Churning butter the old-fashioned way was a chore, and I can't imagine how difficult it was for housewives of yore.
I remember churning it myself once, using an old wooden butter churner. It was at a birthday party, and the birthday girl's momma thought churning butter would be a fun activity. So there a group of us sat in a circle, passing the butter churner around, each of us taking our turn at plunging the churner up and down a few times before passing it off to the next person.
It seemed like hours before we were told to stop, though in reality we probably churned for less than one. Nonetheless, our arms were tired, but our excitement level was high as we waited for the lid to be removed to see the butter inside.
Smiles quickly turned to bitter disappointment as we all looked inside, only to see the same cream with which we had started. It hadn't thickened in the least. That was my one and only attempt at making butter until I tried my new Kilner butter churner.
The product claims to make butter in 10 to 12 minutes, but would it work, I wondered. I figured I was only out around $4 for a quart of heavy cream, so I put it to the test.
I allowed the cream to come to room temperature, an imperative move. Before starting, I read the instructions and went on YouTube to see how it's done. Both stated clearly the need to use room-temperature cream. That done, I poured it into the glass jar, put the churner/lid on top, set the timer for 10 minutes and started churning.
I had butter in less than six minutes. This churner is the real deal. You can buy a pound of butter for less than it costs to make your own, but this is something you can do with the kids. It's a lesson that will help teach them how certain foods are made and the science behind it — how whipping the fat molecules in cream makes them coagulate into butter, leaving a liquid we all know as buttermilk on the side. Save the buttermilk for your waffles or mashed potatoes. It's delicious.
The butter churner isn't large — no bigger than a large Mason jar — so it will store easily in your kitchen cabinet. And it's made of glass — not wood like the traditional churner — so you can see what's happening as you churn.
The Kilner Butter Churner is about $40 on amazon.com, and for a fun project that will take no more than 15 minutes, including draining the buttermilk, it's worth every penny.
Once you have butter, you can turn it into more than just a spread for toast. Try making one of the recipes in the included booklet, such as this one for Parmesan-Basil-Tomato Butter. It's a tasty addition to a cheese platter and is excellent on crackers. And of course, you can use store-bought butter if you haven't made your own.
4 ounces butter, softened
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (preferably fresh)
8-10 basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped sun-dried tomato
Pinch of salt
Place butter in a bowl, and add remaining ingredients. Mix until well-combined. Serve immediately with crackers or store in covered container for up to one week.
GROCERIES TO GO
My Soddy-Daisy Wal-Mart recently introduced its new pickup service, so I decided to give it a try, and now think it may be one of the smartest ways to shop.
For starters, you do your grocery shopping from home. You don't have to go into the store, so you're not tempted to buy things you don't really need. How many times have you run into the grocery store and bypassed the grocery carts thinking you're just going to grab two things? No one needs a cart for just a couple of items.
But the problem is, how often do you stop at two things? By the time you get to the checkout area, your arms are loaded down with items you can barely hold on to. So not only are you risking dropping everything, your original purchase was just a few dollars, but now you find yourself paying twice or three times as much as you'd planned on.
Ordering from home and meeting the nice man outside who told me to get back in my car and let him do the work was great, particularly since it was a rainy day.
If you haven't tried this service, give it a go. It may not work for every shopping trip, but it is certainly easy if you have a list and you want to stick to it. The website is easy to navigate as well.
Contact Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.