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.
For butter you will need:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
a pinch of salt
a clean glass jar
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.