I am fond of my Butter Bell

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/11/i-am-fond-of-my-butter-bell.html

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Been using one for years. The folks at Dark River Pottery make a very pretty version.

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I have not yet tried this but I presume at nominal Texas summer temperatures I would find the butter sitting at the bottom of the crock.

Also, why doesn’t the water in these things just become the perfect growth medium for transfer bacteria from, say, crumbs from the toast you leave on the butter that falls in to the water? I guessing I misunderstand the chemistry at play here :slight_smile:

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It will keep your butter at the ambient temperature of the room. You can add ice to the crock to chill it a bit, but then it’s a race to keep the butter spready.

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I don’t use butter enough to justify getting this but my parents might be interested though :thinking: might get it as a stocking stuffer for the holidays

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We got one last year and the instructions say to change the water around every 3 days.
We’re in Maine, but with no AC, so it gets pretty warm in the kitchen in the summer and haven’t seen any “spillage” yet, butter falling into the water.
We also like cream cheese but go through it very slowly so I got another butter bell, 8 oz size, thinking that (in the fridge) would work better than the foil wrapper. The first time I let the cream cheese get really soft before filling the bell and it ended up sliding into the water like you say. Since then I pack it in while still pretty firm and haven’t had any problems. And it keeps longer than when we rewrapped it in its foil wrapper, even if we were really careful.
I think it’s the air tightness that prevents spoilage.

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You don’t need the butter to touch the water. All you need is to have the “bell” touch the water, so fresh air is kept away from the butter. Without oxygen the chemical reaction that makes butter rancid cannot occur.

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Interesting. We’ve been using a standard glass butter dish with a lid, left on the counter, for years with no ill effects. No hard seal, the lid just rests on the dish. We use maybe a stick of butter ever 10 days or so? No problems.

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I’ve tried giving these as gifts, but hardcore butter users seem to be hardcore butter dish conventionalists… which makes sense, I guess?

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As I understand it the role of the water is just to create an airtight seal with the bell, so how is this better than any other airtight container such as a margarine tub or Rubbermaid bowl with a tight-fitting lid?

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I think it comes down to time and temperature. In the summer, even in Maine, we’d get butter getting kind of on the edge in our 2-person household when we used a butter dish with a lid. The butter bell keeps it nice and fresh for a couple weeks, at least.

It’s prettier on the table or countertop, mainly :slightly_smiling_face:

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I live in the US South, and I like to think I have a pretty keen sense of smell.

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Yeah, ours never got rancid, per se, it just got looking and tasting less fresh. And I don’t know your situation, but most of my friends in the south actually have cooler indoor temps in the summer than I do, b/c they have AC and we don’t.

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Where the butter bell is every day. :sunny:

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I have the same model and love it. Been using it for 6 years now.

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Ha! Well, you’re spared the spousal fights of “It’s too cold in here, turn the A/C off.” “No, it’s hot, turn it colder” and so forth.

Where the livin’s easy, the fish are jumping, and the cotton’s high.

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“Summertime, and the livin’s easy…” :musical_note:

Lana, just like butter.

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Same here. We use a Rubbermaid container, works great. We’ve left it on the counter before going on vacation for a couple of weeks and it’s fine when we come back. You don’t need anything fancy, unless the way it looks matters to you.

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Never seen this before. But I just got my own butter dish a few months ago - and gasp - did you guys know butter comes in different shaped sticks based on where you live??

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"Butter used to be sold in one pound blocks, wrapped in parchment paper and packaged in a cardboard box, until 1906, when a big buyer of butter from a restaurant in New Orleans asked if the butter company could sell butter in packs of four quarter-pound sticks rather than one big lump. They obliged, and the sticks were a hit. At the time, the town of Elgin, Illinois was known as the Butter Capital of the World, home to the famous Elgin Butter Company since 1871. It was with their Elgin Butter Cutter that the East Coast butter size was determined, according to a 1948 paper on the packaging of butter, and that’s how the name Elgin stick was derived.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the West Coast really got into the butter making game, as reporter Tommy Andres explained on APM’s Marketplace. According to John Bruhn, former director of the Dairy Research and Information Center at the University of California, Davis, “…the size of the cube you see is a result of newer equipment purchased at the time to package the butter.” And that difference has stuck, so much so that even Minnesota-based Land O’ Lakes makes butter in both sizes and ships it out regionally." -MyRecipes

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