Edible & Spreadable


What do you spread on your sandwiches?  Butter, margarine, something else or nothing at all?

I used to buy margarine without giving it a great deal of thought, however, about 18 years ago I changed to spreadable butter that I make myself.  My reasons are several:

  • Eliminate non-recyclable waste (margarine containers)
  • Health benefits (margarine is simply a chemical cocktail)
  • Easier to spread than pure butter
  • Know exactly what the ingredients are

2012-07-15 01This is the recipe.


500g butter
250ml oil
150ml water
3 tablespoons skim milk powder

2012-07-15 02Allow the butter to soften but not melt.  Beat butter using a mixer or food processor.  Combine the other ingredients in a jug and stir well to dissolve the milk powder.  Gradually add the mixture to the butter while continuing to beat.  Beat for another 1 – 2 minutes until white and creamy.  Spoon into containers and refrigerate.  This made almost 1500ml so it is really quite economical.  Actual costings would depend on the type of oil that you use.

2012-07-15 03I generally keep one container in the refrigerator and freeze the rest because we do not use a lot of butter and it will go mouldy/rancid if stored for long periods in the refrigerator.  I use Pyrex glass containers as they can be put in the freezer and I am constantly trying to minimise the amount of plastic that I use for storing food.

2012-07-15 04This mixture can be used instead of butter in cooking and baking.  The only exception I make is pastry as I prefer to use ‘real’ butter for that.

The type of oil you use is entirely up to you.  I choose to use locally grown and produced organic olive oil which I buy in bulk at the Co-op in Maleny.  Olive oil does have a distinctive flavour so you may prefer something more bland such as rice-bran oil.  I do not consider canola oil as an option as most of the commercial crop is genetically-modified and I prefer not to use foods that contain GM products.

This is not a totally zero-waste exercise but it is certainly better than all of the margarine containers that you would otherwise use.  I take my glass bottle to be refilled with oil.  The butter wrapper is used to grease baking trays or line cake tins and then goes into the compost.  I buy skim milk powder from Aldi in a 1 kg non-recyclable bag, however, I have recently discovered that I can buy this in bulk from Simply Good so will be doing that in the future.

11 thoughts on “Edible & Spreadable

  1. What a good idea, thanks! So I’m not the only one that saves my butter wrappers to grease pans? My mom used to do it, so I always have, too. Recently a house guest asked why I had a Baggie full of them in the fridge and looked at me kind of funny when I told him, like I’d gone off the frugal deep end..

  2. I am sure you will be happy with the recipe. House guests have a lot to learn………… We had friends come to lunch yesterday and as they were leaving they were quite intrigued by the plastic bags hanging on the line to dry.

  3. Oh, can you compost butter wrappers? I didn’t know that – I always assumed they were too waxy to work well… And Heidi and Fairy, I too wonder what guests think sometimes too – with solid shampoo and the like…those close to me are slowly ‘getting it’!

  4. The butter wrappers I’ve seen are not waxed, just plain paper and they certainly break down in the compost without any problems. If you want to speed up the process you can tear them into small pieces. This applies to anything in the compost – the smaller the pieces are the quicker it will decompose.

    • Right, I’ll try anything once! You’re on! (I have a bokashi bin, rather than a traditional compost heap, but it ends up in the garden somewhere, so I figure it’s all the same?!)

  5. I also keep butter wrappers in the fridge for greasing baking pans and I also wash plastic bags and hang them out to dry, much to my grandchildren’s amusement

  6. Dear Fairy. I’m scrolling through your blog and your new recipe section and I found this gem of information. I too gave up margarine years ago but it can be frustrating attempting to spread butter from a block straight from the fridge. And as you can imagine, living in Brisbane it’s not a good idea to leave butter on the kitchen bench. We would soon have rancid butter.
    I recognise the block of butter you are using for this recipe, I have one in my own fridge. I also use the skim milk powder normally purchased by the bag. Now that I know I can purchase it in bulk from Simply Good I’ll give them a visit, the branch at Alderley is not too far away.

  7. What a great solution to an evergreen problem. I can leave a 250g pack on the bench all day here in winter and it doesn’t soften, so this will be marvellous. Thank you. Barb

  8. I have also been doing this for year I got the original recipe off the SS site form a lady in SA by the name of Jen have not seen her for years

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