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Red Feather Butter?

7864 Views 55 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  NY Min
What is so special about Red Feather butter that can't be done in a home pressure canner?

Why couldn't one just buy regular butter, melt it into jars, and pressure can it?
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Is there any food or combination thereof that requires a longer canning time/pressure than beef?

From what I can tell, 15 psi for 90 minutes is sufficient to kill botulism in any food.
And there you have revealed your ignorance. Beef is not the food that requires the longest processing time. The longest tested, proven processing time I have seen in standard canning references is 160 minutes for a quart jar. I will leave it to you to research what food that is the processing time for. You might learn something along the way. (No, it's not butter. There is no proven safe processing time for home canning butter.)

As for Red Feather. Yes, it has been tested safe. Yes, it is FDA approved for import and sale. Yes, it has been proven good in storage for over 5 years by laboratory testing, which is why it is not required to have a best-by date. Anything that has been proven safe after 5 years by laboratory testing is allowed to state that shelf life is indefinite.

It is also canned by a commercial process that does not involve just heat to make it safe. No, you can't duplicate that process in a home kitchen with a home canner. You cannot safely pressure can any fat because fat protects botulism spores from heat, and a home pressure canner only goes to 250ºF maximum. There is a way to home can fats with no water content and with a high smoke point. Butter, however, is 20% water and has a low smoke point. Ghee you can safely can in jars at home (although not by using a pressure canner). Butter you can't.

There are previous threads here where all this was discussed in detail. I suggest doing a search for them unless you are aiming to win a Darwin award. Botulism being as rare as it is, it may take you years to get one, but stick with it. Eventually you should succeed.
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I figure that the time and temperature it will take may solidify the milk solids and it will separate and never be "butter" again anyway. I'm sure Red Feather does it using a shorter can so there is less distance for heat to travel, and higher temperatures for shorter times than we can achieve.
I did look up some of the research on canning butter a long time ago. As I recall, the safety of the process involved being able to precisely control the size of the fat particles relative to the water or vice versa. Red Feather, Anchor, etc. are using a whole different canning process than what we have available to us at home.
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Since the public health is involved, I would think it would need to be disclosed and also statistical culture testing done to verify the safety of the canned product.
This is done routinely for every commercially canned product on the market. You have to validate your process before you can sell anything in a can, and you have to continually monitor and test thereafter. Commercial processors actually have to continuously record the heat load being applied to demonstrate that the required total thermal load was reached for each and every batch. All we home canners have to go on is using a canner of minimum approved size to approximate the tested thermal load of heat-up and cool-down plus time at pressure.

If you are interested in microbial test ampules for demonstrating successful sterilization, I believe I posted some info on that to a thread about canning in retort pouches that bunkerbuster started. The USDA canning rules are based on testing for safety in food processed in a home kitchen with a home pressure canner and include a margin of safety to cover reasonable variations in equipment and processing. Certainly anyone with the necessary equipment and background could duplicate what is done by agricultural extension testing services to validate safety. If you think you are so qualified and want to invest in the necessary materials and spend the time, have at it. I can assure you that none of the boobtube you-can-so-can-butter "experts" have done so, though. (And the patents I turned up on canning butter involved more than just heat it up under steam pressure for some amount of time and call it good, in part because, as MikeK suggested, liquefying butter under high heat results in a product that no longer tastes like fresh butter or behaves like fresh butter if baking with it.)
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Maybe it would be easier to just buy a cow and make it as needed?
Always an option, although I'm thinking you may not have fed and housed and milked many cows if you think it's the easy option. :)

The easy thing is to buy a case or two of canned butter. It tastes and cooks like the real butter it is. It stores for 10 years. And when you compare its price to the price of fresh grass-fed, pastured butters at the supermarket (because that's what New Zealand butter is), it's even reasonably priced.

I can rendered lard and tallow and poultry fat. I buy my butter commercially canned because I can't duplicate the quality and safety of the commercial product. I have canned ghee myself, but since I found an excellent grass-fed ghee made from NZ butter in a can, I usually buy that as well because the cost is about the same as home-made from grassfed butter, it has a better shelf life, and it saves me a lot of work.
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FWIW, I turned up an interesting factoid on the commercial production of canned butter on another little google. Supposedly, it's the cream that is sterilized, by a combination of filtration and heat, and then that cream in cooled to a very low temperature to prevent acidification (which would cause curdling), churned into butter, and the butter canned, all under continuous sterile conditions from cream sterilization to canning--which would explain why commercial canned butter shows no evidence of the kind of changes that occur when you subject butter itself to high heat for a considerable time, not to mention getting around the problem of the high thermal load needed to successfully sterilize pure fats.

