I know it isn’t a cool thing to admit, but I like butter. And I mean real butter – not that plasticized vegetable oil spread people claim is just like butter. It’s not like I eat slabs of butter at every meal or even have butter every day, but I think there is absolutely no substitute for real butter in a lot of situations. I enjoy cooking with my sous vide cooker, and butter is a great way to brown things up after I’m done sous vide-ing them. I also love putting some butter in mashed potatoes or on a sweet potato. Like I said, I’m not very cool.
I’m also pretty un-cool because I enjoy finding ways to save money. As I wrote back in March with our “un-budget” way of budgeting, we’ve been trying to find ways to cut a few dollars here and there because it all adds up! One of the ways we realized we could save some money was by buying butter in bulk at Costco. The problem is, these bulk slabs of butter aren’t very handy for everyday use! They were awesome when I was making buttercream icing for our wedding cake, but it’s difficult and annoying to get a single serving off one of the one pound blocks. I was determined to save some money, though, and figured out how to make bulk butter more manageable. My husband was skeptical at first, but my idea totally worked! I just portioned out our second pound of butter since coming up with the idea, so I thought I’d document and share it with everyone as a cooking tip and way to save some money.
At our local Costco, the butter comes in a 4 pound box consisting of 4 one pound, individually-wrapped slabs. Butter can be frozen, so if you think you won’t use all of the butter before it goes bad go ahead and freeze a couple of the slabs (blocks?).
What you’ll need to make bulk butter more manageable:
- Butter (of course!)
- A tablespoon (metal works better than plastic, in my experience)
- A sharp, thin knife
- Paper towels
- A couple of large plates
- An air tight container
1. When you’re ready to portion out your butter, let one 1-pound block sit out on the counter until it’s soft. This may take a little while, depending on how warm or cold your home is.
2. Unwrap your butter and scoop out a heaping tablespoon.
3. Use the flat, back of the knife to scrape the top level with the sides of the measuring spoon. You can also press down with the flat of the knife to make sure there are no hidden voids/pockets of trapped air where you want butter!
4. Carefully use the blade to scoop the butter out then transfer it to a waiting plate.
5. Wipe the blade off on a paper towel and repeat the process. And repeat, and repeat until you’ve portioned out all the butter! When you’re putting the butter on the plate, make sure none of the mounds are touching another mound.
6. Place the plates with measured tablespoons of butter in the fridge until the butter has fully cooled and hardened. Then you can just pop the mounds of butter off, transfer them to an air tight container, and enjoy using your pre-portioned butter!
Papi Chulo was convinced the butter would somehow remelt and stick together in our container, but that absolutely did not happen. It took us well over a month to use the first pound of butter, and none of the pre-measured tablespoons stuck together. All you need to do is make sure you don’t leave the whole container of butter sitting out on the counter for long periods of time so the butter doesn’t melt and you’re good to go!
It takes a few minutes to measure out all the butter and you’ll probably need to wash your hands a couple times afterwards (maybe think of it as a free bonus moisturizing hand mask?), but for us bulk butter costs about half the normal grocery store price so it’s worth it! Plus it is so super convenient to have pre-measured servings of butter ready to throw in with mashed potatoes or toss in a pan to brown up some broccoli.
Do you have any money saving tips for way to transform bulk quantities of items into something more manageable?