27 Feb

How to make your own butter

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.

How To Make Your Own Butter From Cream

How To Make Your Own Butter From Cream

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.

What you need?

  • A small pot of double cream
  • Jam Jar
  • Elbow Grease

Method

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!

17 Feb

Frugal Food Shopping – Hit That Reduced Counter!

Over the past few months the cost of living has continued to rise, and one of the most notable areas where we’ve seen increased prices is in our Food bill. We don’t eat out often, certainly not as much as we used to and my rather talented Fiance, Tina is cooking pretty much everything we eat from scratch so we know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies, but the price of the raw ingredients is just going up and up.

During the spring, summer and autumn, we try and grow as much as we can ourselves as far as Salad crops, fruit and vegetable are concerned, but in the winter, our frozen stocks diminish and we have no choice but to buy from the supermarket.

So this past month, we’ve been on a bit of a mission to minimize our food bill as much as possible and there’s one particular way we’ve managed to decimate the amount we spend rather dramatically… Buying from the reduced counter.

Ok, maybe it’s being cheap… or just Yuk… But stop and think for a minute… Our local supermarket reduces a ridiculous amount of bread, normally two days or more prior to the “Best Before” or Display until date (and we all know those dates mean pretty much nothing), and the reductions are massive… Warburtons loaves reduced from £1.60 to £0.80p or lower… And the stuff is fresher than the bread we normally get delivered from Tesco when we shop online!

Fruit and veg is another big one… Huge bags of spinach at less than 1/3 their original price, celery, aubergines… The savings are phenomenal! Ok, it may not last as long as if you bought from the new stock that’s just been put out, but if you buy and use it that day, or with bread and fruit, pop it in the freezer, you’ll save a fortune.

We now have a months supply of bread in our freezer and it all cost less than £5… saving us at least £5 if not more! And the savings we’ve made on meat for Sunday roasts etc is just crazy.

Golden Rules To Pocket the difference

Next time you’re in the supermarket, drop by the reduced counter and see what’s there, you’ll be amazed I can assure you. But to make sure we don’t get distracted, we’ve got a few golden rules we go by…

  • Only buy the things you would normally eat. Or if you’re tempted by something you wouldn’t normally chose, check the ingredients for additives and other man made nasties.
  • Don’t buy more than you need. If you can’t freeze it or eat it before it goes off, don’t buy it. You don’t want to end up binning it as that negates the whole point of the exercise.
  • Save the difference – Make a note of the money you’ve saved and put it to one side. Put the money you would have normally spent into a coin jar or transfer it to a savings account if you paid electronically. You’ll be amazed how quickly the savings add up.
  • If you’re buying reduced meat, make sure you use it on the day or get it put straight in the freezer.
  • Lastly, be sure the price is a real reduction… Could you get the normal, full price product cheaper anywhere else. It’s unlikely, but you never know. Supermarkets are crafty!

Next time you’re in the supermarket, be crafty… go check out that reduced counter and see what you can find. Get over the use-by date thing and use your noddle. If it looks ok, smells ok and tastes ok… 99.999% of the time it is…

Have you got any other ideas for Frugal food shopping? Feel free to post them in the comments below and share them with other readers…