I use what bargains I can find, when I can find them. For example these cartons of whipping cream. If you enlarge the photo you can see the use by date says 10-19-10. I bought these on the 15th. There are a couple of things I could do to extend the life of the cream. I could freeze it in the carton. It would last for two months in the freezer if it remains unopened but no longer than that. Any longer than two months and it separates then goes bad even in the freezer. It also goes bad if opened and then put into the freezer too.
I could make whipped cream for a bunch of deserts but that's a lot of deserts to be eaten don't you think? One dollop at a time just won't do for getting all the food value before it goes bad. I could make ice cream. I could even make my own sour cream chip dip. But for these three containers I believe I'll make some homemade butter. There's just no comparison between the stuff called margarine and real honest to goodness cream butter.
So how do I start? Well, the cream needs to be left out of the fridge for awhile to let it come up to room temperature. I know it can be done while the cream is cold but that takes longer. I pour the cream into the mixer.
Turn it on "slow" and gradually go to a higher setting. I'm trying to get whipped cream first.
Even with slowly going to a higher speed I got a big mess. I made myself a splash guard for my machine because mine didn't come with one. I gotta add a splash guard to my wish list.
Here it's gotten almost to the whip cream stage but it needs to go even farther in the mixing. It will happen very, very quickly so I can't leave the machine for anything. Not even to answer the phone.
Here the cream has gone from a white color to a slight yellow color and is separating.
I let it whip only a couple seconds more and I see the butter form right before my eyes.
Now I stop the machine. See, I told you I got messy with this. The butter looks sort of like watery yellow cottage cheese which is what I want.
Dip the butter out of the bowl into another bowl then pour the remaining milk into a quart jar. This is homemade buttermilk folks. It's not the same as the creamy buttermilk you get in the stores. They add cream back into that buttermilk. This is pure buttermilk. I don't throw it away. I put it into the fridge for drinking or for cooking.
Now I have to wash the butter to remove all traces of the milk. If the milk is not removed completely the butter will go bad in a couple of days. It's the milk that spoils, not the fat. How do I wash butter?
By smooshing it with a spatula on the side or bottom of the bowl with a little cold tap water added. Working the water through the butter as if I'm trying to mix them together. Of course oil and water don't mix so it runs out taking the extra milk with it. The first washing produces something very milky color like the buttermilk but it's really just water. I can throw this away. I won't be tempted to add it to my buttermilk because then I'll have very watery buttermilk. It will spoil really quickly too.
I wash for a few minutes then pour out the water. I add fresh cold tap water. This is how the water looks after the second washing. A little cloudy but better. I pour this out and add more cold tap water.
I repeat the washing until I get nothing but clean clear water.
Just to be sure I've gotten all the milk out, I wash it one more time.
Now I have butter. At this point I can leave it unsalted if I want. I personally believe the salt acts as a preservative so I add it in. About a teaspoon of salt for each pint is what my Grandmother taught me to add. I mix the salt in really well.
If I still had my butter mold that's what I would do with the butter now. But.... since I don't have the mold I just put it into a bowl and then into the fridge. Actually the butter can be left out on the counter without any problems. I remember as a child we didn't have electricity. We used butter in our cooking and we ate it on our food so it never lasted more than 3 or 4 days anyway. By the time one batch was gone, we had enough fresh cream from the cows to make another batch.
Umm.... wait just a minute! What's fresh butter without fresh bread to test it out? Mmm.... yummy. Sorry, no picture of the butter spread on the bread. I was too busy eating. A little honey and I had a feast.
There are a number of ways to make your own butter. It can be done with a blender, a hand mixer, a food processor, or as a children's home school experiment using marbles in a jar. Give it a try, it's lots of fun. It took me only 5 minutes of watching the mixer and I had butter. Another 5 minutes of washing it.