I have always been fascinated by stories of the pioneers and those who live close to the land. In my youth I devoured books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the Foxfire series of books about life in Appalachiana. One of my all-time favorites is My Side of the Mountain about a boy who lives off the land in the Catskills mountains along with his Peragrine falcon.
In the tradition of these people I made butter yesterday. I'll admit I had a few advantages that they didn't have. I didn't have to milk the cows and skim the cream - the friendly folks at Whole Foods had already taken care of that for me. I didn't have to sit for a few hours churning the butter until it came, rather I was able to get it in just a few minutes using our food processor. I was able to make butter in the comfort of my own air conditioned kitchen with plenty of clean running water and refridgeration.
My biggest disadvantage was that I had no clue how to do it and recognize when things were going well or not well. As a result there were some misteps along the way, but nothing absolutely disasterous.
After an hour of research on the internet, two hours of work in the kitchen, two quarts of heavy cream, one phone call home to my dad to see if he could guide me down the right path - the end result =
- 8 ounces of delicious salted butter
- 8 ounces of subtle sweet cream butter
- 16 ounces of something between clotted cream and butter and
- 2 cups of buttermilk which went into a loaf of Irish Soda Bread and the rest into Gemma's tummy.
On the whole it was easy.