Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Holy cow! I made my own butter

As I was looking through the fridge yesterday doing my meal planning for Project Nowaste, I noticed we had about a pint of opened conventional heavy whipping cream that was a couple days past its pull date, leftover from the holidays. I didn't want to toss it and I didn't exactly have a need for that much whipping cream, so I decided to do something I've been planning on doing for a real long time. Make butter.

So, I took a mason jar, poured the whipping cream inside and warmed it up to about 60 degrees. Then I put a plastic lid on it and started shaking it. Like a crazy lady. I took a break in the action and checked it when it stopped sounding liquidy. Inside the jar was a beautifully sweet smelling, lightly whipped concoction. I put the lid back on and started shaking it. Like a total nutball.

The instructions I was following (from the book Hobby Farm that I got from the library this weekend) cautioned against shaking too vigorously once the whey started separating. I didn't know what I was exactly looking for and I didn't want to miss this so I was being extra cautionary. I shouldn't have. I should have just kept shaking it. Like a Polaroid picture. So I did. And lo and behold, at some random magical moment, the whipped cream started solidifying and the whey started separating and there I had a buttery mixture in my jar. I drained off the whey and shook some more until there wasn't much whey to drain.

Then I put the butter in a bowl, covered it with cold water and "rinsed" it until the water ran clear. This is really something you have to experience to understand, but the butter just gets smoothed out (I used a spatula) until it forms the consistency you like. At which point, I drained the water and put the butter into ramekins.

We were on our way out to the Sunday Farmers Market when I decided to embark on this project so I didn't have a whole lot of time, but that didn't stop me from sampling the butter straight up. Which I would never do with conventional, pre-packaged butter cause it would make me gag. But this stuff - you can eat it straight it's so good.

Next time I make it (and I'll be making this again next weekend since it ends up being rather inexpensive compared to organic butter in the grocery store - the local, organic cream is cheaper) I'll take more pictures of the process so you know what I'm talking about. I bet it will taste better with local, organic cream rather than the crap we had lying about. But, I saved some food and had a great time (and workout) in the process.

I tell you it was like freaking magic! I am so excited by how cool this is (okay I'm a total nerd, but you knew that already), that I'd say it's even more cool than handmaking soap. Almost as cool as childbirth. Okay, maybe I'm still on a butter making high. But you have to try this out at least once in your lifetime.

Update: For complete instructions on making your own butter, check out my post on making Handmade butter.

37 comments:

UrbanHippieMama said...

Your enthusiasm is seriously contagious... I'm going to have to try this myself now!!

Katie said...

Very cool. I didn't know it was that easy! Looking forward to your post with pictures and instructions.

Katie at GardenPunks

Melinda said...

Crunchy, I second how easy it is. We just started making our own butter recently and BOY was it easy. And BOY was it tasty!! We use local, organic cream. MMMMMMMM. Like no other butter we've ever had.

Alan said...

My family made butter when I was a kid and we always kept a milk cow. We had a glass Dazey butter churn which my sister and I spent a lot of time cranking for our mother. Dazey churns don't seem to be manufactured anymore. Working antique models cost upwards of $100. Unfortunately, my mother got rid of ours many years ago. Here's a link to picture of one like ours: http://tinyurl.com/3youeb. And another link to a nice page on butter churns including the Dazey's: http://webexhibits.org/butter/kitchen.html

Deb in MA said...

What a great idea! I'm definitely going to try this one.

Susan said...

Making butter rocks! I'm really impatient, so I make it in the food processer - it takes about a minute to get to the butter stage and I can do much larger batches than in a mason jar.

The massaging the butter stage is particularly cool - the first time I did it, I couldn't believe it. :-)

Next week's butter will definitely be better - we make ours with local organic cream and it's miles away from anything you can maek from conventional milk. If you make butter from raw milk, as we do, you have to freeze it or eat it fairly quick (within a week or so) or it turns into cheese. Still tastes good, but not really butter-y any more.

Deb G said...

I've been making my own butter for almost a year now, it's the only way I could get local and organic. But I cheat and use my kitchen aid mixer. Have to watch it at the end or it gets a little messy :)

I measure the butter out into tablespoon pats because I use it mostly for baking. It also freezes well that way.

The liquid when the cream turns to butter is buttermilk. Makes the most yummy scones.

Jacran Cottage said...

Wow that's great! Good for you!I've wondered about making butter. Do you really think it's cheaper doing this than buying butter at the store? I just may try this!

Christine said...

I made it myself for the first time last year. You are so right. Nothing beats the taste - nothing! YUM!!!

Jennifer said...

That is cool! I stopped eating butter about 3 years ago, though... so I won't be trying it. I would proably LIKE the homemade kind... but heart attack prevention is top on my list. Very cool that you made it though!

just ducky said...

Back in the days when I homeschooled my eldest daughter, I had the kindergarten group at our weekly homeschool co-op make butter as a class project. I had people bring in baby food jars and had each child shake their own. They learned a valuable skill that they could share with their families and they had oodles of fun! I totally believe that this is a fantastic project to have children help with!

Tameson O'Brien said...

We made butter in my second grade class in 1977. Occasionally I still get out the mason jar and do it again, but it was more fun passing it around in my class (upper body has little endurance for things like that, but carrying thing - look out!)

~mel said...

That's awesome! I had no idea making butter was so easy. I'm going to have to try it soon.

Poppy said...

Making butter is a tradition in my home. Every holiday I put the whipping cream in a mason jar and hand it off to the kids. They toss it, roll it and shake. It is wonderful. They are occupied with a constructive activity while awaiting company.

Green Bean said...

Awesome! I'm totally going to give this a shot. The making my own yogurt thing hasn't been going so well so maybe I'll give my self esteem a break on that one and head over to butter temporarily.

historicstitcher said...

