This week, we’ve been helping out at our neighbor’s homestead by milking their Jersey-Guernsey cow, Darling. Each afternoon, Brian brings home over a gallon of fresh, creamy milk. We’ve been making cheese, enjoying kefir, cooking stovetop pudding, and best of all, making butter. Making butter in a jar is one of the easiest and most satisfying homestead activities that I have done in a long time. It is so easy, in fact, that my six year old daughter Ella was able to complete the entire process from start to finish, by herself! And the taste of fresh homemade butter is so unbelievably good that you simply must try this at home. All it takes is cream, water, salt, and some kitchen equipment that you probably have sitting in your cabinet! Here’s how: First, get yourself some cow’s milk cream. Fresh, raw cream is best, but you can certainly try this with heavy cream from the store. Place the cream in a mason jar, ideally no more than 1/3 of the way full. In this photo, we had already started to whip the cream, so it appears to be more full, but you really want to make sure you have plenty of air space for the “butter concussion” or the splashing action that turns cream into butter. Put the lid on tight and then SHAKE! And SHAKE! And SHAKE some more! Ella had a hard time with shaking the jar with the strength of her arms alone, so she took to jumping vigorously around the kitchen table, ten times. What a great energy release for a six year old! You will notice the cream start to become more heavy, and thicken, and ultimately the buttermilk will separate from the butter. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour or so, and will go faster if your cream had warmed slightly from refrigerator temperature. You will start to see granules of butter, separated from the buttermilk. Strain the butter into a colander or small strainer, and save the buttermilk for pancake or biscuit making! Now, at this point, most recipes call for “washing” your butter under cool running water. But since we don’t have running water, we simply placed the butter into a bowl of clean water, and used two wooden spatulas to press the butter into a solid mass. You can also do this by hand with a kneading motion.
Now grab a slice of fresh bread and enjoy this amazing treat!