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hydrogen gas
good cholesterol
bad cholesterol
trans fats
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those were the days
Is Butter Best
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Is Butter Best

As a young girl growing up in the country, I vaguely remember my grandmother churning butter. The large barrel held a lot of milk. Making butter was a labor of love that took patience and strength. I can still see in my mind the large, golden, soft chunks of butter rising to the top of the barrel. She would remove the butter, drain the excess liquid, add salt and put it aside. I knew later for dinner I would have a large piece of cornbread with fresh, salted butter for dinner. Those were the days!

I cannot remember how many times, through the years, I have been asked if butter is better than margarine. My answer has always been the same, as for my family, butter is best.

Butter

We prefer its natural flavor and taste. Butter is always the best when cooking, especially when baking breads, cakes or cookies, because it has a higher fat content than most oils. This yields the best results, such as flavor, moistness, and flakiness. Processed butters, be they, whipped or butter with added canola, olive oil will not give you the same results as butter. I use butter exclusively in all my cooking. Because of the high fat content, when stir frying or sauteing, I do add a small amount of olive oil because butter does not have a high smoke point and will burn.

Do keep in mind that one tablespoon of butter contains around 30 milligrams of cholesterol and 7 grams of saturated fat (your daily intake of saturated fat should be no more than 15 grams). If you have health issues, you need to be mindful of that. If not, try a variety of butters. Whipped butter is excellent for spreading on toast and does not have as much saturated fat.

Margarine

I do not prefer margarine because it is a processed substitute for butter. Hydrogen gas is added to vegetable oil, creating a semi-solid texture similar to butter but more spreadable. Some margarines contain trans fats, which lower good cholesterol and raise bad cholesterol. Those with a high risk for heart disease should weight the pros and cons of butter and a substitute.

Margarine is not good for most cooking, especially baking because it contains as little fat (35%), with the rest being mostly water or milk. Only use margarine in a recipe that has been formulated for it. If you use margarine in a baking recipe that calls for butter, you could end up with an item that is too runny and dry and does not have a rich buttery flavor and texture.

Enjoy!


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