Definitely not something you can produce for yourself at home, though. At least I've never met a kitchen that included an enclosed sterile cream-to-butter-to-can manufacturing line. :)

ETA: The temp required to kill spores in milk/milk products is 275ºF or above--290ºF to 300ºF is commonly used to shorten the time and produce less alteration in milk flavor and quality. You cannot generate these temps inside a home pressure canner.
Patent on process for sterilizing cream (this is still the basic process with some variations in homogenizing PSI and temps and times):
Some of the variations detailed here:
and here:
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Of course this assumes that no convective flow is occurring, which is wrong. But if it took 60 minutes to heat water to a set temp, purely by conduction, is would take a bit more than twice as long to heat butter. Convective currents however can greatly lessen the time impact, but you would need some fancy fluid dynamics program to calculate that.
You're overlooking the fact that it reportedly takes a temp of 275F, not just 240F, to kill all spores in milk without destroying the milk (preferably 290 to 300 for a shorter time)*, and that it has been proven oil/fat protects botulism spores from heat, requiring a higher thermal load to kill them in oil/fat.

There are far more variables than just thermal conductivity, which is why the government insists on spore destruction test results, not just calculations. There are some industry formulas to calculate approximate time and temp for a starting point, but then you have to process and test, process and test until you have a proven protocol.

Now, it's true more time at lower heats can sometimes achieve the same results. I believe testing showed that if you were willing to boiling-water-bath your veggies for 11 to 12 hours, you'd likely get a safe canned product with most of them. Of course it would be canned mush with a high level of nutrient destruction, but it would be safe nutrient-depleted gray mush. :)

There's a reason the canned butter companies flash-sterilize the cream at 290 to 300 F and then make the butter. Shelf-stable dairy has always been highly desirable, but it took a couple of centuries of experimentation to find ways to do it, starting from turning milk into a preserve by adding a ton of sugar in the mid 1800s (condensed milk). The challenge has always been attaining sterility or something close enough to it for an acceptable shelf life while maintaining an appealing edible product. The methods for home-canning butter out there are either totally unsafe (oven or water-bath canning it), or in the case of the pressure-canned stuff that may or may not be safe, produce a grainy yellow glop somewhere between fresh butter and ghee. You'd do better to can safe ghee and then add back some water and a bit of milk solids to turn it back into a butter approximation with no processing risk.

There is a protocol for pressure canning milk at 240ºF, although the USDA no longer endorses it. However, the result is caramelized milk at best (and scorched milk at worst because you can't agitate it during home processing) and you also really need to both preheat it and homogenize it before processing to avoid a lumpy mess. Most farm wife recipes aimed at something more like a UHT that would last just a couple of months until the cow freshened again, and even then, butterscotch pudding was a preferred recipe for using it.

To model this problem, you would just need to nest in 1 more iterative loop to calculate density changes with temperature, and then to calculate resulting convection flowrate around an assumed path. the flow would then be used to move the array of butter elements (with their calculated temperatures), during each iteration.
You would also have to build in some slop to account for the fact the "butter" isn't a totally uniform product. Even commercially produced, standardized butters range between 80% and 85% fat. And then there's the far higher variability in what someone might make from their own cow's milk. :)
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It would be interesting to explore your assertion that fat protects spores from the effects of high temps. Does it simply insulate them in which case the thermal conductivity and convection calcs would already take that into account, or is there some other mechanism at play that I don't understand.

Some people are happy to simply accept everything they are told and do nothing to further mankind's understanding. And there is nothing wrong with that. I'm just not one of them.
I'm not sure of the mechanism, I just know it has been proven that fats/oils change the equation for safety for botulinus spores (and others, but botulinus are usually the spores of major concern).

I don't blindly accept everything I'm told, which should have become evident in my time here, but if I encounter multiple references in scientific literature to issues with processing a certain food, I do accept that there are issues. I also accept that all commercial canning processes can't be duplicated at home, for various reasons for different products.

