Memories Of Butter

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It helps, but is not necessary, to own a cow.

It also helps to have a compliant child to do the churning.

Allow fresh whole milk to chill overnight and separate the cream from the milk in the morning. Do this throughout the week until enough cream (approximately 1 quart) is captured to create a pound of butter.

Pour the cream into a one-gallon glass hand-crank butter churn and allow to rest at room temperature for two hours. Next, set your pre-adolescent daughter down at the kitchen table with instructions that she’s to turn the handle until the whey separates from the fat; approximately 30 – 40 tortuous minutes — while you bake and supervise.

Encourage her when she gets bored, because she will.

When the fat (finally) separates from the whey, release her from her servitude and drain the whey into another container. To keep the butter ‘sweet’, rinse it thoroughly by holding it under cold running water for several minutes, squeezing with a wooden paddle to remove every trace of whey. (Mom called this buttermilk and always drank about a cup of it. She relished its flavor and claimed that it was ‘good for you’.) Reserve the whey for use in baking. Pigs enjoy it too!

Salt the butter to taste and press it into molds. Mom used bread pans. Chill or freeze for later use. A generous spread on homemade bread topped with a thick layer of equally homemade preserves is a sweet reward for your daughter’s hard work.