Some facts about butter

  • Butter is used chiefly in cooking and baking and as a spread for bread.
  • All of the butter produced in the United States is made from cow's milk, although in many other countries butter is made from the milk of reindeer, sheep, goats, water buffalo, or even horses.
  • About 10 quarts (9.5 liters) of milk are needed to make 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) of butter.
  • Years ago buttermaking was a long and tiring job. After a batch of cream had been skimmed from milk, it would be left to cool and ripen in an earthernware crock. After several days, the slightly sour, or ripe, cream would be poured into a bell-shaped wooden churn. It would then be beaten with a long plunger until the butterfat separated from the rest of the cream into lumps about the size of peas. After draining off the leftover liquid, or buttermilk, the butter would be washed and kneaded until it was smooth.
  • In 1923 Congress declared that butter could be made only from milk or cream and that the resulting product must consist of at least 80 percent fat. Today, butter is tested, evaluated, and graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture according to its flavor, texture, and aroma.
  • As a food, butter is a rich source of Vitamin A. It also contains limited amounts of vitamins D and E, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium.
  • One tablespoon of butter contains approximately 100 calories.
  • Because butter is relatively high in cholesterol, consumers who are health conscious have been using less and less butter each year.
  • Margarine and other spreads made from vegetable oils that have little or no cholesterol in them have risen in popularity as butter substitutes.
  • The world's leading butter-consuming nations, per capita, are Germany, followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, and Finland.