Black Butter Festival

La Faîs’sie d’Nièr Beurre

La Faîs'sie d’Nièr Beurre or Black Butter making is an annual festival that is run by the National Trust for Jersey at their headquarters, The Elms in St Mary. It celebrates an old Jersey tradition that used to happen on many farms throughout the island at the end of the apple harvest.

The exact date that this tradition started is not known, although during the 17th and 18th century about 20 per cent of Jersey's arable land was given over to orchards, mainly to make cider to give to the farm workers as part of their wages.

The left-over apples were then used to make black butter. Traditionally, families would join together at the local farm to peel the apples. Meanwhile, a gallon of cider would be put over a fire in a large brass preserving pan and left to simmer all day. The peeled apples would then be added along with sugar, lemon, liquorice and spices. Volunteers would take turns stirring the mixture with a large wooden paddle throughout the night and into the next day until the mixture was ready. It was an important social event where people were able to sing, dance and play music whilst the black butter was slowly cooking.

Despite its name, the final product that has a distinctive flavour, is more like a jam and is often enjoyed spread on bread or toast.


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