Collin W. Cross; Ph.D.
Figure 1 – 2014 Homeade summer grass-fed butter compared to store bought grass-fed butter
Back to traditional cooking
Before the advent of modern industrial food production, butter was one of natures most potent sources of vitamin K2-MK4. Because the vitamin K family are all fat soluble vitamins, they concentrate in the fat and the organs of animals (hopefully including humans!). For MK4, this means Butter Fat! In fact, the yellow color in butter comes from beta carotene, K2-MK4, and other fat soluble activators. When a cow eats green grass, she takes in a lot of beta carotene along with vitamin K1, which is present in all green chlorophyll containing plants. Inside the cow, fermentation and cellular metabolism convert the vitamin K1 into vitamin K2-MK4. The vitamin is then used, and the remainder is stored inside the fat and organs of the cow and used at a later time to maintain it in good health. Both K1 and K2-MK4 perform vital and life-critical repair, maintenance, and communication functions in the human body.
In order to get K2-MK4 from a cow, it is important that the cow is truly raised in a pasture, eating green grass in the presence of lots of sunshine. The vitamin D hormonal cascade is needed for the chemical conversion of K1 to K2-MK4. This is why the animal needs to truly live in the “pasture” eating green grass, up until the time it is harvested or milked. In such cows, MK4 concentrates in the butter fat. This is especially true in the spring and summer when the pasture grass grows the fastest and is the greenest. During these times, natural butter will change to a much deeper and brighter yellow and become healthy and rich with MK4. Figure 1 shows the bright yellow color of “July” butter from 2014. It is compared to store bought “grass-fed” butter as a reference.
Real butter changes colors!
The depth of the yellow color is an easy way to gauge the MK4 content of the butter. The same is also true for the fat found on cuts of animal meat. Grass fed meat is lean, lightly marbled, and the fat will turn a deep yellow in the spring and summer, especially when cooked. This pattern demonstrates the harmony with nature and its cycles that have led to our need for the butter, meat. and fat of herd-stock, as well as that of wild caught fish and game. While fruits and vegetables are vitally important for health also, animals are the only natural supplemental source of K2-MK4. While the human body can also generate K2-MK4 from K1, just like a cow, we also need large amounts of sunshine and other nutrients to do so effectively. Because vitamin D is also harder to get in the modern days of office work and computer usage, K2-MK4 has become an even more precious biochemical resource. The lack of MK4 in the modern food supply, and the lack of sunshine to make hormone family D, are working today to ensure most of our population is now deficient of this vital nutrient. As a direct consequence, our society is experiencing record levels of age related health decline, medical costs, and quality of life impacts.
K2-MK4 is more important as we age
As we age our requirements for MK4 go up, while our ability to naturally produce MK4 goes down. This is why grass-fed animal sources and the nutritious eating of real, un-adulterated foods are so important as we age. It is critical to eat food that has not broken from the food chain. When an animal is not raised in its natural environment, its biochemistry cannot work properly. This effectively breaks the food chain and disrupts the upwards flow of vital micronutrients our body requires. Figure 2 shows the nearly eaten flat of the same tasty homemade butter from Figure 1, and then compares it to the next batch, from August-September 2014. These pictures clearly show how the cows biochemistry which is used to produce K2-MK4 is dramatically reduced by grain finishing the animal.
Figure 2 – Summer, Fall and Store butter for 2014
The journey towards real health!
Over the last year, we have been making our own cream and butter from natural and unprocessed cows milk from cows raised 100% in their own pasture. While processing does not destroy MK4, feeding cows foods other than green grass causes them to consume their own stores of MK4 to survive the famine. There will be little MK4 left in the meat or milk if a cow is forced to survive for long with no green grass to chew on. This is why even the best of store bought butter is so pale. My wife and I and ate butter for more than 50 years before experiencing, or even knowing, what real butter actually looks like. It tastes practically the same, but better. Like really good butter that can practically glow-in-the-dark at the right time of year! Weston A. Price recorded observations of butter so rich with nutrients that it was orange like a carrot. We continue to wait, but would like to see and taste such butter?
We so love the new lifestyle we have adopted. Five years ago I would never have dreamed that we would take the time to make our own butter and cream from real milk. Making this nutritious and vital food only takes about 1 hour / month, and along with our entire protocol, has really improved our health and happiness! Also, the butter tastes great! While at first I only experienced horror at the thought of taking time to prepare such simple and taken for granted foods. Now I realize how our family time has been increased, and our quality of life has also improved. Cooking real food and eating it as a family, along with de-calcifying our bodies organs, arteries and nerves via proper supplementation and diet, has so improved the quality of our lives in every way imaginable. We hope we can help others to realize this miracle.
Figure 3 – Fall Butter 2015 and reference store butter
Our latest butter
Here are pictures of the butter we just made last week. This is the least colorful batch from 2015, but still tastes great. While pale compared to the spring and summer butter, even the palest of winter butter still beats the best available “grass-fed” butter from the local grocery stores, shown for comparison. We also take this butter and make ghee, or clarified butter, for cooking on our cast iron. It tastes great and has a higher smoke point than normal butter.
Now the cows yearly cycle is ending. The cream is turning pale and drying up for 2015. This cream was so light, it took nearly 40 minutes to throw the whey and turn to butter. Rich spring and summer butter will change in only 10 minutes or so. Many recipes can be found online for making butter. For our family, 3 gallons of milk makes about a month supply of butter. To make the butter we simply:
- Take the natural milk
- Settle the cream over about 48 hours
- Let the cream down and collect it in a bowl
- Drink the skim
- Put in the kitchen aid mixer
- Whip to butter
- Pour in colander
- Wash thoroughly with spoon and cold water to get all the whey out (it will go rancid if you don’t)
- Pack by hand into easily usable forms
- Wrap in wax paper
- Eat lavishly