We love making butter, but I haven't found alocal, reliable source for cream yet.

I use the Kitchen-aid mixer, too. I don't have the time or endurance to shake a jar when I have bread that needs kneaded! (Another thing I tried and never got away from! I've been making our bread for almost 10 years...)

Wendy said...

That's so funny! I made butter this weekend, too. Almost for the same reason - I had expiring heavy cream in the fridge and needed to use it - but also because I was making some bread and the recipe called for 1/3 cup of butter and we didn't have that much.

I used the whey in my bread ;).

Christy said...

Making butter is really cool! And tastes so good.

Carrie at NaturalMomsTalkRadio said...

Very cool! Save the whey too, you can use it for a few things, namely soaking your grains (just put a few T of it in water and soak rice, oats, whatever) it increases the nutrient content and also makes it easier to digest. If you make homemade salsa or kraut you can add the whey to those too to lactoferment them.

Spice said...

Crunchy,

Living in the Big Woods, we're around Amish. I'll often buy my better from them for about $1.50 a pound and brown farm eggs for about $1.00 per dozen. It's so awsome!
I know the family. Their farm is basically organic, just not certified. I know what the cow was fed and I know that it's fat and happy on grass all day!
I have been looking at her butter churn for a while, it's ridiculously easy to use and easy to make. I'll take some pics of it for you. If i ever get a cow, which I do know how to milk, I'm having Susan's hubby make me a butter churn!
As to the whey, I've used it in cooking, but I also use it on my garden. Tomatoes need lots and lots of calcium. If you give them whey, you'll have the best tomatoes you've ever eaten, and you can grow heirloom tomatoes that weigh 2# each! Try it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused. Is whey that you drain off the same as buttermilk? Or is buttermilk different?

Holly said...

Whey is the liquid that is left over after milk solids have coagulated into cheese. "Buttermilk" is the traditional name for the liquid leftover from making butter. However, this is NOT the same as the buttermilk at the grocery store, which is chemically closer to yogurt than it is to real buttermilk.

I made homemade mozzarella cheese this weekend, using the recipe from "Animal Vegetable Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. I was afraid of doing it but wanted to for ages, and it was SO EASY I feel like an absolute ninny for waiting so long. Plus, the leftover whey can be made ricotta (although not a lot) with the simple addition of heat.

It was SO cool.

stella said...

How exciting! I look forward to seeing pictures and trying it on my own.

Maritzia said...

My grandmother made butter in a big gallon pickle jar. She'd half fill it with her raw cream, and then set it on it's side in her lap in the rocking chair and rock until it was done. She called that her "relaxing time" *laughs*.

aadams3119 said...

Here's a link to a butter churn on Lehmans, but you would have to churn a lot of butter by hand for the price. http://www.lehmans.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=1002&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=713&iSubCat=806&iProductID=1002

Molly said...

It goes a lot faster if you put a couple of marbles in the jar with the cream.

Debbie said...

I use my hand held mixer to make butter. I buy a pint of heavy cream, place it in a glass bowl and begin to beat it just like I'm making whipped cream, but once it turns into whipped cream I just continue to beat it with the mixer. After a bit you hear a sloshing sound and the butter separates from the whey. I then rinse the butter and knead it and drain it in a strainer. I sometimes add 1/4 teaspoon salt and knead it in. Fresh butter will "sweat" a little at first. I just dab it with a paper towel. It really is easy to make butter!

Leigh said...

So how much butter would a cup of cream make? Or a pint?

I don't use that much butter, but I'm tempted to do this just to try out the process and be able to say I've done it. I'll try anthing once!

Brandie said...

Wow. I think I'm going to have to try this myself! =)
p

LifeLessPlastic said...

How awesome!! I started making my own yogurt and bread a few months ago and now I'm addicted to finding new foods that I can make easily homemade. I definitely have to try this!

I wonder if I could use my immersion blender to do this, maybe at least at the beginning...

Oldnovice said...

I learned how easy it was to make with whipping cream and a hand blender when my girls and a neighbor's girls were helping me make some cookies one year. They were beating the whipping cream and I wanted it beat until really stiff peaks stood up. They'd stop and ask if they were there yet and I'd say, "a little more". Then, suddenly, they said, "Uh...Uh...I think we made butter!", and they had. Butter wouldn't work for our purposes, so we had to go out and buy more whipping cream.

Rechelle said...

that is pretty cool Crunchy - I want to knowhow long start to finish it took to make the butter.

Julie Artz said...

Wow, I've been making mozzarella, ricotta, and my own yogurt for a while now, but I never tried to make butter and had no idea you could make it with a food processor, mixer, or a plain old Mason Jar. Thanks for the tip!

Linz said...

I did this about 10 days ago and had to repeat and repeat. It really is the BEST butter...possibly because you took part in it's creation, but it's truly delicious!
http://fortheloveof-food.blogspot.com/2008/01/better-butter.html

handygirl said...

Wow, thank you so much for the blow by blow instructions. I tried this last weekend just to see what would happen, and . . . butter! Real, delicious butter. It seems ridiculous to be amazed by something women used to make on a daily basis, but there it is. Thanks for the inspiration and instruction!

Melba said...

I live on a dairy farm. I let a gallon of milk seperrate(cream rises) I scoup off the cream of 2 gallons of milk and place in a blender pitcher. Turn blender on high. In 5 minutes I have butter. The buttermilk can be used for other recipes(pancakes, biscuits, etc.) Then I rinse under cold water to get the rest of the buttermilk out and add salt to desire taste.

Lucy said...

I am dying to do this but I am having trouble finding non ultra-pasteurized cream where I live in South Carolina, does anyone have any suggestions?

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