Ask Our Experts: Low-Cal Butter, Corn Earworms and Washing Mountain Parkas

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers receive guidance on creating a low-cal version of butter, eliminating corn earworms from crops and methods to wash a mountain parka.

| May/June 1988

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    Handpick larvae by pulling back the corn tips and removing the worms. Do this only after the silks begin to brown, indicating pollination has occurred.

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MOTHER's column gives MOTHER EARTH NEWs readers a chance to ask our experts about a variety of homesteading problems that are in need of a good answer. 

Ask Our Experts: Low-Cal Butter, Corn Earworms and Washing Mountain Parkas

I suppose I should cut back on my intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, but I love the taste of butter and am simply unwilling to give it up. Do you have any good suggestions for a low-cal butter spread? 

Well, a modest one. Soften a stick of butter to room temperature, and add ¼ cup of an oil that's high in polyunsaturated fats and low in saturated ones—safflower, sunflower, corn, vegetable. Whip the oil and butter together with an electric mixer until you've got a light, fluffy low-cal butter spread, and chill it until it's firm enough to use.

Obviously, this isn't a perfect solution, but it does reduce the saturated fats on your morning muffin. I find the buttery flavor virtually unchanged, except that it's less salty than the "lightly salted" product that dominates the supermarket shelves. This spread is also good for sautéing: The added oil raises the temperature at which butter smokes and burns.

One word of caution: Don't melt the butter over heat and then mix it with the oil for a low-cal butter spread. Neither the texture nor taste of the resultant spread will be right.

—Carol Taylor 

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