Jersey Black Butter

(‘Le Niere Buerre’)

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Our Black Butter or Le Nièr Buerre, is a unique autumnal concoction of harvested apples, sugar, spices, liquorice and lemons.

What's black and doesn't taste like butter?

Our Black Butter or Le Nièr Buerre, is a unique autumnal concoction of harvested apples, sugar, spices, liquorice and lemons.

The recipe for the Island’s traditional farmhouse delicacy Le Niere Buerre (black butter) must at first sight be overwhelming for the uninitiated as it certainly isn’t one to try at home. 

To begin with there are the îngrédgiens (ingredients):

• 1,012 lbs of sweet apples (France and Romeril) and 112lbs of Bramleys
• 13.5 gallons of cider or fresh apple juice
• 27 lbs of sugar
• liquorice, cinnamon, and other spices in proportion

Next organise a séthée dé nièr (black butter evening) or two and enlist un tas d’monde (a veritable army of willing volunteers) – locals and visitors very welcome. Keep them warm, undercover, fed and watered for the many hours it takes to peel all the apples.

Light a fire, usually in the old bakehouse of a traditional Jersey farmhouse, place a bachin (copper cauldron) over the glowing embers. Add the apples and other ingredients, keep the fire burning, bring to the boil and leave to simmer, stirring continuously, for 24 to 30 hours, adding the apples until none are left, so a correct ‘jammy’ consistency is achieved.

Remove from the fire and allow to cool before enlisting more volunteers to spoon the mixture into jars. It can be served as a spread on bread or as a preserve; on scones for a cream tea with a local twist, to go with cold meats or cheese and for other uses by adventurous cooks.

The Trust revived this traditional event in the Island’s social calendar as a public event in 2004 at its headquarters, The Elms, an old Jersey farmstead in the rural heartland of St Mary. It usually follows Jersey Heritage’s La Faîs’sie d’Cidre, at another National Trust for Jersey site, Hamptonne Country Life Museum, which also celebrates the Island’s rich heritage of growing apples and making cider.

Come autumn and the cider season, before the advent of television, making black butter was a good way of using up a seasonal glut of apples and any surplus of cider. Moreover, it was the opportunity for hard-working farming families, neighbours and friends to get together, peel apples, gossip, drink cider, dunk chunks of Jersey cabbage loaf into bowls of the traditional bean crock or soup and sing a few songs.

Black butter is a legacy of Jersey’s once thriving cider making industry and Islanders impressive consumption levels when cider was drunk with meals every day, particularly among the farming community.

In the early 1850s Jersey exported on average 150,000 gallons – a tenth of what was drunk in the Island, and about a third of the Island was covered in apple orchards. A great many varieties of cider apple were developed during this period, but few remain today, though there has been a revival in planting heritage apples and cider making in recent years. Jersey Tourism supports the event because it enables visitors to discover the ‘real’ Jersey and what makes the Island unique.

The National Trust for Jersey will once again be making Black Butter at The Elms, La Chève Rue, St. Mary.

Join the National Trust for Jersey in October, with the help of many volunteers, as they make this delicious local delicacy from the Island’s apple harvest at their ever-popular festival. Pitch-in and help to peel the apples, stir the pot and learn about the history and tradition of Black Butter making in Jersey. The Black Butter itself is simmered and stirred throughout Friday night and into Saturday. The whole event has a fantastic community feel as everyone, no matter what their age, gets stuck in. 

 

Black Butter Making

Join the National Trust for Jersey & Jersey Heritage in October, with the help of many volunteers, as they make this delicious local delicacy from the Island’s apple harvest at their ever-popular events. Pitch-in and help to peel the apples, stir the pot and learn about the history and tradition of Black Butter making in Jersey. The Black Butter itself is simmered and stirred throughout Friday night and into Saturday. The whole event has a fantastic community feel as everyone, no matter what their age, gets stuck in. 

The glow of lanterns and carved pumpkins on Friday evening brings the courtyard to life as the Genuine Jersey Market gets going in this lovely setting, with food and music to keep everyone entertained. 

Jersey Black Butter has a strong provenance with the island of Jersey and is made using a traditional Jersey recipe, without any artificial additives. Peeled and cored apples are cooked down with black treacle, liquorice, cider, brown sugar and spices. This is then cooked slowly over an open gas flame, stirring continuously for several hours.

The Black Butter is then blended to a smooth consistency and potted. The jammy conserve is a perfect breakfast/snack accompaniment in its own right, as a condiment and also can be used as an ingredient in a wide range of recipes, for both sweet and savoury dishes

La Mare Jersey Black Butter has been awarded 3 gold stars at the Great Taste Awards 2009.

La Mare also produce a delicious range of related Jersey Black Butter produce. Choose from Jersey Black Butter Chocolates and handmade Jersey Black Butter Fudge both made with local Jersey cream and Jersey Black Butter Biscuits made with pure Jersey Butter.

 

This is a very old and traditional farm-house delicacy of Jersey, and the product is important not only in gastronomic terms, but as a constituent of the now declining, traditional rural culture of the Island.

Between 1600 and 1700, twenty percent of Jersey’s arable land was made up of orchards. Cider was made by farmers to give to their staff, making up part of their wages. A great tradition that exists as a result of Jersey’s proliferation of apples is the production of ‘black butter’ or ‘Le Niere Buerre’. Made from cider apples, the new cider is boiled over a fire for many hours - up to two days! When the cider is ‘reduced’ by half, apples, sugar, lemon, spices and a hint of liquorice added. The mixture is continuously stirred with a wooden ‘rabot’ or paddle. Production of the butter is a very popular community event following each winter crop with traditional singing, dancing, storytelling and chatting going on into the early hours of the morning.

La Mare invested ten years perfecting this century’s old recipe in their kitchens and locals have rated it as one of the best they have ever tasted!

 

October 19, 2:00 pm–5:00 pm

Come along and get involved in the National Trust for Jersey’s annual Black Butter making event.

Embrace the community spirit as you participate in the first stage of the ancient art of Black Butter making by peeling apples. This takes place in the Pressoir at The Elms from 2 to 5 pm and is helped along with refreshments and the sound of Don Dolbel playing his accordian. It is a real community affair with all ages welcome and it is free!

 

October 20, 10:00 am–10:00 pm

Peeling will start again at 10 am until late! Stirring of the apples and all the other lovely ingredients such as liquorice and spices in the large ‘bachin’ over a roaring fire will commence mid-morning on Friday in the Bake-House at The Elms and will continue to be stirred all night until Saturday lunch-time for those hardy volunteers who want to work through the night! Volunteers are invited to come along and peel, stir or contribute to the community supper which will take place on Friday evening with live music.

 

October 21, 10:00 am–4:00 pm

Market Day takes place in the courtyard at The Elms from 10 am until 4 pm. Children can get involved making ‘apple’ and Halloween themed crafts or can carve a pumpkin. There will be stalls selling fresh produce such as apple juice, salted caramel, biscuits and home baked cakes, cider and sausages as well as art and crafts from local artisans. Enjoy this open air event as you listen to live music and enjoy freshly produced hot and cold food. Participate in the jarring up of the freshly made Black Butter which then goes on sale!

 

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