Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Real Butter is Healthy Butter - and it Tastes Better!

Inspired by my dad's recent question at Sunday dinner, "Why is your butter so yellow?" I decided to do a little butter review.  The folks at Organic Valley were kind enough to send me some to review.  I took a little trip to the local Kroger store and bought some of their store-brand butter to compare against the Organic Valley Pasture Butter they sent me.

First, 3 Comments for the Butter Haters:
1. My definition of real butter is; butter made from cows who have been grass-fed.
2. Butter is fat, and your body needs healthy saturated fats to stay healthy.  Don't buy into the lipid hypothesis lie.
3. Grass-fed butter has good stuff for you like omega 3's and CLCs.  Your body needs this stuff.

Nutrition Label Comparison.  You can click on the picture to see the full-size label if you are interested (it will open in a new window).  The differences are the Kroger butter has over twice the sodium (90 mg vs Organic Valley 40mg).  The Organic Valley butter has 1 more gram of total fat (12 grams vs. Kroger 11 grams) but both have 7 grams of saturated fat.

Kroger-Butter Organic Valley Butter

Color Comparison
You can see that the Organic Valley butter is much more yellow than the Kroger butter.  Why?  Because grass-fed cows produce more beta carotene and it makes the butter more yellow.

Organic Valley Butter vs. Kroger Butter

Let's Taste it on Some Bread
We picked up some Chocolate Cherry Bread from the Give Thanks Bakery and put a little on each of our pieces. WOW. What a difference. My mom, my husband, and I immediately noticed the difference (they didn't know which one they were eating, but I did).  The Organic Valley had a rich buttery taste as soon as we all put it in our mouth.  The Kroger butter was tasteless.  The second time I tasted the Kroger butter, I timed myself and it took 10 seconds until I was able to taste the butter.  From 0-10 seconds the butter was just kind of a tasteless wax.  All of us noticed this very obvious difference in taste.

Organic Valley Pasture Butter vs. Kroger Butter

Lets Bake It Up
My mom and I decided to try making sugar cookies with the each butter to see if we noticed a difference.  We weighed the ingredients to make sure everything was the same.

Butter Cookoff Ingredients Weighed

While creaming the butter and sugar (yes, way too much, these were a real treat) together the Organic Valley butter mixture was much more soft than the Kroger butter mixture.  Once we added the flour, the Organic Valley mixture was noticeably moister.  Not sure why?  Maybe you have an idea?  Leave it in the comments section.

Below you can see the finished cookies.  As you can see, there really isn't too much of a difference in how they look (The Kroger ones have a line in them so I could tell them apart).

Sugar Cookie Bakeoff

But how do they taste?  The taste difference wasn't as overwhelming as when we all tried the butter on the bread, but we did notice a slight difference.  Both cookies were very good, but the Organic Valley ones did have a more buttery flavor.  The texture was a little different too, but that could be to the additional flour I used when I was rolling them out, due the aforementioned very moist dough.

Before I started becoming more educated on the benefits of dairy products from grass-fed cows I used to regularly buy the Kroger butter.  I never really had any bad results when using it for baking or cooking.  However, now that I have taste tested the two side-by-side AND know the health benefits of the grass-fed over the corn-fed butter, I'll continue to buy the Organic Valley or Kerry Gold butter I usually buy.

Please don't think I am saying that Kroger is bad.  They have a very good organic section where I frequently purchase many of their organic foods.  The Organic Valley Pasture butter is cheaper at Kroger than at Whole Foods, so I always shop there to get it.  If you are looking for additional ways to save, check out the Organic Valley website where you can download and print Organic Valley Coupons.


Anonymous said...

what is the price difference between the two butters?

MaltaMom said...

At my Kroger the Kroger brand butter is $2.19 and the pasture butter is $3.99. They had the pasture butter for $2.49 for awhile if you had the Kroger card. I think my Whole Foods sells the pasture butter for $3.69. You can print coupons out from the Organic Valley website: http://www.organicvalley.coop/coupons/.

Also, as I mentioned in my beef post, food is often only looked at as an out-of-pocket cost, but I look at buying quality food as a long-term health investment.

Anonymous said...

I use Kerrygold Irish butter and it's to die for!...it's REAL butter and VERY yellow due to the beta carotene from the grass the Irish cows eat...people freak out over the fat factor found in butter...but your body needs certain fats to function properly, and the fat in REAL butter is a good fat..so eat butter, as in REAL butter...Organic Valley is a good brand...so is Kerrygold Irish butter.

MaltaMom said...

I completely agree. I really like Kerrygold butter too.

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