What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, October 03, 2008

B is for BUTTER

Before the school year began, I finally made a decision about buying an actual phonics program rather than just using books like Dick and Jane, etc. to get Corynn reading. I wanted a real educational approach, not something half-hearted and harried (as I knew these would be things I would produce without some direction on my very first year of bonafide home educating.) Though pricey, I saved for the Veritas Press' Phonics museum for K and 1st grade, rationalizing that it is usable for all my future reading students (read: children), and enjoying the approach not only for its' reading and parental aides but for introducing Art appreciation and even simple stories based on history. While I HAVE found that it is a bit juvenile and I can (and need to) step up the work a bit, (namely: they work on one phonogram per week and Corynn already knows the phonograms, so she is way over the practice-the-letter-B-for-five-days-straight bit.) still I appreciate all that it DOES encompass. All the "perks" shall we say. We've done apple printing, made masks, practiced the art techinique of pointellism, and last week, it was suggested we make butter. BUTTER!

So we did.

Here's how:

For butter you will need:

1 pint heavy whipping cream
a pinch of salt
a clean glass jar
a marble
a bowl
a strainer
and a wooden spoon

You pour two cups/one pint of heavy whipping cream into a clean (and cold) canning jar. Plop a clean (and cold) marble in there too, and top it with a tight fitting lid. To make them cold, put them in the fridge for an hour or so- DUH!

Then, you just SHAKE. Shake. Shake Shake. Andrew liked the shaking for about... two minutes when suddenly, the jar shook itself right onto the floor-taking out his toe in the process. After that, he was a shaking snob and didn't lay a finger on the jar again until the butter had already been made.

Corynn, on the other hand, was a real trooper. She was a dedicated shaker through and through, which says a lot considering it takes about 20 minutes for anything really substantial to happen.

You put your right arm in...you take your right arm out. You do the hokie pokie and you shake yourself about.
Shake it up baby, now, shake it up BABY. Twist and SHouT, twist and shout. Come on, come on, my BABY now...come on Baby!

After that twenty minutes of intense and violent jarring (get it? Har har.) SOMETHING happens. Trust me- ANYTHING is better than nothing. You start to see thick cream pulling away from the jar. Oh-this is good.

But that doesn't give you opportunity to stop shaking, just motivation to keep on going. For another 30 minutes! Yeah. This WOULD count as a physical education point. If I had to keep track of PE at this point, that is. I burned approximately 12,385,763 calories during this exercise.

After what could seem like FOREVER (By the way: now would be a good time to suggest that you NOT do separate batches for toddlers. This is an awful lot of shakin' for one Mama to do if multiple kids tire out from shaking...instead, have them take turns doing the shakin'. Just trying to help) very spontaneously and very magically, the butter and buttermilk separate. Trust me, you begin to wonder if it is going to happen. Then, out of the blue- two or three shakes clean the sides and milk magically appears. It really happens!

Next comes the straining. Strain the butter from the buttermilk using just a glass bowl and strainer. Save the buttermilk and find something good to use it for. Buttermilk is expensive in stores...

This is what it will look like at this point.

Now, residual buttermilk is still in the butter, so rinsing it is an important next step. Submerge the butter in cold water and pour off milky white water. Repeat this step until the water remains clear. Then dump that water and move on to the NEXT step.

Next step: spread the butter around on the outside of the bowl with a wooden spoon, and in so doing, push excess buttermilk out of butter. It will squish out into the center of the bowl where you can pour it out. This is important because buttermilk left in the butter turns it sour... Corynn enjoys telling people this tidbit. I know not why.

This step is where the Panda comes in again, and with gusto he comes! Pardon me while I admire his adorable concentration aide- his tongue. Gotta love an out-hanging tongue.

Can't see it? Here. Let's go in for a closer looksie...

And where there are two, there are three. This boy really needs to concentrate, I guess. Squishing buttermilk is a harder job than I originally thought.

Once the excess buttermilk has been squished out and then drained, your butter is ready to refrigerate. If you want SALTED butter, mix a pinch of salt in at this point. A butter mold would be fantastic, but we don't have any. I did, however, find a small, heart shape cupcake tin which Corynn opted for. Andrew went with a bowl from their play kitchen.

Refrigerate for an hour or so until firm and then enjoy. My parents came over the following evening, so you can imagine how excited Corynn was to put out her heart butter for the meal.

She has even been overheard teaching people how to make butter on several occasions since.

I guess they enjoyed themselves...

And THAT's what it's all a-BOUT! Cha cha cha.


Elizabeth said...

This, albeit time consuming looks like a great "food experiment" and I will be doing it with Samuel sometime soon hopefully! Thanks for the step by step! :)

Hannah said...

You painted your cupboards! They look great white! I do realize that I am probably slow in noticing this and that you have a beautiful post on it somewhere...
We get our milk fresh from a local farm and have made butter in our food processor before, but I can see how this would be a great activity in the middle of the winter when the children are going stir crazy.

Tracy said...

Homeschooling little people is so much fun!
Great job, everybody!

Chris said...

Fun, fun! When I taught preschool the kids always loved making butter. We used baby food jars, so the shaking wasn't quite so long and tedious.

Rebecca said...

Elizabeth~ be prepared to SHAKE! :-) Little hands get tired quickly!

Hannah~ no you aren't late, in fact, you are quite observant. Which means you also noticed that I have not yet gotten my hubby to put the DOORS on the cupboards yet either. Wonderful. :-/

Tracy~ I second that.

Chris~ now THAT is a superb idea. WHY did I not think of that? And WHY did I think two children needed to make two different batches!?! I know not.

Sweetpeas said...

Perhaps not quite as educational but after one time of having to do the shaking myself because kids got bored and wandered off, I discovered the beauty of using the food processor instead of shaking a jar. Works just as well, and is fast enough to keep my kids' attention :)

Also be aware that the buttermilk you buy in stores is cultured buttermilk, in some recipes fresh buttermilk won't work the same way.

Mrs. Bonnie said...

What fun! I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but just haven't.
I'm going to bug you again in about 6 months (or maybe wait 'til schools out) and get your opinion again on this phonix pragram- I like the little bit you've shared so far. I mean hey, anything that uses appleprinting and buttermaking MUST be fun!
Andrews consentrating is great, my brother used to jut his jaw way out, and switch it from side to side. I'll have to ask his wife if he still does.
So, how did the butter taste?

Rebecca said...

Just like butter! ;-)

It's really good.

Michelle said...

The only way I have made it is by using my gigunda food processor. I am a tad afraid to let my three boys shake up the butter. I have visions of grease spots on the ceiling of our rental house! :)

Looks like lots of fun, though! :D

Andie said...

I have never made butter...I think I might try that when we get to the letter "B" in our phonics program! We made applecrisp last week in preschool! Now that was a fun and tasty day!! My preschool is in a church building and we had everyone from the office staff to the custodians migrating to the preschool rooms to see/taste what we were up to!
Keep having fun!
PS...thanks for the thoughtful comments on my blog.

abigail said...

I did that with Millie last year...using a small amount of leftover, SOUR, heavy cream we had from the holiday dessert-making.

Suffice it to say, poor Annika missed out this year. :)