Homemade Margarine: Out of the Lab and Into the Kitchen

We will admit it. There is something so strange about the phrase "homemade margarine." But after reading last week's Washington Post article about making your own margarine, we are intrigued by the possibilities of a from-scratch version of the oft-maligned spread.

As the article points out, margarine has been around since 1869, when the French invented it as a less pricey, less perishable version of butter, made with beef tallow and skim milk. Today Americans use twice as much margarine as butter, yet it still has second-class status in the cooking world.

Despite its reputation as a highly processed food, when made at home margarine is no more high-tech than it was in 1869 — just a mixture of solid and liquid fats, emulsified by hand, but "by no means as nerve-racking as making hollandaise sauce."

The author uses solid coconut fat, sunflower oil and a little coconut milk to make a basic spread to which any number of flavors can be added: fresh herbs, spices, lemon zest and even beet juice. Or try using duck fat and stock to make a margarine "that will make even the palest piece of cardboard chicken taste rich and interesting."

Read the article:
Make Your Own Margarine - Washington Post

Get the recipes:
Homemade Herbed Margarine
Homemade Margarine with Coconut and Ginger

Now that we see it as a kind of solid emulsified sauce, margarine seems less like the property of the processed food industry and more like the next DIY kitchen project we need to try. What do you think? Can you see yourself whipping up a batch of margarine or does your heart belong to butter?

Related: Butter vs. Margarine: Is Either One Healthier?

(Image: Flickr member afiler licensed under Creative Commons)