Monday, May 10, 2010

White butter, yellow butter?

I wonder if you ever realized that this difference even existed. Surely butter is just butter, right? Cows are just cows, milk is just milk, no difference right?...uh oh, wrong I'm afraid. In my pursuit of the best ingredients for my food I've done a lot of research and a lot of tasting of various products and have been shocked by the results that I found in many basic ingredient categories. Check this out...

Take butter for example...a staple ingredient used every day in every kitchen, and a world of difference exists between 'great' butter and average butter. See the photo above? Did you realize how 'white' everyday processed butter is? Compare it with the other stick of butter which is a 'Kerrygold' product. Do you know what makes the color difference? And why should you care?

The white butter comes from corn (force) fed cattle, whilst the yellow butter comes from hormone free 'grass' fed cattle, and the secret to the color difference is a thing called "beta-carotene". When cattle are allowed to roam free in the open air and eat grass, as they were created to do, their milk is rich in Omega-3 and beta-carotene. This is the same stuff that creates the strong color in carrots and pumpkins, etc. A wonderful source of vitamin-A and a strong anti-oxidant. However, when cattle are stuffed inside windowless enclosures and are force-fed corn, which they were never intended to eat, then their milk is devoid of all the 'good' unsaturated fats and anti-oxidants. This is why white butter is so hard to spread, even at room temperature, whilst this wonderful yellow butter spreads right from the fridge...(which comes in 'handy' !)

So, if you take just a little extra time to find grass-fed dairy products you will do your family a world of good, I personally found that Kerrygold products work for me, but keep your eyes'll be glad you did! (And remember; always go for 'colorful' foods. The color is evidence of goodness!)

judith, the Irish Foodie.


  1. Judith, this is so timely, I was just recently wondering what the difference is between butters and especially brands like Kerrygold (I was actually going to ask you about that), and here is this informative blog post! Thanks so much. :)

  2. hello...

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  3. Much and all as I'd like to agree with you on the superiority of yellow butter from grass-fed cows (as an Irishman visiting the US and Googling the whiteness of the butter, which I had never seen before - actually doubted it was butter), yellow butter does not spread straight from the fridge.

    Normally, it doesn't get hot enough in indoors in northern Europe for butter to melt. Normally, one would cut off a chunk of butter and put it on a butter dish to keep around at room temperature for spreading on bread etc., but covered when not in use to reduce oxidization (the slightly darker and more translucent "skin" butter develops when exposed to light and air). The rest of the butter is kept in the fridge to prevent spoilage, especially if the temperature does get too high.

    Coordinating taking the butter out of the fridge in time for use, if it's to be spread on toast or similar, is almost an art! It takes time for the block to soften sufficiently to avoid tearing bread, even if lightly toasted. About the only way to speed up the process is a light microwaving, but then it's easy to go too far...

  4. Thank you for pointing out yet another reason grain-fed factory-farmed cows are a bad thing. If people knew how unhealthy America's livestock was [factory farmed, high density, forced to live in unnatural conditions and eat the wrong food, given antibiotics all the time], they'd be shocked!

  5. Interesting - I had no idea about the difference, so thank you :)

  6. Just what I thought, give us the genuine grown outdoor grass fed for the real made color. No dyes.

  7. I live in SW Germany, I walk to the dairy farm down the street where I see the cows in the beautiful green farm everyday, buy the fresh raw milk straight from the dairy farmer. THese cows are never inside and eat only grass-- however when I bring the milk home and skim the cream I have trouble with the butter setting when it does and it's pure white! Compared to the pasteurized cream I can buy from the grocer sets quickly into butter and turns out yellow.
    Can the pasteurization process be causing more yellowing? Like I said I see these cows everyday and know they are "happY" grass fed free range....

    any thoughts?


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