Is there anything more marvelousthan butter? I slather it on my vegetables ever chance I get. I cook with it. I bake with it. I'm not a big fan of bread, but I'll have a slice just so I can spread on a thick layer of the stuff. There's a reason why slang for gold is "butter." Because yum.
Butter used to be a nutrition outlaw. Long ago, it got unfairly labeled as an unhealthy food, and the food travesty known as margarine was forced upon the world. Dark days indeed! But lately butter has been redeemed, and many happy eaters are enjoying it once again. But how much do we really know about this delightsome food? Here's nine fascinating facts about butter.
- It takes 21 pints of milk to make a pound of butter.
- Butter is made by agitating cream until the fats separate into butter and buttermilk. (The buttermilk you get from the store is artificially thickened.) In fact, you can make your own butter at home.
- Most bakers prefer to use unsalted butter.
- It's healthier than you think. Butter has none of the artificial trans fats (associated with the "bad" cholesterol) you get in margarine. If it's from grass-fed cows' milk. It also has CLAs, and equal amounts of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
- Butter is a source of Vitamin A, which is great for hair, eyes, and skin, as well as Vitamins E, D, and K.
- 2 tablespoons of butter have about 8 grams of fat. About 30 percent is monounsaturated fat, the same fat in olive oil.
- Color can depend on the cow's diet. The more Carotene the cow gets from eating hay and greens, the more yellow you'll see in the butter, though some manufacturers add dye to enhance the yellow color.
- Butter tastes differently depending on how it's made. If you're lucky enough to get butter from a local family farm or in Europe you'll notice a cleaner taste. Butter made from raw milk can have a stronger flavor (well, I think it does). "Cultured" butter is considered the best butter.
- India is the largest producer of butter. Ghee, a kind of clarified butter, is an important ingredient in Indian cuisine.