Archive for the Home School Category

Churnin’ Butter

Posted in Home School | 10 Comments »

Phillip and I subscribed to Little Passports this school year for Ivy and Violet. If you are on Facebook and have kids, you may have seen the ads for it in your sidebar. Crafty marketers, those FB people. It looked really good as a supplement to Geography. Ivy is studying the states and their capitals this year, and I was looking for something to make the states come alive for her. They have a USA edition, so it looked like a lot of fun. And although Violet isn’t officially doing any Geography in Kindergarten, we signed her up for the World Edition just for fun. It turned out to be even better than we thought. Every month they get a package in the mail from the fictional cousins “Sam and Sofia”. They send out a postcard, gifts and booklets from every place around the world they visit each month on their magical traveling scooter. No coach class airplanes for this duo, apparently. Which makes sense, since they are probably making bank off this thing – it’s a bit pricey, but worth every penny!

I won’t go into all the details of all the cool stuff they get, but suffice it to say it is A LOT of fun for them to open their package every month. Ok maybe a few details… Sam and Sofia sent Violet an amethyst from Brazil, and Ivy gets paper crafts in every package including a 3D paper model of the White House that we put together. I could go on and on about all the neat stuff (sushi eraser from Japan!). Ivy also gets these activity booklets with 2 different states each month that goes over everything interesting and unique about that state. She put stickers of the state flower, animal, flag, etc. in a field guide they sent her. It lasts us all month. Violet gets a “Boarding Pass” to online games related to the country of the month (it was France this month) and an activity sheet that we never do because she is too little still. Actually the USA version is waaaay more intricate and involved than the World version. Aaaaanyway, the point of telling you all this is that in last month’s packet Ivy learned about Winsconsin and making dairy products like cheese and butter. And one of the suggested activities was to make your own butter. So we did.

This was a perfect activity considering that making butter only involves shaking a jar of heavy cream, and I am a) Lazy by nature and b) Pregnant and tired. It sounds so old school and fun, but yet is ridiculously simple.

We started with a mason jar that I boiled for sterilization purposes, poured the heavy cream in, sealed it and went to work shaking it.

Shake it, don't break it, toots. Because seriously, shards of glass are a pain to clean up when you are nearly 7 months pregnant.

Shake it, don’t break it, toots. Because seriously, shards of glass are a pain to clean up when you are nearly 7 months pregnant.

I didn’t time it but it took quite a long while to get anywhere with it. Maybe about an half hour or so. But fortunately the shaking didn’t have to be too vigorous – just continual. Think the tortoise, not the hare. We checked it and it was at the soft peak whipping cream stage. So we poured out a little of the cream and used it to snack on strawberries and cream.

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Delish!!!

During our snack detour, we kept shaking and it became almost a stiff peak whipped cream. Took a few more tastes, and continued…. and then, suddenly from one moment to the next the thick cream coating the inside of the jar separated and the jar was now coated with a thin liquid.

Looking a little more tired now...but it worked!

Looking a little more tired now…but wait a minute…what’s going on here??

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THIS.

Success!!!! The thin milky stuff is commonly known as BUTTERMILK. Who knew? Not me, as distant as I am from my food sources. So apparently we also made fresh buttermilk from scratch today. I feel so dang accomplished right now. Must find a good recipe that calls for buttermilk. Side note: have you ever tried to find regular buttermilk at the grocery store? You can’t. I’ve tried in years past. It’s all reduced fat buttermilk! Dumb. But I am here to tell you that full fat buttermilk is within your grasp, if you are willing to do a little shaking!

After I drained out the buttermilk, I rinsed the butter because apparently it keeps longer if you take that extra step.

After I drained out the buttermilk, I rinsed the butter because apparently it keeps longer if you take that extra step.

I used cheesecloth in a strainer, but you can also just add water to the jar and shake it, drain. Then continue to rinse and repeat until the water runs clear.

Then I squeezed out the remain water and voila! Fresh butter. Easy peasy.

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So simple. Because if it wasn’t, I would have never even tried it.

Oh, and by the way, if you want really fun freebie ideas and printables, go to the Little Passports Blog and their Arts and Crafts page.