homemade margarine

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anyone had any luck making homemade margarine? just made my first loaves of sourdough bread and it is FANTASTIC!! hate the thought of having to eat it without butter/margarine though. hmmmmm, wonder what the shelf life of parkay is?

-- steve (steve@NWMo.com), June 23, 1999


I experimented using butter extract combined with crisco lard.Then added a little food coloring (yellow) to the results...You'd be surprised! It tasted and looked like the real thing. The butter extract is in the spices section of the super market.

-- Shaking_in_a (Bunker@forty.feet), June 23, 1999.

Margarine last almost forever. My grandmother never refrigerated her margarine. Here is the information about storing butter I found on another forum:

Storing Butter

Butter can be stored without refrigeration once the moisture has been removed through heat. In India, this end product is called ghee. A 7.5-ounce jar costs around $8 in health food stores. One brand is Purity Farms and is made with organic butter.

You can also make it yourself. A batch I made about a year ago (stored at room temperature) is still fresh and will probably remain so for some time. It tastes different from regular butter--sort of nutty. Make a small batch and see if you like it. The original recipe calls for one pound unsalted butter. You can use salted butter if you prefer. You can also heat more than one pound of butter at a time--I have heated 3 pounds at a time. One pound of butter will fill a 16-ounce canning jar. It would be best to use a canning jar because other containers such as used mayonnaise jars can crack. Many grocery stores stock canning jars year round.

Here is the recipe for making your own ghee.

1.Put one pound of butter in a saucepan and melt it over medium heat

2.When it starts to boil, a foam will rise up. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer gently. Do not remove the foam--leave it in the pan.

3.The melted butter should be a golden yellow liquid--if the heat is too high it will be brown. Let it continue to simmer gently until it stops bubbling and foaming. It will then become still. This can take between 10 to 45 minutes, depending on your altitude and how much butter you have in the pan.

4.Test the butter by dripping a drop or two of water in it. It should crackle and bubble up, then become still again. It is now ready. 5.Quickly pour into canning jars and seal immediately. Make sure the lids are screwed on tight. When the liquid cools, a vacuum will be formed inside.

6.Let the jar sit undisturbed. In a few hours the liquid will solidify into a golden-yellow ghee.

7.Label and date the jar. Don't open it until you are ready to use it. You can spread it on toast, crackers, pancakes, etc. You can also use it to cook with, in place of cooking oil.

-- Carol (glear@usa.net), June 23, 1999.

thanks Carol!!! I'm deffenitly going to try it. I think I could live on this sourdough bread if I only had butter!

-- steve (steve@NWMo.com), June 23, 1999.


I found the solution to my "butter problem" in 'Butter Flavored Crisco'. It can be used as a butter substitute in all recipe's. I've talked to several people who have tried it as a spread on toast, etc. and they say that there's very little difference in flavor. It also has a very long shelf life. A 3 lb. can costs about $3.27 at Walmart. It might be worth checking into.

-- Ready & Waiting (not@home.com1), June 23, 1999.

There are some options for fats/oils with a good shelf-life, refrigeration not needed. (meaning they are stable, saturated fats, and contrary to popular thinking, not all saturated fats are bad for health).

(Margarine is a bad bet, not good for health because of the transfatty acids in it.)

Well I see some good comments on ghee went up while I was writing this! But I'll post anyway.


With ghee, the casein (proteins) are removed, so it has a much better shelf life than butter. Ghee is high in short-chain fatty acids, which are good for digestion. The simplest ghee is clarified butter, but ghee recipes can be more than that. Not all of these agree on the best way to make it. (The Ayurvedic philosophy is interesting but if not for you, the recipes still work!)


Ghee or Clarified Butter

Preparation time: less then 30 minutes
Ingredients: 1 lb. High quality butter (organic is best) [Important: use UNSALTED butter - add any salt just before eating, not during cooking]

Bring the butter to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered until done. There are a couple of ways to determine when it is done. One way is after the butter turns a clear golden color, dip a strip of paper into the butter, then move away from the butter and all other flammables and light the strip of paper on fire, if the paper sputters, crackles and pops, then the water has not been completely cooked-out and the ghee is not yet done. After using this method a time or two you can easily tell by the smell and color when the ghee has been properly cooked. Note when the butter first starts to boil there will be alot of bubbling and gurgling, then this action will subside, next the ghee will begin to develop a foam at the top, at this point the ghee is done. Once you make Ghee a time or two it becomes easy to tell when it is done.

Comments: What is Ghee? It's is basically butter that has the milk solids and water removed. According to Ayurveda, Ghee (clarified butter) is the best oil for cooking. This is because when used in moderation it stimulates the digestion`(Agni) better than any other oil. It also has the ability to increase ones immunity (called Ojas in Ayurveda). Give it a try! It is very tasty and without the side effects of plain butter. If your are like the rest of us around here you will not go back to using any other oil for your cooking. Note Ghee does not require refrigeration if you keep moisture out of it; for example, don't dip a wet spoon into the ghee jar.