But if you think you can come up with a proven-safe process that covers all commercial/home-produced butter for home canning butter of acceptable sensory and cooking qualities, have at it. I've given you the basics I know about trying to do that, and I'll be interested to hear your results. :)

BTW, it's not one company that cans butter. There are a number, mostly in New Zealand/Australia, Holland, Belgium, and Denmark, with a number of branch factories in the Middle East where shelf-stable dairy is big. I've also run across French, Brazilian, and Filipino brands. The problem is that they all use an industrial process that simply can't be duplicated in a home kitchen. The reason you generally only see Red Feather here is that getting a permit to import any quantity of dairy product into this country is a giant headache. The guy who runs MREdepot got the approvals on Red Feather and Bega cheese, and everybody in the food storage industry has followed suit. I buy Anchor butter and Cow brand ghee from an ethnic outfit, and I have seen other butters off and on from ethnic sources off the food storage beaten path. As for price, the commonest fresh grassfed butter brand found in American stores (which is actually only about 85% grassfed) generally sells for little less per pound than Red Feather in cans. For the quality of the butter you are buying in those cans, you aren't being stiffed.
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Okay, when I bought some Red Feather last year, I paid $7.50/pound.

Here are the completely or mostly grassfed/pastured fresh butter brands I am aware of that you can find here with some ballpark prices:

Anchor (New Zealand) $7.00 to $9.30/lb (and $8.00 to $9.00/lb in cans)
Mountain View (New Zealand) $7.50/lb
Kerrygold (Irish, only ~85% grassfed) $6.50/lb
Allgau (German)
Smjor (Icelandic)
Organic Valley Pasture Butter (US) $7.25 to $9.00/lb (only available May to September, the rest of the year these cows are eating grain)
Humboldt Creamery (US, only ~80% grassfed)
Graziers (US) $7.12 to $8.80/lb

I find it interesting that the domestic grassfed butters cost as much or more than the imported grassfed butters--I think those are the brands that are playing massive markup on prices as well as playing a bit fast and loose with the grassfed designation. :) (NB:*Organic does not equal grassfed, and grassfed may be essentially organic, but not labeled so. That's true of New Zealand butter, and NZ dairy cows are 100% grass/hay fed. Australian butter is also grassfed or at least better than 90% grassfed.)
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I canned my own lard by rendering it than heating it and holding it at 300 degrees for an hour then ladled it hot into jars and once the jars cooled down to around 212 I pressured canned them for 90 minutes.
If you had sterilized the jars and equipment used for transfer, you could have skipped the pressure canning, since you exceeded the requirements for dry-heat sterilization. (Discussed in links I posted above.)

Lard has no water in it, so botulism can't grow in it. Butter does. Now if you clarify it into ghee, that's a different story.
This is the essence of the problem. Botulism needs free water to reproduce. Pure oils/fats have none. Butter, though, has around 17% water. So you can safely can lard, tallow, or ghee using the time and temp data for dry sterilization (without water content, the home pressure canning guidelines no longer have anything to do with the matter), but butter is a whole other consideration. (And the residual milk solids in butter would brown/burn in much less than an hour at 300ºF.)

Could it be that they adjust the ph to above the 4.6 that kill the spores and it really has nothing to do with the processing at all.
They quite obviously don't. There is no acidification ingredient on the labels, not to mention that if you try acidifying butter, which has a pH of 6.1 to 6.4, to a pH under 4.6 and tasting it, you'll notice the considerable taste difference.

It's done by flash-sterilizing the milk/cream at high temp (because a couple of seconds at 300ºF doesn't change taste/color/texture much versus half an hour or so at 240ºF) and running a sterile processing line to separate, churn, and can.

Now logic dictates there is some safe time for sterilizing butter at the 240ºF used for pressure canning. The problem is that is it most likely a very long time, and the product you will have at the end will be rather different from fresh butter in terms of sensory and baking quality, although safe to eat. The problem is doing all the testing to establish container and processing time for safety and whether it's really worth all the time and labor to do that when there is an industrial process that produces canned butter that tastes and cooks exactly like fresh butter. By the time I would need to can any quantity of butter, I would be dealing with milk straight out of the cow, being able to churn butter from it, and having no need for more than the few months of storage I could get from salted butter in a crock in a cool cellar or springhouse.

