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Feb 28, 2007 12:11 PM

Butter Keeper

I think they look so cute with a little bell shaped cone. I am not sure if I will use it but I think i am going to buy a few.
Do you guys use it? Can I really leave in room temperature even in summer?

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  1. I have one of the bell-shaped ones, but have recently replaced it with a sort of boat-shaped on that keeps the butter from touching the water. Water in contact with butter = spoilage, even if you change the water every day. And no, even in our air-conditioned house, the butter bell did not do a good job of keeping the butter from spoiling during the dog days of summer.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      I'm not under the impression you're supposed to fill the crock so high with water and the bell so full of butter that the water comes in contact with the butter. I thought the rim of the bell makes contact with the water to form a seal, which keeps the air out. You can actually feel the suction of the seal pop when you pull the bell out of the crock. But, as long as the bell isn't completely filled with butter, the butter doesn't touch the water.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Actually, my apologies, I'm wrong above--you are indeed supposed to have the butter touch the water, or remain very close to the water, otherwise, too much oxygen can get trapped in the bell, thus defeating the purpose of the bell in the first place. In fact, they recommend you top off your bell with butter frequently enough to ensure there always remains enough butter in the bell to minimize the amount of oxygen trapped in the bell.

        If you're having mold issues, they suggest (see especially the first link) switching brands of butter or putting salt in the water. They also say that before refrigeration, dairy farmers used to store their butter completely submerged in water to keep it fresh. So the water shouldn't be an issue if you're changing it regularly.

        They say you need to keep it out of direct sunlight and that they stop working when the temps hit 90 degrees and, at that point, you have to put the whole bell in the fridge.

        I still love my butter keeper--it keeps the butter soft enough to spread without having the butter be messy or spoiled. And, at winter temps anyway, we've never had a problem with it. I've had mold only once and I think that's because food bits got in the butter. The mold formed almost immediately (i.e., practically overnight) so, it was very clear that something specific had gone awry.


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          I never worry about the water touching the butter. We all know water and fat won't mix, so the water isn't going to penetrate the butter. Any water on the surface when you take the butter out will just bead up and roll off.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Yep, it's true, the water just beads up.


      2. re: pikawicca

        I prefer the butter boat as well. Found it on eBay - luckily a plain white one, and not the decorated ones.

      3. We leave butter out all year round, okay so it doesn't often get that unbearable temperature wise around here, but it can have its moments and apart from being a little soft some mornings it is fine as far as I can tell.

        1. I had one and had no problems with spoilage but I just found it cumbersome. I donated it and went back to my regulat butter dish. We go through enough of it so that spoilage is never an issue.

          1. Unless I am using it, I always keep butter refrigerated. We go through about 4 sticks every 2 weeks. When I have guests I pull out the butter dish, otherwise I usually have 2 sticks on a small dish in the fridge. I also have about 2-3 sticks unsalted butter, and 2-3 sticks of regular butter in reserve. Always Land O' Lakes Butter

            11 Replies
            1. re: swsidejim

              Always (unless TJ's are out) Kerrygold Irish butter. Have to say I am yet to develop a taste for american butter - not creamy enough for me.

              1. re: rob133

                interesting, do you know if they sell this brand anywhere else but T.J's? I do not shop at T.J's.

                Also how is this irish butter for cooking?

                1. re: swsidejim

                  I'm not sure, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't available at a British store, maybe even Cost Plus - I've never really looked for it in either, but I'm sure it is.

                  1. re: rob133

                    ill have to check it out, i am always willing to try something different. thanks for the tip.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      I can buy Kerrygold in my neighborhood Kroger

                  2. re: swsidejim

                    You can buy Kerrygold @ Publix.

                2. re: swsidejim

                  Your post is kind of missing the point. The purpose of using a butter bell is to keep your butter at room temperature for ease of use. The butter bell keeps it from getting too hot (although I've left it in the direct sun and come back to water with melted butter in it!) and protects it from going rancid by reducing exposure to oxygen. If you don't want to keep your butter at room temp, there's no reason to use a butter bell.

                  That said, sometimes when I don't want to bother with the butter bell I just leave my butter out. My house (in the SF area) stays pretty cool, and the butter is fine on the counter for several days or longer (depending on how fresh it was to begin with).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    my response states that i would never leave butter out of the fridge unless I was using it, butter bell or not.

                    I think it is kind of gross to keep butter unrefridegerated. Why do you think it is shipped and stored in refridgerated conditions?

                    the above statement is my humble opinion.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      You're welcome to your opinion, but I will politely disagree. Butter is an ancient food that predates refrigeration by milennia. It doesn't *need* to be refrigerated. Of course, depending on the amibient temperature it will go rancid. Even then it's still not spoiled (in the sense it would make you ill), it just doesn't taste good. So so extend the life of its quality, it should be kept cool and contact with air should be minimized, which is why it's kept refrigerated before sale (not to mention our overly zealous food safety laws). But that's also what a butter bell does.

                      I'm not saying I don't keep my butter in the fridge -- of course I do! But I also keep small amounts (what I'm going to use within a few days) in a butter bell or even *gasp* just in its wrapper on the counter, so I have spreadable-temp butter available when I want it.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Totally agree. Butter, as a mainly saturated fat, goes rancid much less quickly than margarine, made from hydrogenated mono and poly unsaturated fats. Since the USDA and corn industry hoisted this incredibly dangerous stuff onto the american public starting mainly in the 20th century (where the growth of heart disease is directly in proportion to the growth of margarine and inversely porportional to the drop in butter usage), refrigeration has become the norm - it had to - the stuff wouldn't last otherwise. Dairy farmers always knew better - the rest of us are just getting back to the farm.

                        1. re: applehome

                          I think the reason it is kept refrigerated for shipping and store display is that otherwise it would soften and get bashed up and unsaleable. I store it long-term in the freezer, but also generally leave some out for typically a week or so and don't have any trouble with spoilage. Indeed, I have been thinking about getting a butter bell for that reason, but based on the comments above I think I'll hold off for a while.

                3. I love mine--here's a link to a previous post of mine on this same topic (it's not that riveting, nevertheless, here it is:


                  Our previous solution was to leave a stick of butter out, but I always felt it was too mushy and subject to spoilage. The butter keeper keeps the butter fresher and a little more firm. I change the water every couple of days. No big deal.

                  I haven't tried it in summer yet...