Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Aug

Is All Butter Created Equal?

butterThe embrace (some might say exaltation) of butter is, in some respects, what sets the Primal eating plan apart from strict paleo. It is essentially pure animal fat with only minor traces of dairy proteins and sugars remaining, and for that reason I consider it a worthwhile staple. But, to answer the question posed in the title, not all butter is created equal. Most of us are in agreement that the nutritional content of the animal’s flesh depends on the content of its diet, and the same goes for butter.

We’ve covered similar ground with other foods – olive oil, cheese, chocolate, to name a few – but butter’s special. A quick glance around the forum and other online paleo/Primal/real food communities reveals that people are mad for butter. Perhaps it’s because we’re subject to a steady barrage of anti-butter propaganda from day one on this earth; perhaps it’s due to the fact that the stuff tastes like heaven and goes with nearly everything. Whatever the reason, butter knowledge is important.

Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed

The eternal battle rages on. While the grass-fed camp may be outnumbered, they are plucky, pugnacious fighters with superior armament, training, and tactics. Once they finish off grain-fed butter in Spartans-at-Thermopylae fashion, I expect them to make short work of margarine. Here’s why it’s so lopsided:

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Content

CLA is a funny fatty acid. It’s actually a trans-fat, but it’s a good, naturally occurring one. Instead of a group of candle wax makers creating trans-fats in industrial vats by hydrogenating cottonseed oil into disgusting, technically edible faux-butter, the special digestive systems of grass-fed ruminants produce CLA internally. The resulting trans-fat – which has been linked to superior heart health, suppression of tumors, reduced belly fat (although in pigs, I’m not sure that’s what we’re after!), and greater fat loss in the obese and overweight – pops up in the flesh and dairy of the animal. As far as cows go, pasture feeding leads to dairy CLA levels 3-5 times that of grain-fed cattle (PDF).

Winner: Grass-fed Butter

Vitamin Content

We’re drawn to colorful things, especially foods. Bright berries, verdant greens, multicolored fruits and peppers – these are the naturally occurring foods with the most phytonutrients. In fact, the actual dyes responsible for providing color to vegetation, like the blue in blueberry, are also usually antioxidants. Funny how that works out, eh? The same is true for butter. You ever notice how grass-fed butter actually looks like butter? It’s a deep yellow, sometimes bordering on orange, whereas grain-fed butter is white and waxy. It’s yellow because it has more carotene (think carrot, think orange) and Vitamin A. It’s got more carotene because it comes from cows that eat fresh vegetation rich in the stuff. From pasture to ruminant to digestive tract to butterfat to butter to you. Grain-fed? From the study I just linked, even back in 1933 they understood that “the oil cakes and cereals in common use are incapable of bringing about this result” of yellow, vitamin-rich butter.

Vitamin K2, in case you weren’t aware, appears to reduce, prevent, or even counteract arterial plaque, and it helps the body use calcium correctly and effectively. Vitamin K2 is another vital component of grass-fed butter. As Dr. Weston Price observed, only cows subsisting on fresh green grass produced butter imbued with significant levels of the all-important “Activator X,” which most people agree is vitamin K2. Cow stomach fermentation turns K1 (found in leafy greens, like kale, chard, spinach, and, yes, leaves of grass) into K2, which then shows up in the dairy fat. How much Vitamin K1 do you think there is in corn? Not much at all (PDF).

Winner: Grass-fed Butter

Fatty Acid Composition

Whether it’s grass-fed or grain-fed, butter is rich in saturated (about 2/3) and monounsaturated (just under 1/3) fat. The rest is polyunsaturated, but this is where grass-fed and grain-fed really differ. Cows raised on pasture produce milk fat with an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 1. Yes, equal amounts. A balance. Grain-fed cows, on the other hand, produce a ratio tilted heavily toward omega 6. It’s true that we’re talking about relatively miniscule amounts of polyunsaturated fats here, but I prefer the balanced ratio. And if you’re putting away as much butter as I can, those insignificant amounts of omega 6 can begin to add up.

