Make butter healthier and more eco-friendly with this simple trick

Butter and bread
© Angela Kotsell

This two-minute hack may not save the world, but it's an easy step with great results.

For any butter-loving omnivores out there looking for a quick way to reduce some dairy in their diet – let me introduce you to an effective butter trick. It has four advantages:

1. It's healthier for you
2. It's better for the planet
3. It removes a bit of burden from dairy cows
3. It makes your butter more versatile

Here goes:

Put two sticks of room temperature butter in whatever kind of whipping/blending apparatus you have, add 1/2 cup olive oil, process until smooth. It will be very soft, but once cooled in the refrigerator will have the texture of spreadable butter.

(Notes: If you don't generally use much butter, you can reduce the quantities – just use two parts butter to one part oil. I use a stand mixer; you could also try a hand mixer, immersion blender, regular blender, food processor, Nutri-Bullet, or whisking by hand. Lastly, olive oil makes it wonderfully bitter and fruity, you could also try another healthy plant oil if you want a more neutral flavor.)

That's it. Now you have butter that has:

1. Thirty-three percent health-boosting olive oil, a wonderfully beneficial monounsaturated fat that helps lower your risk of heart disease, along with other perks.

2. One-third less eco impact of dairy. Meat and dairy account for 18 percent of the calories that humans eat; but their production takes up 83 percent of agricultural farmland while generating 60 percent of the industry's greenhouse gas emissions.

3. One-third less input from a dairy cow somewhere. The ladies could use a bit of a break.

4. Improved versatility, in that you now have spreadable butter that won't do things like rip up your toast. A butter/oil mix also improves sautéing – butter adds flavor to the oil; the oil helps prevent the butter from burning.

Now of course, the healthiest and most eco-friendly approach to butter, and the one that has even less of an impact on animals, would be to not eat butter at all. But in support of the reducetarians who are taking things little by little, this trick is for you.

You can also use this concept as a guide for thinking about blending plant products into other meat and dairy items in your life ... like, a beefshroom burger! (Yes, terrible name, somebody please invent a better portmanteau for me.) See more here: The half-beef/half-mushroom burger: Notes from the field

Make butter healthier and more eco-friendly with this simple trick
This two-minute hack may not save the world, but it's an easy step with great results.

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