Blue Cat loves butter. He loves its creamy texture, buttery taste and the fact that it makes everything taste better. In fact, Blue Cat thinks that butter is just about the perfect condiment with one exception – it’s hard to put on things.
That’s because butter is usually kept in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. And cold butter is a solid that can’t be spread on bread, toast or English muffins. And it takes a while to coat vegetables, potatoes and other hot foods because it has to warm up to become soft and useable.
Blue Cat has found the solution is a “butterbell” – a butter container that keeps the creamy goodness fresh but also at room temperature. Here’s one that Blue Cat uses:
A butterbell has two parts – a curved cup/container for the butter and a water cup to keep the butter fresh. It works by keeping the surface of the butter under water, so air can’t reach the butter (which helps prevent the spoiling process). And the whole contraption sits on your table or counter, so the butter remains at a spreadable room temperature. (You might consider getting a metal and plastic one like Blue Cat’s – it’s not as fancy as the ceramic one he used to have, but it doesn’t crack when you smack it with a plate by accident.)
Fresh butter that’s easy to spread – sounds too good to be true. And it is if you aren’t careful. The first thing Blue Cat recommends is to make sure you don’t have any air pockets under your butter. If you don’t pack the butter all the way into the cup, an air pocket forms and the butter will fall into the water. Pretty messy. So Blue Cat softens the butter first by unwrapping it (so the softened butter doesn’t stick to the wrapper) and then letting it set out for an hour. Or if he’s in a real hurry, he uses the “soften” function on his microwave. But don’t let it get too soft!
Next Blue Cat packs the butter into the cup a third of a stick at a time with a tablespoon. A tablespoon is pointy at one end so it fits in the cup, and curved on the bottom so it can press the butter all the way into the cup.
But even though his toast is ready, he needs to do one more thing. The bottom cup needs to be filled with cool water so the top of the butter is in the water when the butter cup is placed in the bottom cup. You can use refrigerator water if you want, but if you do you butter will harden up until the water warms to room temperature. And don’t overfill the cup – Blue Cat’s has a line that shows how much water to put in.
Don’t forget to change the water every couple of days so the butter stays fresh. Blue Cat can’t remember “every couple days” very well so he just changes the water every morning at breakfast. And you’ll need to wash the whole butterbell (by hand – they don’t do well in the dishwasher) every stick or two of butter so it doesn’t get gross.
So those are Blue Cat’s butterbell secrets. Secrets for spreadable, creamy, fresh butter whenever you want it. So go out and get a butterbell and enjoy!
(C) William P Doyle, Jr. 2017 All Rights Reserved