Winner: Grass-fed Butter

Flavor

Flavor is usually a subjective determination. What tastes better is entirely a matter of personal opinion, right? Not in the case of butter. Grass-fed butter tastes objectively better using any parameter. Creaminess? Smooth, yellow grass-fed butter can be eaten and enjoyed like candy. Richness? Grain-fed is weak and insipid in comparison. Mouth feel? Grass-fed coats the interior (in a pleasant way), while grain-fed comes off as watery and unnatural.

Winner: Grass-fed Butter

All that said, grain-fed butter is still a better option than conventional cooking fats, like vegetable oil or margarine. I still request restaurant food to be cooked in butter, completely aware that it’s probably white as a ghost and totally grain-fed. The saturated fat in regular butter isn’t any less stable.

Grass-fed isn’t as tough to find as you might think, though. And even if it’s more expensive, it’s still cheaper than shelling out the dough for exclusively grass-fed meat. In fact, for those of you who can’t regularly eat pastured meat, eating lean cuts of conventional meat cooked in a quality grass-fed butter is a great compromise.

Watch out for these brands near you:

A favorite, fairly easy-to-find brand is Kerrygold, an Irish dairy whose cows are all pastured and whose butter is incredible. I get mine for $2.69 at Trader Joe’s, but I’ve seen it in basic and specialty grocery stores, too (albeit for slightly higher prices). Look for the silver foil (unsalted) and gold foil (salted) packages.

Anchor butter is another tasty one. It hails from New Zealand, land of reliably grass-fed lamb, and I’ve seen it at Whole Foods for a reasonable price. If you can’t find it there, you could always order online in bulk. Just freeze the extras.

Organic Valley has a seasonal pastured, cultured, salted butter that usually appears in spring, which is when the grass is at its greenest. I’ve had it a few times. It’s good and a bit tangy, and it comes in a green foil package. Skip the regular Organic Valley stuff, which gets some grain.

Check farmers’ markets. If you’ve got a dairy stall, you’ve probably got access to good butter. Talk to the producers about the cows’ diet.

Terminology

Learn the slang that’ll help you blend in with the cool kids at the next Weston A. Price Foundation meet-up.

What is cultured butter?

Cultured butter is traditionally made from fermented, or soured, cream. It’s not actually the butterfat that ferments, but rather the trace amounts of lactose sugars present. Nowadays, though, most commercial cultured butter is “cultured” by the incorporation of bacterial cultures. “European style” butter is cultured butter.

What is “sweet butter”?

Historically, sweet cream butter came from fresh cream, rather than soured or fermented cream. Relative to cultured butter, it’s rather “sweet.” These days, it’s often just another way to describe unsalted butter. Sweet butter is better for cooking, as most recipes assume the use of unsalted butter. Also, since salt is a preservative, sweet butter tends to be fresher (since it has to be, having no preservatives).

What is clarified butter?

Heat butter until it melts, let it cool and settle, then skim off the top layer of whey protein and pour off the butterfat, leaving the casein proteins on the bottom – you’ve got clarified butter.

What about ghee?

Ghee is basically pure butterfat, rendered down and stricken of all lactose and dairy proteins. It’s ultra-clarified butter in that it reaches a temperature high enough to cook off the water and brown the milk solids, which imparts a nutty flavor to the finished product. Properly made, ghee can stay on the counter for about a year without going bad. If you’ve got one, check your local Indian grocer. They’ll have huge tubs of intensely yellow ghee for sale. Is it all grass-fed? I’ve no idea, and the rich color isn’t a reliable indicator since the color could come from the browned milk solids. Anyone know for sure?

There are clear winners and losers in life. Grass-fed butter wins handily and grain-fed loses. There’s not much more to say other than get out there and find yourself a decent source of grass-fed butter!

Thanks for reading, everyone, and Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. First!

    I can all but guarantee that Ghee isn’t grassfed

    RP wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • It all depends on your sources. I buy my ghee from two sources that are 100% grass-fed, and make my own from local 100% grass-fed butter.

      Jenny wrote on August 3rd, 2010
      • Jenny, where can i buy grass fed butter in canada?

        Tricia wrote on June 16th, 2014
    • Two brands offer grass-fed ghee: Pure Indian Foods and Purity Farms.

