It's not a secret. I don't pretend to hide it. I'm unashamed. And I wear the badge with honor. I, Shaye Elliott, am a lover of butter. Especially this homemade clarified butter recipe.
In fact, it's a huge part of the reason why I peel myself from my cozy bed at 5:15 a.m. each morning and walk down to the barn, milk pail in hand. As I *squirt, squirt, squirt* each valuable drop of that delicious, fatty raw milk into my bucket, my mind wanders to the goodness that will soon ensue.
In the form of raw milk, naturally.
And also in the form of, oh yes – you guessed right, butter.
We're a huge butter using family here on Beatha Fonn, because it's a local fat that we can produce ourselves (well, with the help of our dairy cow, Sal, of course). As much as I love coconut oil, it's not a local option for us, and while we still use it on occasion, it's nice to know that we are utilizing a wonderful, nutrient-dense fat that was literally produced fifty feet from our kitchen.
Butter, traditionally, was an incredibly valuable source of calories for the homesteader. It was a way of preserving a spring and summer bounty, as butterfat in milk greatly increases with the presence of fresh grass in the cow's diet. Prepared properly, it could keep for months and months and months in the larder – even without refrigeration. Enter this homemade clarified butter recipe.
Say what? How does one preserve butter without refrigeration?
I'm so glad you asked.
Each week, I make up multiple batches of our homemade butter, which we store in parchment paper in the refrigerator door. I love this butter. It is my pride and joy. But because we don't salt it, we usually need to use the butter up with the week for it to taste fresh (not that that's a problem for a heavy butter consuming household like ours, but noted none-the-less).
Sometimes *gasp* I get behind on my butter making and we run out. Yes, I know, it's pretty pathetic. Especially when we usually have at least seven gallons of fresh milk in our fridge at any given moment. Still, as life goes, it sometimes gets behind schedule. Because of this, I opted to try a new method of butter preservation – clarified butter (most commonly know among foodies as ‘ghee').
Quite simply, clarified butter is butter that has been gently heated to separate the milk solids, which are then skimmed off. What's left is pure butterfat and can be stored for long-term, non-refrigerated storage. Perfect for in a pinch when the fresh butter supply is short.
On top of the storage benefit, clarified butter is also deeper in flavor and color, as the white and less flavorful milk solids are removed. Another great benefit for those dishes that require an extra-buttery-kick.
The process only takes fifteen minutes and is very painless. Unless you're the butter. Which sits over a burner, and I imagine, feels quite hot.
Homemade Clarified Butter Recipe
Step One: Add desired amount of butter the saucepan. Turn the heat on low and slowly allow the butter to melt. No need to rush now.
Step Four: Turn off heat and carefully pour the clarified butter into a storage jar. In my kitchen, that's always a glass jar. The butter can now be stored at room temperature for, well, a long period of time. I don't know exactly how long (ours never lasts!) but rumor has it to be years.
I love the idea of saving freezer space and utilizing this preservation method to build up our butter storage for next winter when Sally will be dried up prior to her calving. I'll be danged if I'm going to bring in butter from the store. Instead, I'll utilize what we have and be proactive in preserving a nice supply of this wonderful and naturally preserved product.
There's hardly anything more satisfying than seeing those beautiful golden jars lined up in the pantry.
I just want to… want to… smear it on my bread. And my oatmeal. And my face.
Too far? Sorry.
My love for butter knows no bounds.