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Butter: one of the key ingredients

Today, concern for a balanced diet and fat-free butter has relegated to the background, giving preference to what once was considered a second-rate substitute: margarine. The difference between them is that margarine is vegetable fat and butter has animal origin (usually cows but also goats and sheep). It is not really more than a batter of cream (heavy cream) milk. Therefore, we can consider it be within the group of dairy products.

Its flavor, distinctive and unique, remains central to the major part of the world, especially in Anglo-Saxon, to cook all kinds of dishes. In south, although it is generally preferred olive oil as cooking fat, but butter remains the basis for developing recipes, baked goods and traditional desserts. Almost nobody can resist a breakfast of toast with a sweet jam and a delicious butter.

Origin and production

Origin and production

Origin and production

The Vikings and the Celts were the first to surrender to the taste of cream (heavy cream) whipped milk. These people used it, prepared and preserved in animal skins, as a constant source of energy. This ingredient was rejected by the Romans, who considered the product to be of barbarian cultures. It had not returned to the European diet until the Normans extended in XIV century by France and Switzerland.

In XVI century its use spread throughout Europe, with France and England being the major producers of butter. The settlers of the Western and Central Europe brought it to the territories of America, Australia and Africa.

In the mid-XIX century, they still got butter as cream (heavy cream) milk naturally, when fermented in butter. With industrialization it began to be produced from sweet cream (heavy cream). With the centrifugal separator, which emerged during the last quarter of XIX century, it was possible to produce butter intensively. Pasteurization and continuous improvements in industrial processes managed to accelerate and increase the quality of butter.

At present it is produced from cream which is cooled pasteurized for fat. With added lactic ferments and crystallized fat, it is beat to the cream (heavy cream). Depending on the way to knead, we get different textures. There are also varieties low in calories and beaten, much easier to extend than normal butter.

Buying butter

Buying butter

Buying butter

On the market there are various types butter of excellent quality and with different packaging. Normally, margarine usually seen in white plastic containers, and butter wrapped in shiny paper or aluminum. The packs tell us the date of expiration of this product, which always has to be refrigerated.

The best butter is yellow, not too hard, but compact. Then we appreciate it for its intense flavor, quality and preservation. Normally, once opened, the product is kept in the fridge for months, but salted butter can last longer than the sweet one.

Nutritional properties

Nutritional properties

Nutritional properties

There is no doubt that butter is a food rich in fat, so its use must be limited. No one should be deprived of the taste of butter, but it is a too energetic and has to be consumed in moderation. Apart from the fat and cholesterol, 100 grams of butter contains 750 calories.

Within a balanced diet, you can eat butter, but it is particularly suitable for those who need lots of energy, particularly athletes and thin people or making major physical effort. To their credit we must say that it is digested very well and rich in vitamins A and D.

Certainly, people with high cholesterol or triglycerides, arteriosclerosis or cardiovascular problems have to remove butter from their diet. Also, of course, those who are dieting should forget about this product and dispose of this eating habit.

Cooking with butter

Cooking with butter

Cooking with butter

Like any other type of fat, butter is essential for cooking, especially in certain countries, which is now part of everyday cuisine. For fried, oil roasted, stir-fried food and as a basis for sauces, this product gives a unique prescription that, for many, is essential.

Apart from these uses, no doubt, it is the most commonly spread on bread, on toast for breakfast, or in biscuits as an appetizer. It is also an essential element in baking and pastries, as an ingredient, for example of French delicacies such as brioches, croissants and pancakes, or English and Belgian pastries such as cookies and butter. Many other desserts are made with butter, especially lots of cakes and pies. Finally, we cannot forget that this product is a good ally to keep food from sticking, since fat insulates the container where it is cooked.

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