Canning Butter and Margarine
The internet is filled with recipes for canning butter and margarine, but there are warnings that some of these methods are insufficient to protect against botulism poisoning. The method below seems to provide that protection.
BACKGROUND and WARNINGS
Margarine and butter are each a mixture of fat, water, and emulsifiers. Butter is a natural product while margarine is man-made. Emulsifiers act to hold it all together. It’s important that canning procedures produce enough heat for a long enough time to reliably kill botulism spores.
The USDA currently (Dec 2008) has no official recommended procedure for pressure canning butter or margarine. They do, however, have such a procedure for canning fat-containing broth and soup. That procedure calls for a 20-minute canning time at the pressure recommended for 2000ft elevation.
COST AND TASTE
Where I live (in Idaho / Dec2008) butter is often on sale 3lbs for $5.00. At this price it’s worth canning. It would be a wonderful treat in an emergency. Don’t get carried away, nothing I’ve read says this will last forever.. you should be rotating this through your daily diet. It’s a little grainy for spreading on bread.. but it’s great for cooking with.
NOTE OF INTEREST
My recipes says canning is suitable for margarine also, but I haven’t tried that yet. I do know this well with butter.
I have tried salted and unsalted butter, but somehow the salted butter becomes ‘very’ salty when canned.. so I use only unsalted.
Soften the butter at room temperature, you can help it a little in the microwave or oven (don’t melt it). When the butter is very soft but not melted, about the consistency of thin pancake batter, pour it through a canning funnel into regular-mouth pint jars leaving about a 1-inch headspace. Clean the rim and attach a lid and ring. (seven pounds of butter= eight pint jars)
Place the jars in the canner and fill with hot water. Vent it for 10 minutes and process at 10 psig (15 psig if you live above 1,000 ft elevation) for 20 minutes. Remove the canner from the heat and let it cool.
The butter will separate and must be recombined. After the jars cool and the lids seal down I shake each jar quite vigorously for about 30 seconds Shake your butter every 45-60 minutes until the jars reach room temperature and the butter ceases to separate.
STORE AND USE
The processed butter can stay on the shelf in a cool place. Once opened store the butter in the refrigerator, margarine can stay un-refrigerated on the shelf after opening.
NOTE FROM AN EXPERT: I have read internet recipes for oven-canning and water-bath-canning margarine and butter. I’ve worked in public health and food safety too long to trust any recipe that can’t be expected to kill botulism. While this recipe doesn’t have USDA approval, I feel it is sufficient to kill botulism spores.
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