June 6, 2008 1 Comment
This isn’t a recipe, exactly, but more of a food-related tip:
I grew up seeing that butter or margarine was always stored in the refrigerator. Therefore, I assumed that it would spoil quickly if left out. Shortly after I moved up to Pennsylvania for college, a friend who’d grown up nearby invited me home for the weekend. I was astonished to see that his family kept a stick of butter in a covered glass dish in the cabinet! It was not spoiled at all!
Now we store extra butter in the freezer, one pound in the fridge, and one chunk* in a dish on the counter. It is spreadable all year, very soft and mushy in summer. When we get down to a tablespoon or so in the dish, we get another chunk out of the fridge. When we take the last chunk out of the fridge, we get another pound out of the freezer to thaw. Once in a while, maybe every six weeks or so, we start a clean dish and put the old one to be washed. Rather than a special “butter dish”, we use a one-cup Pyrex bowl with plastic lid, because we have several of those for storing leftovers. A standard butter dish, which is almost flat with a tall lid, is not good for storing room-temperature butter in summer because, when it gets even a little bit melted, it escapes the dish and runs onto the counter.
There was one time we came home from a week-long vacation to find that the butter smelled funny, but we weren’t sure how long that particular chunk had been in the unrefrigerated dish before we left. Now we put the butter in the fridge before we go away. Sometimes we refrigerate it in the very hottest weather when we have no immediate butter-using plans. The rest of the time, spreadable butter is always at hand!
*The reason I say “chunk” rather than “stick” is that we recently started buying butter in one-pound blocks (each wrapped in waxed paper; four pounds held together with plastic wrap) rather than quarter-pound sticks (each wrapped in waxed paper; four sticks in a cardboard box). That means less packaging and a slightly lower price per pound. Since our butter dish isn’t stick-shaped anyway, it works out fine: We just chop a big chunk of butter off the pound, wrap up the rest, and put it back in the refrigerator.
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