If you’ve read my blog at all before, you may have noticed that I have a slight affinity for butter. I don’t like to broadcast it too much, lest I be classified as some kind of Paula Deen or something, but, well, there it is.
With all that butter love, you’d think I’d know everything there is to know about storing and serving butter. However, I was quite surprised one day when I received a French butter keeper as a thoughtful gift, because I had never heard of one before.
At first I was a little skeptical. Could it really keep butter that fresh sitting on the counter? However, the addition of the word “French” to the name inspired me to learn more (I’m a sucker for anything that seems to come from classical French or Italian cooking).
But wait. I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. What is a French butter keeper? Quite simply, it’s a charming little contraption that, through the miracle of airtight vacuum technology, allows you to keep butter on your countertop at the perfect spreading temperature for up to 30 days without spoiling. One chamber holds the butter, and it’s placed into another chamber that contains water. When you assemble the two chambers, it displaces the water, allowing it to rise up and insulate the butter while forming an airtight seal. Here’s a visual of how this works. The weirdest part is how well the water regulates the temperature of the butter. It’s actually much cooler than if you had left a stick of butter out on your counter.
Let me tell you, after just one use, my butter keeper quickly became one of my favorite things in my kitchen. It’s amazing how something so simply designed in the late 19th century is still the best way to store butter today.
Butter keepers are sold under a variety of names, such as butter crock and butter bell (which is also a brand name). You can probably find them at specialty kitchen stores, but I think Amazon has a long list of options at great prices.