      Jeanne Wallace wrote on September 6th, 2012
    • I’ve made my own ghee from grass-fed butter. Easy peasy.
      Still, it’s simpler for me to cook with coconut oil most of the time.

      Beefwalker wrote on October 31st, 2013
  2. You just need at the yellowish butter that grassfed cows produce to know that it’s better! No wonders other butters and margarine are using chemicals to make they sub-optimal food look like the real thing.

    JP wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Smjor from Iceland is hands down one of the best butters for cooking. It has an extremely low measurable water content – moreso than most butters – so you’re getting more bang for your buck.

      It is made from the milk of grass fed cows and while it isn’t certified organic, Iceland’s policies on sustainable farming make it a superior product nonetheless.

      The only place I’ve ever seen it in the states is Whole Foods Market (John Mackey’s machine has arranged several exclusive arrangements with the Icelandic government – lamb comes to mind – to be the sole retail purveyor of their products in the US – though some restaurants have the goods as well . . . at a premium). I know they were the only ones allowed to carry it in the states up to at least 2007.

      But that prejudice aside, it really is good butter.

      brahnamin wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  3. Just purchased organic butter [woodstock]. Is that a guarantee that the cows it came from are grass-fed?

    Nan C wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • No. They’ll do anything to put the “organic” label on stuff but not necessarily humane treatment of the animals or grass-feeding.

      I’m surprised they haven’t label foods with “HD”. Oh boy! HighDef Butter!

      Jonathan wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Organic definitely doesn’t automatically mean grassfed. However, in this instance, I can say that it is. I contacted Woodstock a few weeks ago, and they assured me that their cows are grassfed. Given the bright yellow color, and the full taste, I’d say that it’s pastured even without their assurance.

      WordVixen wrote on December 2nd, 2010
    • As I understand it, ‘organic’ dairy cows are always fed some organic feed (which is almost always grain and animal product). It wouldn’t be possible to certify them as organic if they were simply eating grass.

      beefwalker wrote on March 11th, 2013
  4. Trader Joe’s brand organic butter is also grass-fed, and it’s about a dollar or so less per pound than the Kerrygold.

    Audry wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Trader’s Joe Brand organic butter is not 100% grass fed as far as I can tell.

      “Pastured and vegetarian diet” most likely means has access to grass sometimes, and fattened up on grain.

      I live in California as well, $2.99 per stick isn’t expensive, normal butter is just artificially cheap. Even if you use an entire stick everyday (Which I don’t) $3 won’t kill you. Just do it right.

      Johnny wrote on October 9th, 2012
      • Trader Joes sells Kerrygold grass fed butter.

        Marshall Stephenson wrote on February 24th, 2013
  5. I buy Purity Farms Ghee which is grass fed and organic.

    http://www.purityfarms.com/

    Fevernova wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Another vote for Purity. Awesome stuff!

      Pashmina wrote on July 17th, 2011
      • Are you sure it’s grass fed? I use it as well. It says pastured and vegetarian diet, so possibly fed grains some or most of the time?

        RS wrote on May 14th, 2012
  6. What about salted vs. unsalted butter? Is the sodium content of salted butter significant?

    Charles J. Walker wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • It isn’t significant if your diet is not full of processed foods which are full of salt. Matter of fact, if you make most of your food from scratch you probably need to add salt so you aren’t deficient. I make my own butter and add Himalayan sea salt to it. Anyone can buy some cream and make your own butter so you know what is in it. I get raw cream right from a dairy and make mine.

      cyndiann wrote on July 4th, 2014
  7. I just made some ghee last week from grass-fed cultured butter. It was soo good! If anyone has not tried ghee it is so worth it.

    I find ghee to be good for frying eggs and sauteeing vegetables. It doesn’t burn like butter does and the flavour is just so good.

    Kat wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Ohh! did you use bay leaves?

      mm wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  8. Lately, I’ve been eating the Organic Valley pastured butter side by side with the Kerrygold. The flavor of the Kerrygold is, IMHO, significantly superior. The Organic Valley tastes rather bland.

    Great article, thanks.

