Butter bells are lidded crocks used for counter top butter storage. The unique design keeps butter in an airtight water seal, yet it remains soft at room temperature.
Originating in France in the 19th century, butter bells provide a way to keep butter fresh without refrigeration. The user pours a small amount of water into the crock. The crock’s lid has a cup underneath where butter is packed. Most butter bells only hold one stick of butter. ButterBell.com states that butter can be safely stored on the counter for up to 30 days. Because margarine is oily, it won’t stay in the lid and is not recommended.