Plus, butter is one of my cornerstone storage fats for EFAs, and I therefore want grass-fed butter with 1.7:1 omega 6 to 3, not grain-fed butter's 8:1, plus a high CLA content and lots of vitamin E, vitamin K, and the other good things you get much more of in grass-fed butter than you do in grain fed, and the cost to buy NZ grassfed butter in a can is competitive with just buying grassfed butter at the store without getting into all the work of canning.

If you are running your own pastured cows, I can understand why you might want to churn and process some of your own butter for long-term storage, and it would be nice if there were a USDA-tested home process for that. There isn't, though, and any really safe home process is going to produce a product inferior to the commercially canned butter. Realistically speaking, if you've got the cows, you will always have an ongoing source of butter, so it's not a huge issue--that crock in the basement should meet your needs for the months when the milk supply drops.

You simply cannot duplicate Red Feather, Anchor, Golden Churn, Saudia, Bretel, Brun, Queensland, Aviação, and the other canned butters at home. The do-it-yourself butter canning directions I have encountered are all untested and vary from provably unsafe by basic sterilization rules to might be safe, but ain't really butter any longer. You can, however, easily produce ghee/clarified butter at home and safely can that. Then you can add 1-2% powdered milk/buttermilk, 1% salt, and 17% water by weight to ghee, or just 2% powdered milk/buttermilk and 18% water, pressure homogenize it, and subsitute that for butter. Or just use the ghee as is. :)
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No he can't. The jar filling operation was done in the room, not the oven. I hope, otherwise he would be dead.
And the residual heat from the 300ºF butter put in hot jars would have assured sterility was maintained by the time it cooled. Refer to the time at temp required for dry sterilization cited in my links above.

So what about canning chunks of beef or chicken in water? Fat and water together, yet it gets home pressure canned and is safe.
Yep, a small amount of fat in meat, canned in water/broth. The fat content is why meat takes longer to render safe when pressure canning than low-acid vegetables do, even when both are canned as chunks surrounded by water. (And is also the reason you are told to only can meat as chunks in liquid and to trim exterior fat when doing so. Sterilizing a few percent of fat in water is going to require less thermal load than sterilizing a few percent of water in fat.)

The pH of butter is 4.5 according to the scientific paper I linked above.
That's the pH of buttermilk, but not of washed butter.

Sweet butter is definitely a low-acid food. Always. All I can think is that your authors were running a sample of unwashed cultured butter or of sour butter with a pH lower than even the standard for sour butter. Cultured butter runs more like an average of 5 for a pH.
(Note, like ours, Australian and New Zealand butter is made as sweet butter.)
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Regarding the oven sterilization method, I thought he said he let the butter cool to 212 before ladelling into the jars. Since I assume this was done in a kitchen, it could have gotten contaminated.
That would, indeed, have been a problem. But what he said was he ladled it into hot jars and then let the jars cool to 212 before processing in a pressure canner. That was the part of the procedure that wasn't making sense to me from the point of view of what was actually required for sterility.

BTW, there is one additive used in all canned butter--salt. That is because the resulting salt percentage in the water content of the butter contributes greatly to the safety. Canned sweet butter is always salted sweet butter.

Now, you probably could drive the pH of unwashed cultured butter down to a low enough number to make it safe from botulism, but you would have to like the taste of quite sour cultured butter. :) If you got a pH below 4.5 that you could verify absolutely, then botulism, at least, would no longer be of concern. (You would definitely need testing, however, because most cultured butter still has a pH above 4.5.) You might not care for the taste of your high-acid butter on your breakfast toast, though. In any case, that doesn't figure in to the commercial butter canning process because Red Feather, Anchor, and the others are canning sweet butter.
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BTW, one of the other factors in the long safe shelf life of churned butter even left out at room temperature is how finely the water is dispersed in the water-in-oil emulsion. If your water droplet is small enough and completely surrounded by fat, it's apparently not sufficient available water to support growth of most micro-organisms. Of course, when you melt your butter and then try to mix the water back in by just shaking the jar as it cools, that safety factor goes out the window.

(This is what I was trying to remember yesterday about the commercial process--as well as sterilizing the cream and processing it further under sterile conditions, they control the crystalization of the fats and dispersion of the water plus, of course, adding enough salt to make the only 17% water, into which all that salt goes, inhospitable to micro-organisms.* Dissolving 2% salt by weight of the whole butter mass produces 12% salt content in the 16% to 17% of that mass that is water.The safety of Red Feather and other canned butters involves a balancing act among all those factors with very careful control of the manufacturing process.)