    Alan M wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I used to think this, now I alternate between the two. For some reason after finishing a bar of one, then the other will taste better to me. Also Kerrygold makes a very good Reserve Cheddar (aged 2-years) that I sometimes eat in combination with butter (oink oink) but funny enough, it goes better with the OV butter than their own. IMO of course.

      Carlos wrote on August 3rd, 2010
      • If I run across that cheese, I’ll have to give it a try.

        Alan M wrote on August 3rd, 2010
        • Costco here in the PNW carries it in the 2lb “loaf” for about $8…not bad considering the price of a 2lb block of Tillamook cheddar at the regular grocery store.

          Casey P wrote on August 3rd, 2010
      • Also, Kerrygold Irish Dubliner cheese is possibly the best cheese ever made. Seriously.

        Kris wrote on August 3rd, 2010
        • I’m going to look for that…

          richard wrote on August 3rd, 2010
        • I agree 100% Kerrygold Dubliner is amazing

          Audry wrote on August 3rd, 2010
        • Kerrygold Dubliner is my favorite eating cheese — now I know why it tastes so good! No more feeling guilty for eating the good stuff. :-)

          Aneiya wrote on June 27th, 2012
        • Dubliner is the BEST cheese EVER!!

          Eric M wrote on April 16th, 2013
      • For the record, you should be aware that Irish products are high in fluoride. Dubliner’s cheese had levels up to 29 ppm, Irish Oats are 3 ppm, Kerry Gold Butter 5 ppm and Bulmers cider (Magners) 9 ppm. The safety limit set by the HSE ( Ireland’s health service) is 1 ppm.

        Islander wrote on March 30th, 2014
    • I did this also and agree with you. I also noted that O.V butter doesn’t melt as fast as Kerrygold. Wonder what that means?

      NotSoFast wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • The fat is less saturated.

        Carlos wrote on August 7th, 2010
    • Organic Valley PASTURED butter is grain finished, only about 65% grass-fed if I remember correctly. I exchanged emails with them in 2011 digging deep into this and they eventually told me. Ask them yourselves… organic@organicvalley.coop

      Danny wrote on November 28th, 2012
  9. I once worked in a Swiss restaurant and there was a sticker on the cooler door that read “A meal without butter is like love without kisses”.

    Peggy wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  10. Unless it says unequivocally, commercial Ghee is NOT from grass fed animals. My family has been using ghee regularly for over 2 generations – The “grandmothers formula” to check ghee quality would be:

    1. Ghee from Buffalo milk is light colored, while from cows milk is deeper yellow and has a stronger aroma.

    2.Rub some solidified ghee between your fingers and their will be a slight grainy feeling. This, apparently, indicates purity – but I am no expert.

    3. If looking for grass fed ghee – the best way is to get grass fed unsalted butter and make your own, it is really simple and takes very little time (as Mark has explained). Traditionally, all ghee using families that I have known, make their own.

    Resurgent wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I make ghee at home with KerryGold butter and the texture is always grainy.

      maba wrote on August 3rd, 2010
      • What are your exact steps in your method? I haven’t ever made it and would like to.

        Thanks!
        Bob Garon

        Bob Garon wrote on December 26th, 2010
        • Me too.

          sonnie gladd wrote on January 20th, 2011
  11. I personally use coconut oil for all of my cooking. But, I have used butter a few times recently. I do love the taste of it, even grain-fed. I have never tried ghee but really want to. I will have to give kerry gold butter a shot since grass-fed is a billion times better than grain-fed.

    Coconut oil still wins in my book. It is 100% saturated fat – the best for ya!

    Primal Toad wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I can cut a slice of Kerry Gold off and eat it plain. Man it’s good!

      Jonathan wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Coconut oil is NOT 100% saturated fat.

      Rhonda wrote on August 3rd, 2010
      • Alright… 92% is it? 100% fat and just about 100% saturated fat.

        Primal Toad wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  12. Whole foods sells ghee that specifically says on the side “pasture raised.”

    Gil Butler wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  13. I purchase mine online and it is soooooooooooooo good!!

    Dusty wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  14. Apropos ghee and animal feedstuffs – the following may be relevant.

