Ghee is clarified butter. Production involves melting butter to remove the milk solid and water content, leaving behind a higher fat content at approximately 90% fat or more. Ghee is commonly used in Indian cuisine and has a longer shelf-life than regular butter.
Cultured butter is produced the same way as traditional butter, however it is made from cream that has been cultured/fermented with lactic acid bacteria. Cultured butter has a rich aroma and a slightly tangy flavour. It also has a longer shelf-life than traditional butter.
The term ‘yellow fat spread’ is broadly used to describe all spreadable fats such as butter, margarine and blended fat spreads, whereas butter is defined as having no less than 80 % milk fat, a maximum water content of 16 % and it can be salted or unsalted. Margarine is a solid, malleable emulsion, principally of water and fat from either vegetable and/or animal sources. It is required to have a fat content of between 80-90 %, with reduced and low-fat versions are also available. Margarine usually contains less saturated fat than butter and it is often fortified with vitamins A and D to mimic the composition of butter. Blended spreads have a similar composition to margarine and are available in a wide range of fat contents. With the exception of butter, yellow fat spreads usually contain additives, colouring agents and preservatives.
Fresh milk from dairy farms is collected and brought to the creamery. The cream is then separated from the fresh whole milk using centrifugal force. It is then pasteurized by heating it rapidly to a high temperature to eliminate potential disease-causing bacteria and help the butter stay fresh longer. Once pasteurized, the cream is beaten vigorously in a churning cylinder until it thickens naturally into butter. The remaining liquid (buttermilk) is drained off, and the butter is mixed and blended. At this point, salt is sometimes added. The final product is, by regulation, at least 80% fat, about 16% water and 3% milk solids. After being weighed, cut, wrapped and chilled, the butter is delivered to your grocery store, ready for you to add to your favourite foods.
Butter is yellow because of the natural pigment carotene. Carotene is also why butter is a source of vitamin A. Carotene comes from the cows’ diet, which consists mostly of hay, silage, grains and cereals, which are converted by our body into vitamin A. Very rarely, more carotene, or another related natural pigment, is added to butter to enhance the yellow. This added pigment appears on butter labels as “colorant”.