Here's some info from books on Ayurveda. (from the Compuserve natural medicine forum)

Summary from Yoga of Herbs by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad (Dr. Lad is a world-renowned Master of Ayurveda and medical doctor):

(This is one of the best "recipes"). You just heat one pound of raw, unsalted butter for about 15 minutes, then turn the heat down low. When the butter turns golden and smells like popcorn, put a drop of water into the ghee, and if it crackles, the ghee is ready. Let it cool a bit and pour it through a strainer. [Store it in a very clean and dry glass jar].

You can store it without refrigeration, but never put a wet utensil into it, or it will spoil after that.

Ghee enhances digestion and all the digestive energies and enzymes of the body. It promotes a certain energy in the liver which governs the transformation of food. It doesn't clog the liver as do many other oils and fats [olive oil is an exception, I'd say], but strengthens it.

It's considered a rejuvenative tonic for the mind, brain and nervous system. It promotes "Ojas", which in Ayurveda refers to the subtle essence of all the tissues.

In Ayurveda, a Life of Balance by Maya Tiwari, she states that ghee is one of the most "sattvic" foods. (Sattva is a quality of energy, the principle of peace, harmony, balance, intelligence; foods that are sattvic will promote that energy in us). It's idea for cooking because it takes very high temperatures for it to burn. It has a way of synergizing with the nutrients in the foods it's cooked with that is very nourishing. It's good for all constitutional types, but more so for Vata and Pitta.

She recommends sterilizing the pan, spoon and storage jar first with boiling water. She doesn't strain or skim off the milk solids, but just lets them settle to the bottom [I prefer straining]

In The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar and Urmilla Desai, they say that ghee is the preferred fat in Ayurveda, being light, easy to digest, and potentiating to many of the foods it's served with. It's the only oil considered light on the digestive tract. For "kapha" constitutional types who tend to put on weight and have a tendency toward high cholesterol, it should be kept to a minimum.

In Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Dr. Lad, he says that when the ghee is finished cooking, take it off the heat right away, because it burns very easily. The whitish curds will turn a slightly tan color, but the ghee should not turn brown. Burnt ghee has a nutty smell. Think "popcorn", not "nuts" !

He says that the medicinal properties improve with age. It helps to improve absorption and assimilation of food. It lubricates the connective tissue and makes the body flexible.

In Ayurveda, medicines (herbs) are taken with ghee because the ghee helps to carry the medicinal properties of the herbs into the tissues.

(Also you can add seasoning: while the butter is melting put some turmeric, crushed fresh garlic, and roasted and powdered fenugreek (whole can be used but powder made with roasted fenugreek tastes best.) Or if you don't care for Indian spices, stick to just the garlic - mmmmm. Garlic sourdough.

Coconut Oil or Coconut Butter
(should be unrefined)

from Omega Nutrition http://www.Omegaflo.com

"Don't believe the negative media hype about coconut oil. This Third World product is a truly healthy substitute for other saturated fats, and for hydrogenated vegetable oils. Coconut oil got a bad name from its competitor, the North American vegetable oil industry. The truth is that traditional cultures who consume coconut oil regularly have the lowest incidence of heart disease. There is more good news: coconut oil contains 43-53% lauric acid (also found in mother's milk). This means that in addition to being great for frying and baking, it helps with calcium absorption and has significant anti-microbial properties.  But beware of cosmetic grade coconut oils [which are refined] sold in many health food stores as a food item. This product could be rancid and should only be used externally.  Concerned about cholesterol? Apparently saturated fat in coconut oil is not a problem if you consume Omega-3 from flax or fish oil to balance it."

There is a variety of new research as to the health benefits of unrefined coconut oil, search will turn it up.

Again you can add whatever seasonings suit your fancy.

-- Debbie (dbspence@usa.net), June 23, 1999.

In mid summer in Australia (110 degrees) they used to KEEP butter unrefrigerated by covering it in a weak brine solution. It stopped ot going rancid indefinitely.

-- pauline jansen (paulinej@angliss.vic.edu.au), June 23, 1999.

Thanks for all of the posts regarding ghee and other butter substitutes. I believe I'm going to purchase ghee next time I'm at the health food store, and some Crisco next time I'm at Wal-Mart. I'd like to have different options in cooking (Crisco for the chocolate chip cookies, ghee to spread on the bread).


-- jhollander (hollander@ij.net), June 23, 1999.

In the past, I have seen canned margerine (specifically canned for food storage) in #10 cans.

We will go with stored butter, then margerine for the first couple of months. Butter buds, and also using olive oil (perhaps with herbs in the jar) to dip your sourdough bread in. This last is a yummy alternative.

I could probably rig up a press (using an automotive jack) to get the oil out of dried coconut meat (copra), but it would definitely be a long term effort! Most of our coconut meat will probably go to the chickens. If we have a surplus, we can explore other alternatives.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), June 23, 1999.

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