Did you know that the “whole” milk you buy at the store isn’t actually whole??
Whole milk is actually about 3-4% milk fat, as opposed to it’s modern sisters 2%, and skim (gag!).
So when we started purchasing our raw milk straight from a small family dairy (they have 2 jersey cows in milk!) – we were getting not only “whole” milk, but we were getting a beautiful layer of fresh cream too!
Well, it took me some convincing to get the hubby to let me skim it off the top, but when I finally did and the results were fresh raw butter. Well. He was sold on letting me separate some of the cream 😉 (if you need some tips on how to skim the cream off the top of your raw milk, read this post from The Prairie Homestead)
There are a lot ways to go about making fresh butter. There’s the traditional butter churn (if I had space I’d own one because I’m obsessed with old stuff like that!), a standing mixer, an electric butter churn, or, the ever humble, ever simple, mason jar method.
Which is what we’re gonna talk about today, if the title of the post didn’t give it away already, ehem.
First, let’s talk about why I chose this method.
Well, it’s something little hands can do. And I’ve been trying my hardest to involve the kids in more household chores, and I’ve decided this is a good one. Even my 3 year old can do this!
The other reason is that it’s not messy. The standing mixer butter churning method is very messy. Yes you can buy a shield attachment, but I don’t want to spend the money or the storage space on it. And yes, you could hold a dish towel over the top, but eh, that makes more laundry – which I detest! No doubt I’ll attempt this method in the future, but today wasn’t the day.
Lastly, making butter in a jar is a very hands on, visual, learning experience. So not only are little hands capable of the task, but it provides a chance to see the process of cream turning to butter, at every stage. And the homeschool mom in me just can’t pass that up.
So let’s get to making butter in a jar, shall we? It’s incredibly simple, so pay attention!
How to Make Butter in a Jar
First fill a mason jar 2/3 of the way full with heavy cream and screw on the lid tight! I used two pint sized mason jars for my girls – they were the perfect size!
Then start shaking! It takes about 20 minutes all together, here are the stages to look out for,
When you start out, the cream will slide off the sides of the jar and you’ll hear and feel lots of splashing.
After a little while of that, the cream will start to thicken, coat the sides of the jar, and you’ll hear little (if any) splashing. It will feel like you aren’t shaking anything! But keep going, you’re not done yet. (By the way, congratulations, you just made whipped cream!)
And then all of a sudden, you’ll hear splashing again. Never fear my butter making friend, that’s the best sign of all! Keep it up for a little while longer and then check and you’ll see a ball of butter sitting in what appears to be milk! You’ve just made butter AND buttermilk. Hooray!
Now all that’s left to do is to gently pour your butter milk into a jar, and then put the butter in a bowl. Gently rinse that butter in cold water, to get more of the buttermilk out (this will help it last longer), then place it in a container of your choosing. You can then add salt if you like, I did because that’s just how I roll.
And voila! With the strength of your arm (or your kids!) and a mason jar, you’ve made butter! My kids tuckered out about halfway through, so I got it to the whipped cream stage and let them keep it going till they made butter. They thought this was super cool, and couldn’t wait to give it a taste.
So what do you think? Give this simple homesteading activity a try with your kids! I bet they’ll get a kick out of it – and you’ll get fresh butter! Win-win!
This post shared at: Art of Homemaking