    Katherine Czapp over at the WAPF says that “fresh cow dung as an antiseptic, sanitary and healing agent has been [used] for centuries in India and Nepal” but adds the following:

    “Modern Indian practitioners today caution that the medicinal and antiseptic qualities of cow dung have been deteriorating in recent years due largely to [I]unnatural foodstuffs fed to the animals[/I]. These include everything from invading leguminous weed species in pastures to fishmeal fed on farms. The resulting dung from these animals will not prevent infection, they warn, but can actually cause it.”

    http://www.westonaprice.org/in-his-footsteps/232-diet-of-mongolia.html

    Interesting and plausible.

    People in mediaeval and Tudor times used to put dung in daub for wattle-and-daub walling. Here’s someone applying daub at Sam Wanamaker’s reconstructed Globe Theatre:

    http://www.suite101.com/view_image.cfm/183676

    If you told children that you’d get an “ughh”. However, you have to wonder if the dung of domestic animals was less offensive in those days.

    But, anyway, it sounds like at least some cows in India may be fed on supplements like fishmeal nowadays.

    Lewis wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • that Diet of Mongolia page is good reading.

      I should show that to my Chinese teacher when he insists that milk will make you fat. Obviously there’s more to the story…

      Holly wrote on August 4th, 2010
      • Milk does make you fat. It can raise insulin levels very high.

        Peter wrote on March 12th, 2012
  15. We mostly use grass-fed ghee in cooking and we get about 1 pound of raw grass-fed butter each week from a local farm. It’s phenomenal, but the cultured raw butter has a strong taste that takes some getting used to.

    Jenny wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  16. I love Kerrygold! It really isn’t that much more expensive than “regular” butter, and it tastes wonderful.

    For anyone else in the SW Ohio Valley region, we can get grass-fed, lightly pasteurized heavy cream from Snowville Creamery in many many places (I can get it from Whole Foods or a local farmer’s market). The cream itself is AMAZING, and if you want local/grass-fed butter for an awesome price ($8 for a half gallon of cream, which will make about 6 cups of butter), just pour the cream into the food processor and let it go for a few minutes! I absolutely love the butter that their heavy cream makes, it literally tastes good enough to eat all by itself.

    Hannah wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  17. Yeah! I am using the right butter! Kerrygold – and I found it all by myself! I use butter and coconut oil for sauteing and olive oil for salads and tossing veggies with garlic in the oven.

    Louise wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  18. “While the grass-fed camp may be outnumbered, they are plucky, pugnacious fighters with superior armament, training, and tactics”

    Aw, shucks. Trying to butter us up, Mark?

    I’ve used Kerry Gold and Anchor butters many times. Both are delicious (I tend to favor the Anchor butter). I love to cook eggs in Purity Farms Ghee which says on the label that it’s from grass-fed cows (I buy it at WF for a hefty price but it’s worth it IMO).

    I’ve also been using cultured raw butter from pastured cows made by Organic Pastures (I also drink their raw whole milk and raw cream). Luckily for me, the raw butter, milk, and cream are sold at the newly opened Sprouts supermarket that is walking distance from my house. All the more reason to love Culver City, CA!

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  19. We are spoilt for choice down here in New Zealand with a wide range of great quality grass feed butters. If people want to try find some Anchor butter. Try http://www.fonterra.com they do a great Anchor Unsalted Butter. Mainland is a great brand too.
    Nick, New Zealand

    Nick C wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  20. Just wanted to put this up an article about low fat vs. low carb on cnn’s health tab. some of the comments below are pretty interesting.

    http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/02/low-fat-or-low-carb-that-is-the-question/?hpt=Sbin

    Chops wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  21. Vitamin A question here. All the butter nutrition facts I look up have Vitamin A at 7% or 8% of the RDA, whether grass-fed or conventional. The ingredients don’t list added Vitamin A. What’s the dealio?

    I suspect that you can’t have colorless beta-carotene, so maybe the online label is missing something? (Although this has been corroborated by peeking at butter in the fridge)

    Guy_From_Amelie wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I’m not sure the nutrition label for butter has much to do with the package you are looking at; I’d expect there to be a standard label for butter.

      That said, some breeds of cattle just convert less of the carotene into retinol. Fed the same, they will have the same total amount of Vitamin A as other breeds, but more carotene, and less retinol. Jersey cows are known for their very yellow milk, for example.

