January 23, 2010
First of all, let's consider butter in all its forms. Basically, butter is cream after you've churned it for awhile. Churned meaning stirred steadily, kept it moving. You've seen those old butter churns in the antique shops. Usually, this cream is from a cow.
Types of Butter
After that, there are different types of butter. Organic butter leaves it at that: churn the cream, you're done. Organic butter also uses cream from cows that have been fed carefully, i.e., organic cream is the basis. Sometimes, buttermakers add yellow food coloring to the butter.
Sometimes, they add salt - salted butter was necessary long ago, to keep the butter from spoiling. European-style butter is regular butter, but a live culture is added to the cream before it's churned. This not only makes it friendlier to sensitive digestive systems, it makes the butter sweeter, too. Used a lot in baking. The most popular type of butter in the United States is unsweetened, unsalted, uncultured butter -- sometimes labelled "sweet cream butter," it's the basic stuff. Whipped butter has had nitrogen added to it, so that it's texture is altered and it is easier to spread.
Butter is Fatty - But That's Not All
A couple of years back, butter got a bad reputation for having lots of those evil trans-fats in it. That's true, pound for pound, if you compare butter to red meat. But no one eats that much butter in one setting, and one tablespoon of butter has a scant .39 grams of trans-fat in it.
Meanwhile, butter also carries with it lots of very good things. Butter is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin E and selenium. It also contains lecithin and several anti-oxidants, and components of real butter have anti-cancer properties.
So go ahead, have that butter on your toast. It's good for you.