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  (Portage, Michigan)
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How to Make Homemade Butter

wpid CAM03139 1024x759 How to Make Homemade Butter

When we first learned about the benefits of raw milk (and the harm of pasteurized milk from non-A2 cows) we decided it was worth switching to healthier dairy products. Buying a herd share was a no-brainer first step. Our herd share enables us to obtain raw milk from the cow we lease and yogurt and cheese made from her milk. We’re not big milk drinkers so keeping our consumption (both for straight drinking and baking) to 1 gallon a week works fine for us. Unfortunately we’re not able to purchase pre-made butter at the same time.

That’s too bad because though we don’t drink much milk, we do use a lot of butter. A lot. I seriously considered purchasing a second herd share just to have a enough cream for butter making. Unfortunately that’s not in the budget at this time. So instead, I’ve been making a habit of skimming the cream off our weekly gallon of milk and freezing it. I skimmed the milk by pouring it out of a gallon milk jug and into a gallon container with a wide mouth and lid. After a day or so the cream rises to the top and easy to scoop off. (You can see the cream line in the picture below).

wpid PicsArt 1395688899006 1024x759 How to Make Homemade Butter

After four weeks of skimming I ended up with about 7 cups of cream. These jars look very full, and they are, because of course the cream expands as it freezes. I want to be sure to say that I only filled them about ¾ full before placing them in the freezer. Filling them to the top would cause them to burst.

wpid CYMERA 20140324 135231 How to Make Homemade Butter

After collecting to jars’ worth of cream, I decided it was time for my maiden voyage into butter-making.

First I put the frozen jars into the fridge (on the bottom shelf because it is the warmest place in my refrigerator). I couldn’t tell you exactly how long it took the cream to thaw, but it was somewhere between one-and-a-half and two days.  With thawed cream on hand, I was ready to begin.

How to Make Butter from Scratch

These are the tools and ingredients I used:

  • 3.5 cups of cream (approximate)
  • A blender or food processor
  • 1 cup of ice water
  • A strainer
  • A medium to large sized bowl
  • A spatula
  • Paper towel or a cheesecloth
  • Wax or parchment paper
  • Bakers twine
  • Salt (optional)
For instructions and pictures, please visit our website by clicking here.
 
 

Carrot Butter Recipe

carrot butter recipe

Earlier this winter I made crock-pot apple butter. We’ve used it on toast and to sweeten our plain yogurt. Our foster-daughter seems to especially like it this way (in yogurt). Since she’s a bit of a picky eater when it comes to vegetables, I’ve had to find some creative ways to sneak them into her food. One day while slipping some pureed carrots into her bowl of apple-butter-and-yogurt I had an epiphany moment: What if I made vegetable butter?

I considered several veggies: Turnips, sweet potatoes, parsnips. At the end of the day I decided to start by experimenting with carrots. The result is good. The recipe below calls for apple juice or cider at two different stages of the process. I personally used apple cider vinegar during the second stage. Because of this, the carrot butter turned out a wee-bit tart (only a wee-bit!). I still like it – and I think it’s heavenly in yogurt – but I would  probably enjoy it more with bread and butter if I had used juice instead of vinegar.

At any rate, here is the recipe for carrot butter. Even as I type this I’m working on a crock-pot version of parsnip butter (or rather, the crock pot is working on it!). I can’t wait to share the results with you soon!

carrot butter recipe

carrot butter recipe

carrot butter recipe

carrot butter recipe

Click here for the recipe and more photos!
 
 

Crock Pot Apple Butter

red delicious apples

Last month our partner in Arcadia Growers Group gifted us with some fresh, pesticide-free produce. One of the items was a half bushel of red delicious apples. Per their name, they are delicious! But… they’re not very pretty. Pesticide-free means I choose to trade a perfect-looking apple for a perfectly edible apple that might look a little less than appetizing. (They look 10 times better in this photo than in real life!) They polish up decently but with a few soft spots here and there they really needed to be peeled before eating.

I’m not complaining at all – they were worth the 60 seconds needed to peel! But, if I’m being honest, apples are usually a grab-and-go snack at our house so even just the 60 seconds of peeling was enough to keep us from eating them as quickly as we normally would. Besides that, there were so many that I knew I’d need to process some of them before the entire batch went to waste. The problem is, red delicious apples aren’t exactly known for their cooking and baking qualities. Fresh eating? Yes. Baking and cooking? Not so much.

I asked our readers on Facebook what they thought I should do with our apple gift. The best suggestions were making apple chips and making apple butter. Honestly, I wanted to try both (and certainly had enough apples for that) but with the Thanksgiving holiday and simple busyness abounding in our lives lately, the apples sat a smidge too long. They started to get a smidge soft. And making apple chips started to sound a smidge unrealistic.

But… soft apples are right at home in apple butter.

canning apple butter

 

I’ve never made apple butter before. After looking up several recipes, using the crock pot seemed to be the most fool-proof way to go. I found lots of recipes online, many of them with essentially the same ingredients but with slightly different amounts and cooking times. I used all of those recipes as a guide to make my own.

The process takes about 12 hours, mostly hands-free. I realize not everyone has as flexible a schedule as I do. This might be a great Saturday project. Otherwise, you could cut and gather the ingredients the night before, start the process in the morning (7:30 AM) reduce the heat on your way out the door (8:30 AM) and be home in time to add the vanilla bean (5:30 PM). After dinner you’ll be ready to puree and process your apple butter (7:30 PM). The jars will be cool and ready to enjoy for breakfast the next morning!

canning apple butter

canning apple butter

Crock Pot Apple Butter Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 lbs (8-10) Apples [Note: I ended up using 12]
  • 3/4 Cup Granulatd Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Cider or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Vanilla bean (or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Peel and core the apples. Cut them into small pieces.
  2. Add everything but the vanilla bean to the crock pot. Stir.
  3. Cook on high for 1 hour.
  4. Stir the mixture again. When replacing the lid, move it partially so that it remains slightly open. Cook on low for 9 additional hours.
  5. Slice the vanilla bean down the middle with sharp edge of a knife. Then run the flat edge of the knife down the length of the bean to push out the inside. After 10 hours of cooking, add the vanilla bean and simmer mixture on low for another 2 hours (12 hours total).
  6. Remove the vanilla bean. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. (You could also use a blender/food processor and puree the mixture in batches. Be careful not to slosh hot apple butter onto yourself!)
  7. Ladle hot mixture into sterilized jars. Leave a ¼ inch of headspace. Use a butter knife to press along the inside edges of the jars in order to remove air bubbles. Securely add sterilized lids and bands.
  8. Process jars for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. Remove jars and set them on a towel or wire rack to cool. Allow jars to cool completely before handling. (If you don’t want to can your apple butter, you can store the jars in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. Freezer-appropriate containers of apple butter can remain in the freezer for two months.)

Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally.   

 
 
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