Ever since we went semi-primal with out diet about a year or so ago, we switched from Margarine, which is full of all manor of weird and nasty man-made junk, to butter, a far more healthy choice, even though the media would have you believe otherwise.
Butter is made from milk, something we humans have been consuming in various forms for thousands of years. Margarine contains sunflower oil and all manner of other derived fats and ingredients that we truly have no real clue as to what effect they have on our bodies!
Well one feature in this years series of Super Scrimpers on Channel 4 caught my eye… Making your own butter. All you need is a pot of double cream or whipping cream (heavy cream for our American/Canadian readers), and an clean, empty jam jar. Now here in the UK double cream is quite pricey and if you’re looking for an economy route to making your own butter, then it may not be the best way, but it does taste far better than margarine, contains none of the dodgy ingredients or even the preservatives found in shop bought butter.
Pour the cream into your jam jar, about 1.5 to 2″ deep is plenty. Put the lid on and fasten it tightly. Then start shaking the jar… It takes a while, but after about 2 or 3 mins the cream should reach a whipped state. Continue shaking the jar… It gets harder to shake as the cream stiffens, but persevere. I find rotating the jar round and turning it upside down every so often helps keep it moving.
As the cream reaches room temperature, it starts to become easier to work with… Continue shaking. All of a sudden you’ll notice a change in the sound the cream makes as it slops back and forth in the jar. The fat in the cream will eventually start to separate out, forming pure butter, and you’ll be left with a watery milk liquid known as buttermilk. Continue shaking for another minute or so to get as much buttermilk out of the butter as possible.
Then pour the buttermilk into a suitable container and refrigerate for later use (It’s lovely added to regular milk on cereal etc and it contains tons of calcium!).
Fill the jam jar containing the butter up with cold water and give it a good shake again, to wash out any further butter milk. I find squashing the butter in the jar with the back of a spoon helps get as much butter milk out as possible. It’s important to remove as much buttermilk as possible as if it’s left in, the butter will quickly turn rancid.
Rinse the butter several times using this method until the water runs clear. Then transfer the butter to a suitable dish or container and it’s ready to use immediately. Freshly made butter will keep unrefrigerated for a couple of days, or up to a week in the fridge. To store it for longer, just pop it into the freezer.
Most importantly, enjoy your own freshly made butter! Especially on freshly made scones with homemade black currant jam!