When all the whipped spreads, and especially lower-fat spreads with higher water content, got popular, that became a food safety issue because many people left them out on the counter like regular butter. I believe all those are now required to have added acidulants because of that.

ETA:*It's preservatives they've required be added to those modified butters/margarines. See page 37 for the issues when you replace good old-fashioned butter with synthetic/modified replacements and a nice summary of some of the methods of controlling bacterial growth in butter:
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Here's another approach to preserving butter by using salt to reduce its active water content to safe levels.

Active water and food safety:
Note, a saturated solution of NaCl has active water of 0.75, below what almost all microorganisms need to grow, and would equal a water solution of about 36% to 37% NaCl by weight, depending on temperature. You would have to add something like 6% salt to your typical butter with 17% water content to get the active water low enough to prevent growth of most micro-organisms with salt alone, which would come to about 5 teaspoons or 1 ounce of salt in a pound of butter. You need 30% salt to prevent growth of highly salt-tolerant Listeria, which would be about 5% salt in butter (4 teaspoons or 0.8 oz/pound).
Water activity of some salt and sugar solutions:
The FDA does not regulate processing of low-acid foods with an active water content under 0.85 (equal to about a 24% NaCl solution or 3-1/4 t or 2/3 oz salt per pound of butter):

Ordinary salted butter has about 1 teaspoon of salt per pound, perhaps 1-1/2 teaspoons for more heavily salted brands. So salt-preserved butter would be comparatively very salty indeed. However, one way to safely can butter would be to melt it and mix in a lot of salt. You could then rinse almost all the salt out by melting it in 4 times its volume of hot water and cooling it to resolidify the butterfat on top of the water before using it. (That would also remove most of the milk solids and most of the water, though, leaving you with something much closer to clarified butter than ordinary butter, so again, you might as well just can clarified butter/ghee and avoid all the fuss.) Or you could work most of the salt out by kneading it around in a number of changes of cool water before use. (Salt doesn't dissolve in fat, so all your salt will always be in the liquid trapped in the butterfat.) That would get you an only slightly salty butter that was at least safe to eat. If you are dealing with home-churned butter, you would need to increase the salt to allow for the higher residual water content in manually made butter. You should figure at least 20% to 25% water in that even if you do a very good job of squeezing out as much buttermilk as you can.
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I let it cool down because I was afraid if I put the hot jars into the relatively cool boiling water they could crack then the hot lard would cause any water it touched to flash into steam throwing hot grease everywhere. I figured letting them cool was much safer.
The thing is, if you had truly sterilized the jars with dry heat (which would take you an hour in a 340F oven), and also sterilized your funnel and ladle, you could have transferred the 300ºF fat into the jars sterilely, put the lids on, and left them to cool without water-bath/pressure canning further at all. You didn't need all that time keeping the lard at 300ºF, either. It takes only a few minutes at that temp to sterilize as long as the fat is being stirred so it is all uniformly at 300ºF.

Of course, if you aren't sure what's needed, more heat and more time and a belt and suspenders is more likely to be enough to cover you. But it's better to know what's needed and just give yourself a little extra cushion over that. Heat does cause deterioration in quality, so although you certainly need enough to be safe, you don't want to go for a whole lot of excess. :)

Given you intended to put those jars in cool water, though, you were absolutely right that they needed to cool down some first.
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I'm surprised someone hasn't developed a preservative that goes after botulism spores.
Ain't as easy as it sounds. Spores are very, very tough. Any synthetic preservative that would be enough to kill them would likely kill you, too, or at least greatly disagree with you.

The 2 safe preservatives that, although they don't kill them, keep them from growing for lack of water are salt and sugar, either used in high enough concentration to lock up most of the available water.