      “On Food and Cooking” is great for these questions.

      John H wrote on February 9th, 2011
  22. Love Kerrygold.

    The usual line up of butters in the store taste rancid to me.

    Anne wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  23. Did anybody see the CNN article about low fat vs. low carb? it’s on the home page under the health tab. Interesting comments below too.

    Chops wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Yes and it saddens me to see so many people simply not getting it when I read the comments.

      When you hangout in the primal/paleo circles for long enough you tend to think the everybody is getting it, but of course this is not the reality.

      Sebastien wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  24. Hi Mark,

    This post came at a perfect time because I’m working my way through Weston Price’s “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” right now. Yesterday I finished the chapter where he talks about mixing equal parts grassfed butter and cod liver oil as a supplement to activate fat soluable vitamins. Could you do a post about that? Is that something worth trying? I’d hate to think the vitamins in all those vegetables I eat are going to waste!

    Thanks,

    Jim

    Jim wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  25. Been loving using butter over the last few months after using vegetable oils and canola spray oils for so many years.

    Did’nt expect to see my homeland Anchor brand listed here. Ive got some Mainland butter in the fridge at the moment (another traditional dairy brand over here). Will have to get some Anchor and do a comparison with some of the categories you’ve listed here.

    Keep up the good work.

    Jonathan wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  26. Sigh… once again my location (the mountains of BC, Canada) preclude my ability to get grass-fed anything.

    Would anybody else move just to be able to have access to real foods?

    Arlo wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • How about lichen-fed butter from big horned sheep or mountain goats?

      Aaron Blaisdell wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Move to Colorado… we’ve got mountains and grass-fed everything! :)

      StephieLiz wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • We moved from Arizona to the Portland, OR area for just that reason. So nice to be able to grow stuff without major irrigation! So, yes, someone else would and did. :)

      Sue wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I sure hear you about the availability of healthy food. From living in the High Arctic, I’ve learned that you do the best with what you can get. Lack of access to the best foods is not an excuse to eat the processed carbs! Of course, if you add wild foods to the sub-standard foods available, they might balance out the whole.

      ArcticBear wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  27. Ditto the Kerrygold love going on here. I’m a bit strapped for cash, but I do like to splurge on it occasionally.

    Darrin wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  28. Yay for Anchor butter all the way from ‘little ol’ New Zealand. I sometimes snack on butter whilst cooking dinner. I’ve noticed a variance in the tastes of different butters in NZ – and blamed the difference on my taste buds & now I’m wondering if some herds are getting supplementary grain feeds.

    Amber wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I doubt it, as it would be more costly to produce grain feed butter in New Zealand.

      Johnnyv wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  29. It wasn’t mentioned yet, but Pure Indian Foods (http://www.pureindianfoods.com/) produces an excellent organic pastured and grass-fed Ghee. It doesn’t get better than this.

    Sebastien wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I agree!! That is the ONLY ghee I buy these days. The taste is incredible! They only use the milk from cows that are out on organic pastures (so they don’t use the milk that’s produced in the winter when the cows eat hay).

      Marty wrote on August 4th, 2010
  30. I see the Organic Valley grassfed butter around, and maybe Kerrygold if I hunted, but my local dairy (the cows live literally about seven miles away from my house) sells delicious butter at their outlet. Now, I know it’s not grassfed much if at all, but the local food, small-business aspect is really powerful to me — and correspondingly the idea of importing butter from Irish cows bothers me a bit, when you think of the fossil fuels involved.

    Anne wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • Thank you for saying that. I refuse to buy kerrygold no matter how good it is because I don’t need my butter imported from Ireland. We make lots of good local butter here. I would like grassfed butter but I find local, organic stuff so it’s a toss up and local wins imo.

      Katie wrote on August 3rd, 2010
      • Methinks you overestimate the impact of bulk transportation, and underestimate the impact of corn feed.

        Butter is a perfect long distance food; it lasts for a long time, so it can be transported on a boat, it is resource intensive (a lot of feed goes into a gallon of milk, a lot of milk goes into a pound of butter), and the variation in environmental impact depending on where it is produced is huge (rain irrigated pasture over artificially irrigated grain).

