Saturday, January 29, 2011

Make Your Own Butter

Imbolc is a Sabbat that often focuses on dairy -- after all, the very word Imbolc is derived from Oimelc, or "ewe's milk." This is a great time of year to make foods that come from a dairy source, and few are more representative of dairy than butter. Homemade butter is great because it's got a fuller flavor - mostly because you make it with pure cream instead of diluting it with oils and water like commercially produced butter. Although back in the old days, people used to spend hours at a churn, you can put together your own batch of fresh butter with just a little bit of effort.

When I was a small girl, one of my best friends had a slumber party and her mother had us do this as an activity.  We all sat on the floor of the kitchen and rolled the jar back forth between us until we'd made the cream into butter.  We were so very proud of ourselves.  We then gorged on homemade waffles with our homemade butter and maple syrup..YUM!  Looking back, I now realize that my friend's mother was a witch and followed the craft.  She always had neat and fun activities like these for us to participate in.  She was a wonderful woman and I missed her and my friend very much when they moved away.  May the Goddess bless you and keep you happy, loved and safe.  I thank you for the wonderful memories you blessed me with as a small girl.

So here is what you need.

* Heavy whipping cream
* Glass jar with a lid that seals tightly

Prep time :  30 minutes

Allow the whipping cream to sit at room temperature overnight to let it ripen. Don't leave it out more than 24 hours, or it will spoil.

Pour the whipping cream into the jar. Tighten the lid so it's sealed - I like to use a Mason jar for this, but you can use any kind you like. Shake the jar for about twenty to thirty minutes. If you have more than one kid, let them take turns so no one gets bored.

Check the jar periodically -- if the contents are getting too thick for you to shake easily, open the jar and use a fork to stir things up a little. Eventually, the cream will start to form yellow clumps. These clumps are your butter, which means you're done.

If you're not going to eat all your butter immediately, keep it in the jar, refrigerated. It will last about a week before it begins to spoil.

You can add flavor (and help prevent early spoilage) by adding a bit of salt to your butter. If you like, add herbs or honey. Experiment a little, to see what sorts of flavors you enjoy best. Also, if you allow your butter to chill after mixing it, you can shape it into blocks for easy cutting and spreading.

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