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All about butter, for Dairy Day

Abigail Hynes, Wayne County Dairy Miss

February 16, 2012

HONESDALE, PA — The 2012 Wayne County, PA/Sullivan County, NY Dairy Day/Ag Day is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday, February 20, at the Honesdale High School, 459 Terrace St. A 12 noon lunch, supported by exhibitors, supporters and participants, will be available to the two counties’ farming community members. Registration is requested by Friday, February 17.

At the event, the Wayne County Dairy Court will be offering many dairy-related products and free recipe booklets and games. To get you in the mood, Wayne Dairy Misses Paige Gill and Abigail Hynes offer here some butter facts, tips and a recipe.

For more information or to register for lunch at the Ag Day, email WayneExt@psu.edu or call 570/253-5970, ext. 4110 (Wayne County); or email Sullivan@cornell.edu or call 845/292-6180 (Sullivan County).

Butter production began prior to the 1870s on farms by a process called churning. It wasn’t until 1871, in Iowa, that commercially produced butter became available.

Butter is made from 80% milk fat, water and nonfat milk solids. It can be made from milk, cream or a combination of both. It is not uncommon to find varieties with added salt. Salted butter is also marketed as sweet cream butter. Look for two common symbols on your butter package. If you are purchasing pure butter, it will contain the “real” seal. Your butter packaging will also have a USDA grade on it. The US government assigns a grade to butter based on four criteria: flavor, body, color and amount of salt. If your butter is of superior quality, it will be grade “AA.” Standard products will contain a grade “B” symbol. Butter graded B will most often be used for manufacturing purposes, while grade AA butter is mostly a consumer good.

Isn’t butter, butter? No. Just like many other dairy products, butter comes in a variety of forms to suit the tastes and needs of the consumer. Reduced-fat butter contains nonfat milk, water and/or gelatin. This type of butter is produced so it contains 40% or less milk fat. To be government approved, it must be nutritionally equivalent and have the same quality as regular butter. Because it contains less moisture, it is advised not to substitute reduced-fat butter for traditional butters when frying or baking.

Of special interest at Ag Day:

1:15 p.m. “Other Paths to Success in Dairy: A Panel Discussion”

2:00 p.m. “Farmer Listening Session: What Do Dairy Farmers Need in Order to Succeed?”

February Dairy Fact: It takes 22 pounds of milk, or about 1.4 gallons, to make 1 pound of butter.