Often, safe canning involves a combination of heat, lowering active water, and lowering pH. That way you can often get a safe process that doesn't leave the food too sour, too sweet and/or salty, or too overcooked to be appetizing. Food preservation is a rather complex science, and most recipes for safe canned food are a balancing act combining several different ways to control bacterial growth, which is why they tell home canners to always follow a tested-safe recipe and not alter it.
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Note: Red Feather butter, according to its label, has 100 mg of sodium per 14 g of butter, which would be 0.25 g NaCl/14 g, a 10.5% salt solution by weight in a butter with 80% fat and 17% water (1.4 t salt/lb of butter, 1.76% salt by total weight of butter). That gives an active water of a shade under the 0.94 of a 10% salt solution (approximately 0.9366), and 0.94 is the minimum amount of active water needed for the least sensitive strains of botulism to grow. The high-heat processing of the cream is sufficient to take care of the other potential food poisoning organisms that can grow at lower active water contents, but are more heat sensitive (listeria, staph, molds, etc.). However, the guaranteed safety from botulism is apparently based on having a precisely formulated butter with an absolutely known and uniform water and salt content in every can.

This is why everyone who sells canned butter offers only salted butter in those cans--combining salt to reduce the active water with UHT processing of the cream and a sterile manufacturing line takes care of all potential food poisoning organisms. Without the salt, it isn't possible to assure safety from botulism and some other less heat-sensitive organisms, and they would have to apply too much heat over too much time (too high a total thermal load) to be able to can good-quality butter. A small error in the total water content of your butter/weight of salt per pound or failure to obtain uniform mixing of your salt, though, and botulism can grow. Failure to obtain a sufficient total thermal load with complete and uniform heat penetration of the fat mass, and other organisms can grow. This is why the USDA is never going to issue tested home-canning instructions for butter. If you want to get yourself some basic lab test equipment, a precision scale, a reference manual on both max temp and minimum active water that various spoilage organisms can survive, and work out how to apply a uniform thermal load of the requisite amount to your butter and maintain sterility in those jars, I'm sure you can devise a safe canning procedure for your butter for yourself that will at least give you something in the ballpark of commercial results, but I'm going to let the commercial canneries do it for this one because there's not enough savings to be had home-canning grassfed butter to justify all the work, at least not for me.

If you want to live dangerously and thumb your nose at both the USDA and the commerciall canners, then at least do not home can butter with a salt content of less than 2 teaspoons (11.4 g) per pound, 2.5% by weight (which will still give a 12.5% salt content in your water content/active water of around 0.925 even if the fat content of the unsalted supermarket butter you start with is below the minimum standard by a couple of percentage points at 78%, giving you a 1.5% margin of safety against botulism in your active water), and mix the salt thoroughly into melted butter. Canning unsalted butter is an invitation to disaster. There is not a single commercial brand of canned butter that is unsalted, and there never will be one. (I know; I scoured the world for one before I finally worked out the sciene of the thing. ;)) Canning commercial salted butter may or may not be safe since the added salt varies from 1% to 2% and the water content from 15% to 18% with no way for you to know exactly what either is, so that's basically just a different invitation to disaster. Canning homemade salted butter that hasn't had all the trapped buttermilk thoroughly worked out of it with Scotch hands/butter paddles and the salt thoroughly blended into it while melted to assure even distribution is also an invitation to disaster. Homemade butter can easily still have a 25% or higher water content. I would only try to can that if it was both made as a cultured butter and I added another teaspoon of salt per pound or I had enough of a basic lab to test the water content of the batch before canning. Yeah, your butter would be very salty, and you'd want to knead it around in cold water to reduce the salt before using it, but it would at least not have a risk of botulism. Commercial canneries have the technology and the testing to be able to add the absolute minimum necessary salt to their canned butter and still produce a guaranteed safe product; you don't (or at least the vast majority of people don't, and any who do wouldn't be here trying to find out how to do this).

(BTW, any of you ever run into a youboob butter-canning "expert" who actually knows/mentions that you can only safely can well-salted butter or clarified butter/ghee following their directions? I haven't, which is one of many reasons I don't go to youtube for canning information. There is nothing more dangerous than just a little knowledge, the kind of half-information that causes people to assume that anything processed as long as canned beef is sure to be safe, or to fail to see any reason why just baking jars of butter in a 300ºF oven for half an hour wouldn't sterilize the butter when, after all, a pressure canner only goes to 250.)
"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again."
If you want to go beyond the canning recipes/rules on the USDA site and in the Ball Blue Book, then you need to learn a lot more than just what is in those. You need to understand the basic principles and science behind their directions and recipes. You need to do a lot of learning and do thorough research in the scientific literature/food industry journals on whatever else it is you want to try canning. If you want to go really far beyond them, you will need an accurate pH meter and an active water meter, both designed for use with food, as well as microbiologic controls and the means to get culture results with them.
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