        John H wrote on February 9th, 2011
  31. ‘pureindianfoods’ sells organic grass fed ghee. I personally use it and they are way better than what you find in your local Indian grocery stores.

    kishore wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  32. apart from cooking how do you guys consume the butter?

    Mo wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  33. Anyone know of some Australian brands that would equal the quality of Kerrygold?

    Clint @ Crude Fitness wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • We don’t raise cattle or dairy cows in the same horrific ways they do in the USA, so you can be ‘fairly’ sure most of our dairy cows are grass-fed, but if you want to be SURE, then what I use is Westgold (from NZ). Cheap, delicious and is available at most Coles and Woolies. :-)

      Beefwalker wrote on October 31st, 2013
  34. Go here for 100% grass fed Ghee. It is so tasty!!
    http://www.pureindianfoods.com/order.shtml

    Clint White wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  35. @Kishore .. I definitely agree with the pure indian foods grassfed ghee. I just ordered some off their website and it comes with a cool little pamphlet all about their grassfed ghee and methods used. They even go as far as making it only on a full moon or waxing moon, I have no idea what effect that may have but it sounds awesome. Just do a search for pure indian foods on google. Btw it’s also absolutely delicious.

    Tyler wrote on August 3rd, 2010
    • I think they make their ghee from milk produced only from spring through fall.

      Kishore wrote on August 4th, 2010
  36. “While the grass-fed camp may be outnumbered, they are plucky, pugnacious fighters with superior armament, training, and tactics. Once they finish off grain-fed butter in Spartans-at-Thermopylae fashion, I expect them to make short work of margarine. ”

    Actually it was the outnumbered _Spartans_ who got slaughtered at Thermopylae, in spite of superior armament (doubtful), training (yes), and tactics (no — just fight to the death!). Of course the Greeks did eventually win that war.

    garymar wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  37. nice post. I do like the kerrygold. I am BOYCOTTING Organic Valley even though I love their pasture butter. (Because they recently forbid their dairy suppliers to sell raw milk on the side- forcing them to either lose most of their OV income or cut off the local communities of their precious raw milk supply). I just ran out of my supply of amish roll butter I bought from my old co-op in KY and the store conventional butter is so bland.
    Time for a trip to Jungle Jim’s to see what butters he brings in. Too bad he doesn’t carry Snowville’s Cream!! I love making my own butter. I used to get Snowville from Whole Foods but I am boycotting them as well

    NourishedMom wrote on August 4th, 2010
    • Another Jungle Jim fan. My kids love to spend the afternoon there.

      JenCat wrote on August 4th, 2010
  38. Are we talking about cows that live and eat on pastures *12 months* per year, or do they eat silage about 6 months per year (late Fall, Winter, and early Spring)?

    Silage (from Wikipedia):
    Includes corn (maize) or sorghum or other cereals, using the entire green plant (not just the grain). Silage can be made from many field crops, and special terms may be used depending on type (oatlage for oats, haylage for alfalfa – but see below for different UK use of the term haylage).

    Glenn wrote on August 4th, 2010
  39. For those in New England, Kate’s Butter — a Maine product with fairly wide distribution — is mostly grassfed from about April through about November, when the cows get put on silage. (You can tell by the color, which they do not alter.) It’s quite good, considerably cheaper than Kerrygold, and available in many supermarkets.

    John R wrote on August 4th, 2010
    • I LOVE Kate’s!. Super creamy and tasty, and semi-local for me.

      Katie wrote on August 4th, 2010
  40. Ooooo this is getting me really excited to try the stash of Kerrygold butter in my fridge that I asked my mom to bring from Trader Joe’s the last time she visited. I had been saving it for special garnishing purposes but now that I see all of the health benefits I’m tempted to make it my staple butter (instead of my local grocery store’s $4.39/lb. organic, but grain fed, butter).

    I seem to remember large tubs of organic ghee available at Whole Foods for about $14 – but not sure if it’s grass fed. Is there such a thing as grass fed ghee here in the States?

    Thanks, Mark, for tackling the issue of which butter is better! :)

    Family Grokumentarian wrote on August 4th, 2010

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