Making Butter (and other interesting things)

As I write this, there is a small lizard watching me from the wall along the ceiling.  It's the third one I've found in the house this week.  I managed to catch the first two and toss them outside.  This current guy is scrawny and moving pretty slow.  He's probably been inside awhile.  I hate to see them wither away in the house.  I wish they'd stay outside in the sunshine where they can eat bugs and poop in the grass.

This is life in Florida.  We also have the best mangoes in the world, so it's a trade-off.

I did something cool today.  I made butter.  I didn't know you could make butter.  Well, I didn't know I could make butter.  I know butter is made in Land O' Lakes factories with big whippers and shakers and vats of cream.  I didn't know I could do that in my own kitchen without industrial equipment.

But I did.

This is about a cup of butter made from two pints of whipping cream.  And it's the easiest thing I've ever made.

I dumped the pints of cream into my Kitchen Aid mixer and, using the whisk, whipped it until it looked like Cool Whip (this is the whipped cream stage, perfect for dolloping on Jello or apple pie.)   I started off slow; otherwise the cream would have splattered the entire kitchen.  I increased the speed as the cream thickened.  I checked it now and then, sprinkled in a little salt.

Once the cream was Cool Whip-y, I switched to the paddle attachment and beat the mixture on high until the cream began to splatter again due to some liquid separating from the increasingly hardening butter.  I covered the Kitchen Aid with a kitchen towel to contain the splatters and kept beating.

Within just a minute or two, the butter had formed, and there were two separate items in the bowl - the butter and the butter juice, which is called buttermilk.  This is where buttermilk comes from!  I'm a city girl, there is much I don't know about butter and cows. 

Is this cool, or what? 

I picked up the globs of butter and squeezed them gently to release any extra fluid.  I transferred them to a storage glass with a lid and set the buttermilk aside.  I thought about shaping the globs into sticks and wrapping them in waxed paper, but I'm too lazy.

After some thought, I discarded the buttermilk.  I know there are recipes that call for buttermilk, and I probably could have saved it, but I don't know enough about it (remember, city girl), and I just wasn't sure how long to keep it.  I'll research it and have a buttermilk plan next time.

I didn't pay attention to the cost of the cream, but I'm going to see if making my own butter is cost effective.  There might be some butter-makers out there who could tell me.   I felt very Caroline Ingalls-y today.  I hung clothes on the line too.  I'm a pioneer woman at heart.

Still trying to use every inch of my dad's cut-up jeans, I made another practical item today.  I cleaned out our master bath and decided to put more toiletries out of sight.  With the new frame on our bathroom mirror, I'm inspired to keep the counters free of clutter so we can actually see the frame.

Here's what I came up with.

This is one front leg from the jeans.  By folding up some length and sewing a seam in the middle, I created two more pockets. 

I made two button holes for the squared "S" hooks to slide into.  By using the tiny pocket near the waistband, I have four pockets in which to stash whatever fits.

I didn't hem the sides because this little caddy is hidden inside a lower cabinet in our master bath upstairs, where nobody but me ever will see it.  Except for the six people who read this blog.  

That's what I've been doing this week.  Catching lizards, making things out of scraps (you can see my other jean projects HERE and HERE) and whipping butter.  I've also decided I might have a sensitivity to wheat, so I've been testing out some oat flour recipes, which need xanthan gum.  It's a slimy glue that holds ingredients together.  It's in a lot of the products we eat.  It's now my friend.

I never thought I'd be chasing lizards, making butter, or buying xanthan gum.   Life is full of surprises.

How has life surprised you lately? 


Mari said...

I think lizards are kind of cute, but not in the house. :)
I've made butter before but not for some time. You're getting so creative with those jeans!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I remember homemade butter. My grandparents lived on a farm when I was a girl and my grandma made her own butter with a butter churn. No kitchen aide for her. It is good! I do have a few cake recipes that call for buttermilk and buttermilk biscuits are the best. You are very creative with the jeans!

Stacey Lozano said...

That is awesome! I've never done those things either. LOL What has surprised me is I'm planning a wedding. With two boys I didn't think I would ever be the one to do this, but the way it is going I am. It's fun, bonding me more to my future dil and helping me get way excited about the day, even if I am a nervous mess too! ;D

Michael Ann said...

I used to make butter with the kids...but we just put the cream in a jar and shook it :-) I don't have a kitchen aid but this would be a good reason to get one! I also wonder if it is cost effective to make it vs buy it? I just made buttermilk scones that called for 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Easy/peasy. I just saw a lizard on my walk the other day (I'm in Calif). Not in the house though.

Granny B said...

I loved that you made butter....not so much into having a lizard in my house though


Elizabeth said...

Good mom that you are I'm surprised you never made butter with your kids. You know, put cream in a jar with a tight lid and have them shake it or roll in back and forth until the butter ball forms.

We get skinks in our house with a cute blue stripe down their backs.

Somewhere in our house we have a skink that eluded capture by skittering into a floor air vent and a tiny little black snake that went into hiding under a heavy to shift piece of furniture.

Yay you for all these extra bits of domesticity. I hope to buy a bushel of apples next weekend and make a big ol' pot of applesauce that will be packaged up and frozen.

Juli said...

The kids make butter every year in school. They put some cream in a ziploc container with the screw on lid and then shake it all day long during class. I like to add tiny blueberries to the butter. :) We used to get lizards quite often in the house when I lived in Dania Beach. That is, until the cat got them.

I have been Gluten Free since 2007. Email me if you have any questions, and if you're looking for brands to buy. There's a lot of really BAD GF food out there. Hate to see you waste your money, because trust me, we've eaten it all.

Danielle L Zecher said...

I had no idea that was you make butter, or that that's where buttermilk comes from. I'm a city girl too. :-)

How long do you think the butter will keep? It would be interesting to see if it's cost effective to make your own. I use a lot of recipes that call for butter milk, so I really like the idea of making my own like that. I guess using the buttermilk would help make it more cost effective. I hope you'll let us know whether or not you determine it to be cost effective.

Jaime said...

I miss hanging clothes outside. I can't do it now because our condo association lady would yell at us. She protects us all from the hazards of gas grills, beach towels hanging on our balconies, welcome mats that are too big and dogs who aren't wearing their green condo-issued tags:)

My husband and I eat gluten-free most of the time. I've discovered that rice flour is yummy and the gluten-free bread mixes & pizza crusts are great. I've been using milled flax seed mixed with a little warm water in place of eggs (after you let the mixture sit for a few minutes, it gets slimy like eggs). It saves money and makes the breads taste really healthy.

Good job on the butter. Definitely very Little House on the Prairie.

Lynn Proctor said...

mare--you are adorable---you need your own show---i know i would watch it!!!!

Rita said...

I hope you caught the poor skinny lizard.
I've never made butter, but looks like you did a great job of it--whoohoo! And clever holder for bathroom items. You have been busy. :)

Marianne said...

You are practically Ma Ingalls! Well done. And I'm suddenly craving popcorn.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I made butter back when we could get raw milk locally. In that case, it was cost effective because I skimmed off the cream and made the butter. If you have to purchase whole cream for making butter, I'm not sure it is cost effective but sure fun to try, isn't it?? Lately I've been making my own whole fat Greek yogurt by using my crock pot. Omigosh is it absolutely amazing! And truly cost effective as well, so I'm pleased! Also full fat Greek yogurt is hard to find where I live but whole milk is not lol.