We just Finished the third book in the Little House series. I absolutely love these stories and what’s crazy is that I never read them before. I grew up watching the show with my mom on tv but I never actually read the books. Homeschooling has given me a second chance at reading these beloved children books that I missed out on. Not that I couldn’t have read them on my own. Odds are however, I wouldn’t have even thought about these books if it wasn’t for homeschooling.
As with every book or series we read, we also try to do something fun that we read about. In Little House in the Big Woods Laura Ingles describes the process of making butter. When we read this I new this was something we had to try.
“Ma used to say: Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean and Friday, Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday. Laura liked the churning and the baking days best of all the week.”
– Little House in the Big Woods
So yesterday while my oldest was at her horsemanship class, the little ones and I took a trip to our local dairy farm. Here we bought a jar of raw milk and said hello to the cows. You absoluetly do not have to have raw milk for this activity. I personally just like buying it for us every now and then because it is delicious and I try to support our local farms. The cream on top is especially delicious in my coffee. This time it’s reserved for butter though. You can buy a carton of cream from your grocery store of course. I just thought if we were going to put in the work, lets make a great batch of butter!
We will be making a small amount of butter this time to see how we like it but mostly because we arent going to be using a butter churn like Laura did. We will be just using a Mason jar and a lot of muscle. I figured we can share the work load between the girls and I and see what happens.
Here is what you will need:
- Cold heavy cream
- Mason jar and lid
- Tea towel or flour sack towel
- Bowl and spoon
- Any added seasonings for flavored butter
First chose a clean jar and lid. I like using my silicone protective sleeves when I have my little ones handling them. Mainly because I serve their smoothies in jars with a silicone straw. You can find the sleeves here.
We will now pour the cold cream into the jar. We spooned it in and used a funnel just in case. But using store bought cream in a carton will be much easier to pour.
Seal it up with the lid and ring or use a plastic reusable lid like we did. I personally reserve my rings and lids for canning. These are perfect for storing food, extracts, tinctures, and for activities like this. You can find them here.
Now we Shake it!
And Shake it!
And shake it some more… Let’s see what we got!
Not yet! This is the part where you will add your salt and sasonings to the butter though so we got a little break from the shaking thank goodness because we are kind of exhausted. But we keep going! We got a sudden burst of energy when we saw something actually happening. Here we go…
Finally! We have butter!
It is not quite solid yet but we shake for another minute and Voila!
I am honestly a little shocked that it worked. I mean I knew it would but it is pretty weird to see the process happening in front of you. After all that my oldest says “Pour Mary and Laura.” She is so right! I know they had a butter churn but we were sure to shake the jar in the same direction they would have to churn the butter. It is hard work! We aren’t even done.
Next you have to drain out the butter milk from the butter. We pour it all into a bowl and cheesecloth. I do not recommend using a cheese cloth so I did not add that to list. It started going through the cloth and we had to scrap it out. With your butter in your towel you will squeeze out all the liquid into the bowl. Congratulations! you made buttermilk! You can save it and use it for another recipe or toss it. It’s up to you. I opted for saving it. I mean after all that work, I’ll find a way to use it!
You are almost done. We just have to rinse the butter now. I just left it in the bowl after saving the buttermilk in the jar. I rinsed the butter and squeezed. Toss the water and rinse until the water in the bowl is clear. It didn’t take very long and I didn’t get a picture of it. Next we scooped it into a silicone mold that I use for elderberry gummies. We had enough for 3 and a half heart shaped butter molds. I guess mine is the half…
We placed them in the freezer to harden up quickly because we had a couple loaves of French bread in the oven that we started making earlier that day. It smelled Amazing in the house! Now all that is left to do is eat it!
The butter will hold up for 3-5 days at room temperature and 7-10 days in the refrigerator. Alternately, you can freeze it for longer storage. Adding salt will help preservation as well.
Thank you Laura!