Make Your Own Butter!

by: Diane Flynn Keith
posted: February 19, 2005

Lots of little kids like butter. Did you know that it is thought that Arabs discovered butter? According to legend it was a delicious accident...

Hey now watch the fingers -- they're attached.

If you tell your children this story, you can teach them a little about other countries and cultures. Point out Saudi Arabia on a map or globe. Explain that the desert has lots of sand. Camels can walk well in the sand. (If your child has never seen a camel -- you can find a picture of a camel on the Net).

Long ago, many people who lived in the Arabian desert traveled by camel. They used pouches made from animal skins to transport liquids on long journeys. On one journey, they put milk in the leather bags, and loaded them onto their packs on the camel. As the camel walked across the desert, the rolling back-and-forth movement of their gait churned the milk into butter! They were very surprised to find butter instead of milk when they arrived at their destination.

When you shake up milk (that contains lots of cream or fat) -- it turns into butter.

Your child can make butter -- here's how:

You will need a small clear jar (like a babyfood jar) with a lid, heavy whipping cream -- the kind that comes in liquid form in a carton, not the kind you squirt from a can, a strainer, salt, a spoon, a knife, and bread or crackers.

Pour the cream into the jar filling it half way full. Let the cream come to room-temperature. Put the lid on tight. Shake the jar (not too fast). This can take a little while, so you might want to take turns shaking the jar.

A lump of butter should form (after about 20-30 minutes of shaking) -- and there will be liquid in the jar as well. Pour the butter and liquid into a strainer. You can catch the liquid in a cup beneath the strainer. The liquid is buttermilk. You can drink it or use it in a recipe -- make buttermilk pancakes!

Rinse the lump of butter under cold water. Then, press the butter with a spoon to make it smooth. Add a dash of salt and mix. Spread the butter on bread or on crackers. Taste it. What do you think?

Now your child knows that butter comes from milk. I hope he/she knows that milk comes from cows. You can find pictures of cow breeds, and see how the milk is turned into cheese at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

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