I recall my late mother telling me that as a child they had a special room on the side of the farmhouse for making butter and that as a kid it was one of the first domestic jobs she had to learn to do. The butter churn would whisk the cream from the freshly milked cows until it split leaving the fatty solid buttery mass and the residual liquid would be collected for making bread or feeding pigs. The butter would then be rolled or shaped and wrapped in greaseproof and kept in the cool larder at the back of the kitchen and used up quickly enough so it never went off. It probably tasted amazing.
I had my first taste of country butter as a child while visiting an old family friend out on her land who still made her own butter and that first taste was memorable to say the least. It was spread on just out of the oven homemade scones made with it too and then topped with homemade strawberry jam. You do not get a more natural taste of pure food than that and as an eight year old already aspiring foodie it had me mesmerized. You can easily make your own butter, just keep whipping cream until it separates and there you have it in your bowl, it’s no great secret recipe.
These days we can just plonk a packet of it into our supermarket trolley and feel guilty for not buying one of the so called healthier lookalike butters or spreads to give them their official term that are meant to save us from getting heart attacks. Well here is some old news, they won’t. You would be much better having a bit of the real stuff in moderation than lashing on loads of the fake butter on your toast.
The saturation marketing has been extraordinary to make fake transfatty spreads an actual viable never mind healthy product, my heart does sink when I see them. Irish butter has to be the leading butter in the world in my very qualified opinion. I have tasted dozens of other efforts on butter and none come close, except the French in Normandy as a close second. The figures for Irish butter being sold internationally are astounding. In the states it’s the number two, selling thousands of tonnes annually and it is the number one in Germany. This is not by accident but from years of strong marketing and the reversing of the myth that animal fat is bad for us but most of all flavour and how it performs in cooking and eating.
Of course it is all down to the base product and that is the milk and our stuff is seriously good. Our climate makes the grass super nutritious and so the cows then really deliver the goods in the milking parlour. Therefore our cream isn’t half bad either so any dairy good coming out of Ireland is bound to succeed.
For cooking then it is not just scones that will taste yummy but anything else butter touches be it pastry, sauces, roasts, frying and stuffing. It simply cannot be replaced except by animal lard perhaps in say baking. Famous recipes like hollandaise sauce or puff pastry will just not work with anything else. Try to use unsalted so you have more control over flavouring your recipes. It is simply essential to real cooking and yes it has high calories as a saturated fat but it is a superfood too.
The benefits are unquestionable. It has vitamins A, D and E but natural fatty acids that are actually really good for us with one being anti-carcinogenic. These fats also help our blood sugar and eliminate toxins from the body. The seventies butter is bad for our diet studies have long being proved false. Cholesterol as it happens is what we need for all sorts of reasons so again the science and the food companies have been dishonest over the decades. The public just do not know who they can believe anymore in the bamboozlement of misinformation that modern communication provides but my message has not changed in forty years I am in the food industry.