I love the idea of homesteading. Living off of the land. Being self-sufficient. Owning chickens. All of it. In my homesteader dreams, there's always a warm breeze blowing through my hair as I crest the hill on our 140-acre property, on my way to the barn to check on the cows. I gaze out over the fields, including the "back 40", see our horses frolicking and the corn growing high... It's lovely.
I felt like that the other day. I swear, even though I was inside, the wind blew through my hair. Wanna know why? First, you have to promise not to judge. I know people think I'm odd and different for these dreams that invariably involve me making life more difficult than it needs to be. So promise. Pinky promise.
Okay. I'll tell you. I felt like Laura Ingalls, because I MADE BUTTER. I did. In my kitchen. In less than 15 minutes. It was, how can I put this without sounding cheesy (which I also believe I can make but that's a story for a different day), life-changing.
Want to know how I did it? There was no blood, no sweat, and the only tears were tears of joy. I got a Ninja for Christmas, and it is making all the difference! It's so super cool! I used the smallest container that it comes with, but next time I would use the middle-sized, just because the cream expands. So here's what I did. First, the ingredients:
That's it. So simple. So lovely. You pour the cream in the food processor (or Ninja, if you have one). You blend. Blend and blend. At first, it turns into whipped cream. You know. Since you're whipping the cream and all... But keep blending. Just keep blending, just keep blending... This took maybe 2 minutes for me. Suddenly, the liquid inside starts looking less like liquid and more like solid. Go a little longer, and then stop. When you open it up, you'll see this solid substance (hint: it's butter!) and a white-ish liquid.
Pour that liquid out, but heavens, don't pour it down the drain. That liquid gold up there is buttermilk. Real buttermilk. I used it in pancakes the next day. They were delicious. You'll want to strain out the liquid, then return the butter to the food processor. Add a cup of water, and blend again for a few seconds. This time, strain the liquid off and you can dump it down the drain. Repeat until the liquid you drain off is clear.
I patted the butter dry with a paper towel, then added the bit of salt and worked it together with a spatula. Some more water came out at this point. Just keep pouring it off. Apparently the buttermilk won't keep as long as the butter (1-2 days for buttermilk, 5-7 days for butter when stored in fridge), and all of this rinsing makes the butter last longer. At this point, you can add in any extras you want. I worked in about 1-2 T honey, just for something extra.
And then, the best part: You get to use it!
Yummy and melty and ... well, it tasted just like regular butter. I didn't see any real added benefits, but then again, butter isn't really the show stopper when eaten on a crispy, flavorful waffle. I got about 8 oz. of butter out of 2 cups of cream. So it's probably only cheaper if cream is on sale. Either way, it's a really fun and quick experiment, and makes you feel like you could survive on the prairie, which is one of my favorite feelings!
Thanks for letting me ramble on about butter. Let me know if you make/have made this before. If you haven't, you totally should. It's SO FUN.