Butter makes every dish very delicious and nutritious. It has many health benefits, but it can be expensive to buy in the supermarket or even at farmers markets. Butter is a staple in the American diet. It’s used to make everything from cookies and cakes, to breading for chicken or fish.
But why does butter cost so much more than other foods like milk, eggs, cheese, etc.? You will get the answer here!
Well, there are four very good reasons for this:
- It’s a natural product that requires no processing or refining to make it edible.
- The price of the raw milk used in making butter has risen dramatically over the past few years due to an increase in demand from dairy farmers who want more money per gallon than they were getting before.
- There is a shortage of refrigeration space at most dairies which means that many butters have been sitting on shelves waiting for customers to buy them.
- It’s a natural food made by nature. Raw milk contains all sorts of things besides fat – proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc., as well as water. These other substances must be removed during the process of churning into butter. This takes time and energy. In addition, some of these other components can’t easily be separated out of the cream because they’re mixed with each other.
To make butter a lot of milk cream is needed and do you know that you get only 25% cream in a gallon of milk, this is also when the milk is pure and not mixed with any other things.
So if we take one liter of milk then how much butter can we expect to get after churning? Well according to my calculations I got about 1/5th cup of butter. Now let’s see what happens if we double our amount of milk :-
If we use two liters of milk then how much would we get now? We should get half a cup of butter right!
Imagining baked goods without butter is like imagining life without oxygen. Buttery taste makes everything better. And since butter is such a vital ingredient in baking, why don’t manufacturers just add extra amounts of butter instead of using margarine? Because margarine doesn’t melt properly and therefore won’t work as well in recipes where melting is required. Making the same baked products without butter gives us different results. For example, cookies turn hard and dry while cakes become greasy and heavy.
Cow gives milk and nutrients in their milk depending on what they eat. If cows eat grasses rich in protein and fiber then its milk becomes richer in those nutrients. On the contrary, if cows eat grains rich in carbohydrates then its milk turns sour. That’s why people say “grass fed beef tastes better”. Similarly, butter produced from grass fed milk is considered superior to butter made from grain fed milk.
While the commercial cows don’t get green grass feed in adequate amounts so they need supplements to keep up with their nutritional needs. They usually receive corn based pellets, soybean meal and cottonseed oil. All three ingredients are high in saturated fats. When cows consume too much of these types of feeds, their milk gets higher levels of cholesterol and lower levels of vitamin D. But they don’t taste good either.
The best way to avoid this problem is to choose organic or free range cows. Organic cows are given access to pasture land and fresh air whereas free range cows roam around freely inside barns. Both methods ensure that animals get enough nutrition through grazing.
Expensive butter makes us look for other options but there are many ways to replace butter in your kitchen. Here are few tips:-
Use ghee. Ghee has no moisture content and hence does not spoil quickly unlike regular butter which spoils within days. You can store ghee at room temperature for months. It takes longer than normal butter to solidify though.
Use coconut oil. Coconut oil melts easily and keeps food warm even on low heat. Its smoke point is very high compared to olive oil’s 350°F. This means that coconut oil will stay liquid until 450°F before turning into a solid state. Olive oil starts to burn at 400°F. Hence, coconut oil works great for frying foods. Butter contains more proteins which makes it harder to fry. Also, coconut oil is cheaper than butter.
Try to make homemade margarines. Margarines contain less fat than butter because they have been processed by heating them above 100 degrees Celsius. However, you should be careful when making margarine because some brands may contain trans-fatty acids. Trans fatty acids raise bad cholesterol levels in blood. You can also try to find non hydrogenated oils. These oils do not undergo any chemical changes during processing. Non Hydrogenated oils are healthier than hydrogenated ones.
You can substitute olive oil for butter in most dishes. Use olive oil for cooking vegetables, salads, breeding etc. Olive oil is healthy and delicious. Try adding garlic cloves to olive oil and let it sit overnight. Then strain out the solids and refrigerate. Add salt to taste. This mixture is called Garlic Oil. You can use it as salad dressing or dip for crudités.
Mix butter with another fat or oil
Mixing it with a vegetable oil to stretch your butter is a great choice and it also keeps the flavour in place. For example: 1 cup unsalted butter + 2 cups extra virgin olive oil 1½ cups. Mix well then put in an airtight container. Refrigerate.
Butter with other vegetable oil makes a good sauteeing base. Just add about ¼ teaspoon kosher salt per tablespoon of butter. Heat over medium heat until melted. Stir frequently while melting. The salt helps prevent sticking.
So, we have found out why butter is expensive. Yet it is worth the price if used properly. If you want to save money, buy quality products from local farmers markets. They usually sell their milk directly to consumers without going through middlemen like supermarkets. In addition, buying locally grown produce reduces transportation costs. Buying direct from producers ensures that you know where your food comes from. And finally, eating seasonally saves money too! There are several reasons behind its price hike. We hope these explanations help you understand what goes into producing one stick of butter.