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History of Butter Storage

Butter Churn

With the reawakening to the importance of natural products and the desire to savor textures and flavors, people are returning to the use of wholesome and nutritious foods. Among these foods is butter.

For the large percentage of people worldwide that use butter and for those returning to its use, there is a need for a vehicle that will preserve and enhance the delicate flavors inherent in butter while promoting spreadability. Interestingly, the solution is found in the storage methods of the Ancients.

In warm climates, butter was wrapped in loosely woven cloth and submerged in vats of salt water. This technique remained popular until the introduction of sanitary ware in the 19th century.A method of glazing and firing ceramics at high temperatures, sanitary ware prevented bacteria build-up and increased the length of storage time. As time went along, earthenware containers, which allowed evaporation of moisture, thus facilitating, cooling, became popular for both the storage of water and butter. Earthenware maintained its popularity until refrigeration came along in the mid-20th century.

Ancient civilizations were concerned with spoilage and deterioration of foodstuffs and devised clever processes of preservation, including bundling butter in animal skins. As these people became more sedentary, they began to store butter in ceramic containers.

The Problem with Refrigeration

Refrigeration would seem to address many of the problems that arise in preserving butter. Though refrigeration does insure usability of butter for an extended period of time when stored at 32° F., other issues come into play when butter is "cold."

The solidity of butter at low temperatures promotes lack of spreadability, loss of texture and absence of flavor. Because of this, it's recommended that butter be stored in the butter compartment of the refrigerator at a temperature of 50° to 60°F. This can be done for up to two weeks. Though this is recognized to be an excellent form of storage, many of the same "taste and texture" problems that arise at 32°F. also happen at 50° to 60°F.

Over 120 flavor compounds contribute to the unique taste of butter. Of these compounds, two classes furnish the most characteristic flavor notes: methyl ketones, providing rich, full-bodied notes and lactones, imparting the sweet, fruity notes.

These compounds aren't released until butter reaches room temperature.

Other complications arising in the use of the butter storage compartments are odor absorption and humidity retention. Butter is highly absorbent and must be well wrapped to prevent tainting of flavor and aroma by other foods in the refrigerator. Few users take the time to securely wrap or even cover their butter when it's in the refrigerator.

Moisture, important to the textural quality of butter is depleted during the normal refrigeration process, with no concern for rehydration. Spreadability, impossible at 32°F. and difficult at 50° to 60°F. must by addressed by allowing the butter to stand at room temperature. Again, this is something that few people have the patience for. To be truly enjoyed for its taste and nutritional value, butter must be at a proper spreadable consistency and possess a flavor that's both fresh and creamy.

Through study of traditional butter storage methods along with hours of product development, L. Tremain, Inc. has come up with a modern solution to the butter dilemma. The Original Butter Bell® Crock.

The Original Butter Bell® Crock allows butter to be kept at room temperature, on the counter or tabletop without spoilage, refrigeration or odors. The product's innovative design keeps butter at the perfect "spreading" consistency by reflecting outside heat while insulating and cooling the butter. Flavor and freshness is protected by an airtight seal of water at the base of the crock.

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