“She churned for a long time. Mary could sometimes churn while Ma rested, but the dash was too heavy for Laura.” – Little House in the Big Woods
Have you ever made butter? If not, you’re in luck because that is exactly what we are doing for today’s Adventures in Homesteading post.
I should’ve taken a clue from the excerpt above that making butter from cream is not for the faint of heart, in spite of how cute little Laura appears in the illustrations.
So Sarah told me about this cute craft idea for kids where you place cream in jars and shake and it turns to butter. Sounded easy enough and fun.
I found the small thing of whipping cream for $0.99 at Fred Meyer and the baby food which I purchased for the jars were $0.33 each (also Fred Meyer). Total investment involved: $1.65. I could swing that.
Next, fill your jars up 2/3 of the way. You could also add a little salt, but I omitted this part.
At this point, I handed the little jars to my kids to shake.
They were amused for all of thirty seconds, and then they wanted to go inside and watch Fairly OddParents. This left only one person available to turn cream into butter. Yup, yours truly.
Now I figured this would take a few minutes, I really had no idea. And the post she sent me for reference suggested it needed several minutes of vigorous shaking, so I began to shake, shake, shake the heck out of those little bottles.
After about five minutes, this is what I had:
Not exactly butter, but I did have whip cream. Go me, I guess. Convinced that my efforts were doing something, I continued to shake, shake, shake the crap out of the little jars for several more minutes. And then something else happened.
I got tired.
And not only that, my right arm broke out in a RASH. I kid you not. I think it was shocked by the sudden exercise after not having done much of anything in about two weeks. I shoved the jars back in the fridge and emailed Sarah, telling her about my utter failure at homesteading. I asked her how long I should have shaken the bottles. Here was her response:
That’s strange it took the kids maybe 15-20 minutes. A rash? That is odd.
15 to 20 MINUTES?! Yikes folks, this homesteading ain’t for the faint of heart.
The next morning I get up and go about my day and suddenly, I begin to hear voices. The voices of pioneers of days gone by, basically taunting me for my “effort.”
Yes, I began to think of everything that pioneers did. Growing and harvesting grain. Killing bears and pigs and squirrels. Foraging for berries. Basically living off the land with no microwaves, refrigerators, cars, or fancy phones to guide the way.
Darn it, if they could do all that and then some, I could make butter! With renewed sense of purpose (and my strange rash gone), I went to the fridge, retrieved the baby jar of cream and started once again shake, shake, shaking the crap out of the thing. And after several minutes, something happened. Something truly miraculous….
I heard a soft “thud” in my jar. I frantically ran to the kitchen counter and shrieked “EUREKA!”
I’d done it. I’d made butter!!
Now around the little pat of butter you’ll find some liquid. This is buttermilk! I felt so proud of myself – sort of like the time I grew my own quinoa proud. Maybe I can’t be Survivorgirl, but at least I can make my own butter (provided I have whipping cream and baby food jars handy).
From here you can eat and store your precious butter. Go ahead and eat it. You’ve likely burned twice as many calories just making it. Kid friendly, my foot.
For more in this series, visit my Adventures in Homesteading page.