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I Love Real Butter, or How to Keep Butter Soft in a Butter Keeper

Updated on July 22, 2012

You have now decided that you must have real butter. You’ve read all of the research on trans-fats and you’ve determined that polyunsaturated margarine isn’t very good for you. And you’ve begun to eat real dairy butter. Let’s face it – you will never go back to that poor excuse for the real thing.

Butter is hard to spread after it comes out of the refrigerator, and it’s not very efficient to melt it in the microwave. If you store butter in the refrigerator, eventually it absorbs odors from other foods! How can you keep your butter fresh for weeks, yet maintain a good spreading consistency? Why, with a butter keeper! Some people call them butter bells or butter crocks, but it’s all the same thing.

How a Butter Bell Works

A butter keeper is designed with a receptacle that you fill with ¼” of fresh water, which you change every couple of days. The other part of the butter keeper is the lid, a smaller crock that holds the butter. You fill the lid with butter, turn it upside-down, and place it inside the larger crock with the water. Thus, a seal is formed that keeps the butter fresh.

The nicest butter bells are made of porcelain or stoneware. Many classic ones are white, but fashionable colors also abound. Some hold only one stick of butter, and some can hold two sticks. I’ve found the butter keeper that holds ½ cup of butter (1 stick) is perfect for one person. But if you’ve got a family that eats a lot of butter, you may wish to purchase a bigger crock.

How to Keep It

If you like your butter bell as a decorative object, just keep it out on the counter all the time.  Some people don’t like cluttered countertops and prefer to put the crock away in a cabinet after using it.  Either way is good.

If you are going away on vacation, simply remove the butter container from its receptacle, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator.  It will be ready to take out again and soften up when you return from your trip.

Two Great Ones

I have the BIA Cordon Bleu brand crock. It is a simple design with an easy-to-grasp lid. It holds one stick of butter. I think it's an unbeatable buy.

I bought the Butter Bell classic floral crock for my niece. She has never used it for butter, but she keeps it out on her kitchen counter because she likes its design so much. It has "butter" in a raised design on one side, and "beurre" on the other side.

Some people (like my mom) just don't want to use butter all of the time, and if you're like this, too, you can certainly put margarine in your butter keeper!


Worthy of Mention

This keeper from Norpro is different. It's made of marble. Marble always stays cooler than ceramic or porcelain, so it just might keep the butter at a better temperature when the kitchen gets a little warm! This one holds one stick.  It's an unusual one, and just might look better with a kitchen with antique décor.

Tips for use

  • Pack the butter in firmly. This keeps air pockets from forming.
  • Keep the butter leveled out. Skim off the top, don't dig your butter out. This will prevent parts of your butter from falling into the water.
  • Change the water every two days.
  • Organic butter keeps longer.
  • In the winter, if you keep your kitchen on the chilly side, it may be more difficult to keep the butter at a good spreading consistency.

No Better Kitchen Accessory

Now you know how to keep your butter soft, spreadable, and easily in reach. Why wait on purchasing one for yourself? I can see you right now, and you’re holding a warm apple-bran muffin fresh from the oven. Mmmm….

There is no better keeper than your butter keeper. And I can promise you won’t want to return it – because it’s a keeper.

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