Why is it that food at a restaurant seems to always taste better than what we make at home? Yes, part of it is we didn’t have to make it but the real answer is butter! Seriously, if you’re afraid of fat, you don’t EVER want to see how much restaurants use in EV. RY. THING. BUT, if you understand how good butter is for you and how it can truly benefit you especially when you make these DIY Herb Butters with all their antioxidant goodness, you will jump on the butter bandwagon and never look back.
What are DIY Herb Butters?
Whether you call them compound butters, flavored butters or herb butters, the basic gist is softened butter -ghee for Whole30/Paleo or a high-quality vegan butter without hydrogenated oils like Myokos Creamery Butter if you choose to eat completely vegan – mixed with herbs, salt, and other flavorings. The other flavorings can be minced garlic or shallots, citrus zest, cheeses (blue cheese is a fave), prepared sauces such as chimichurri or pesto, or spices such as cayenne, red pepper flakes or turmeric. Mix the ingredients into the butter completely then make a mound on a sheet of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap. Shape into a 1 1/2″ tube then roll up in the parchment paper tightly. Twist the ends like an old school piece of candy and place in the fridge until solidified.
Is Butter Good for You?
Our country has been fat-shamed for so long starting back in the 80s that we have lost touch with the way our great-great grandparents ate. They didn’t have processed food. They ate meat, vegetables and LOTS of fat including the fat of the animals. Did you know that prior to WW II, humans ate more than 80% fat? Flash forward to the 80s and 90s when we were told that we should consume no more than 20% fat and instead eat 10-12 servings of grains. Let’s see how that has worked out. In 1930, the rate of obesity in boys was 0% and girls was 1-2%. (1) The latest data for children and adolescents shows that the average rate is 16% overall. (2) Heart disease prior to 1920 was 0% and so rare that the man who invented the Electrocardiograph which would measure the amount of arterial blockage was laughed out of his Harvard colleagues offices because they thought it wasn’t even a profitable project to pursue (3) and yet now a century later with our lowfat diet, deaths attributable to heart disease are over 43%. (4)
The Framingham study on which the lowfat diet information was founded has actually been disproven. After running this study for 40 years (participants were compared at 5 year intervals during that time) the director, William Castelli, admitted:
In Framingham, Mass, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s blood serum cholesterol. . . we found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active.Castelli, William, Arch Int Med, Jul 1992, 152:7:1371-1372 (see the Abstract here)
What if I told you that every organ in your body NEEDS cholesterol and lots of it. We can’t think without it, our hearts can’t beat properly without it and we can’t have hormone balance without it. (6)
What Type of Butter is Best for DIY Herb Butters?
The quality of the butter is extremely important to get the health benefits. The absolute best butter would be a local, pasture raised raw butter however, that’s not typically possible so next best (in order): Pasture raised butter from a local source, grass-fed butter such as Kerry Gold, although Finlandia is better if you can find it, lastly organic butter. Unsalted butter is best, but if you can only find salted, just use 1/2 tsp less salt per stick of butter.
How to Use DIY Herb Butters
Now that you know how good butter is for you, it’s time to make several different kinds of DIY Herb Butters. You can store them in the fridge for a week or the freezer for at least three months. Slice and use to top a steak, burger, fish fillet, chicken or toss with cooked seafood or veggies. Make bistro-worthy creamy scrambled eggs by stirring herb butter in just before eggs are finished cooking and you take them off the heat. On that note, because of the fresh ingredients involved, it’s better not to heat them directly but allow the hot food to melt them.
DIY Herb Butters
Compound butters are simply softened butter combined with other ingredients. Formed into a log and hardened in the refrigerator or freezer, they are perfect to have ready to slice and finish off any grilled product. If you prefer vegan, use Myokos Creamery butter which works like a charm, just don’t let it soften too much. For Paleo or Whole30 you can use that or use ghee that is solidified and only slightly softened
- Basic Recipe
1 stick of butter, room temperature (or 1/2 cup ghee, cold and semi-solidified)
1 tsp sea salt (1/4 tsp if butter is salted) or to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
Blue Cheese Scallion – (Beef or lamb, burgers, grilled beets) 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese, extra black pepper, 1 chopped scallion (green onion)
Gremolata – (chicken, any fish or shrimp, vegetables) chopped parsley, lemon zest, minced garlic, 1/2 tsp extra salt
Orange Scallion – (chicken, any fish or shrimp, vegetables) chopped scallions, minced garlic, zest of 1 orange and 1 lime, lime juice, red pepper flakes
Southwestern – (chicken, pork, meaty fish or shrimp, vegetables, corn-on-the-cob) 1 tbsp Chili powder and the zest of 2 limes. Add salt to taste and a little lime juice to perk it up.
Lemon Herb – (anything) chopped rosemary and thyme (or any green herbs), lemon zest, minced garlic, black pepper, 1/2 tsp extra salt
Chimichurri – 1/4 cup prepared chimichurri (try to squeeze out as much liquid as possible using a spoon or small strainer)
Pesto – 1/4 cup prepared pesto (try to squeeze out as much liquid as possible using a spoon or small strainer)
Equipment: plastic wrap or parchment paper
- Stir the butter well then mix in basic ingredients and flavorings.
- Transfer the butter mixture to the long edge of the parchment paper or plastic wrap.
- Roll and squeeze the mixture into a log.
- Twist the ends (like a piece of candy) and fold them under.
- Refrigerate for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Castelli, William, Arch Int Med, Jul 1992, 152:7:1371-1372 (see the Abstract here)