that – although many homesteaders and preppers do raise them for meat – rabbits can not be used as a sole survival food. (Wikipedia)
Ultimately, what this means that if you’re trying to stock up to save money on groceries (Six Dollar Family)or are simply preparing a food stockpile for an emergency, fats such as butter, lard and other healthy oils should be a staple in the stockpile you build.
Nuts, fish and seeds are also great ways to get these fats into your diet without overdoing it on the unhealthy types and the reason I highly recommend that you learn how to fish for food if you don’t’ already know. (Six Dollar Family)
Why Pressure Can Butter?
Now I know that butter lasts quite a while in the refrigerator, the freezer or even on the counter but the most you will get out of that butter in those ways is a few months. Salted butter will last longer than unsalted due to the fact that salt in itself is a preservative.
However, when you learn to can butter, you give yourself a minimum of 18-months of shelf stable product. 18-months of not worrying about spoilage in the event of a power outage or a price spike. In fact, I have seen and spoken with trusted friends who have eaten their canned butter after more than three years. Mine never lasts that long to be frank.
In 2020 alone, I have watched the price of butter jump almost $1.50 per pound at my local stores. Do the math on that. That alone could cause a pretty significant jump in your grocery bills each month.
Having pressure canned butter on hand means that I was able to buy that butter before the price spiked and while it was on sale, and still have the butter I need when the price spikes.
Can You Water Bath Can Butter?
No. Because butter is acidic, a simple boiling water bath canner will not be able to get hot enough to kill botulism and other toxins in the final product.
This means that if you are canning butter, you must pressure can it.
If you are new to canning and don’t know if you have the supplies you need, THIS list will help you out (Six Dollar Family).
Tips for Pressure Canning Butter
As your butter boils during the canning process, you will notice a white foam rise to the top of the pot. This is perfectly normal and is just the milkfat in your butter separating from what is effectively ghee.
As you ladle the butter in your jars, you will want to make sure you are adding milk fat to each jar.
Is it Safe to Can Butter?
Now that we have all that info out of the way, let’s have a chat real quick.
This method is 100% untested by the FDA or any other testing organization that tests canned food recipes. All dairy products are untested.
I, however, do not believe that untested means unsafe. It means it’s untested and as such there is no reliable testing information regarding it’s safety.
You must make the same decision, but you do so knowing that it is untested and as such, unapproved. I will give you the method only, you will make the decision.
Legalese: Due to the fact that this is an untested and unofficial recipe, I do feel the need to include that neither Six Dollar Family nor I will be held responsible for any liability for anyone making this recipe. I have given you all information and ultimately, the decision to follow through, how you follow through and the methods you ultimately use are yours.
How to Can Butter in a Pressure Canner
- Large heavy bottom pot
- 4 oz jelly jars
- Lids and Rings
- Pressure Canner
- Canning Funnel
- Jar Lifter
- 4 lbs, Butter salted or unsalted
- White Vinegar
- Set Lids to Simmer. It is not necessary to sterilize jars due to the heat in the pressure canner. It is not recommended either due to the water causing issues with canning your butter. Add butter to a large pot and slowly melt.
- Once melted, heat to a roiling boil (not a fry). You have enough butter that it will roll instead of sizzle.
- Fill jars with melted butter to 1/2" headspace. Make sure to add some white milkfat to each jar as you fill. CAREFULLY whip the rim of each jar with white vinegar making sure that you do NOT get any vinegar into the jar. Doing so will cause that jar to curdle as it's a dairy product.
- Process in a pressure canner for 75 minutes. Use 10 lb pressure for a weighted gauge canner or 11 lbs for a dial gauge. When time is up, turn off heat and allow pressure to release naturally.
- After release, remove jars from canner and set on a town. Allow to rest approx. 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, shake each jar vigorously to recombine ghee and milk fat. Repeat the shaking process every 20 minutes until ghee and milk fat is fully combined. Jars may ping before they are fully combined. Once combined, allow to sit 8-12 hours until fully cooled.
- Wiping the rim of the jar is incredibly important. It helps to remove butter residue from the rim ensuring that you get a good seal.