Back To Basics: Making And Canning Homemade Butter
Butter: you use it to make baked potatoes delicious. You smear it on your biscuits and you make finger-licking sauces with it. But what on Earth is going to happen when SHTF and you no longer have access to a grocery store that provides you with it?
Nothing, if you’re a good prepper, because you’re going to know how to make your own. Today we’re going to teach you how to make butter at home. We’ll also touch on something that most people don’t know about: canning butter. Keep reading!
The Science of Butter
It’s always good to know how things work. Butter is formed from the milk fats in the milk. You use cream to make butter, and cream is made up of fat particles suspended in water. When you agitate it by shaking it, it turns to an emulsion of water particles suspended in fat.
Before you make butter, you have to let the cream ripen. You do that by letting it set at room temperature for several hours until it begins to sour. At that point, the fat crystallizes and a membrane forms around the fat molecules and further separates it from the water.When you agitate it by shaking it or beating it with a churn (called shearing), the fat globules merge and form balls of butter. As you continue to shake it, the fat continues to separate from the water and proteins left in the liquid and forms bigger blobs of butter, and eventually all the butter is one big clump and the liquid left is buttermilk, which is great to cook with or even drink, though it’s definitely an acquired taste!
Start with Good Cream
The best milk to use for making butter comes from cows that yield milk with a high cream content. These are commonly referred to as milk cows (versus beef cattle).Milk breeds include the Guernsey, Jersey, Holstein and Brown Swiss. Of course, all cows make milk but beef cattle breeds offer a lower yield with much less cream.
A good milk cow will yield several gallons per day and the cream separates easily and naturally without any special equipment. Though goats are popular animals for prepping, their milk isn’t ideal for making butter because the cream doesn’t separate easily without the use of an expensive separator
It also has a different flavor than butter made from cow’s milk. After you milk the cow, make sure to strain your milk to remove any impurities that may have fallen into the milk bucket, then put it in a large jar in the fridge. The cream will separate out within just a few hours.
Use a spoon or a measuring cup to skim the cream off the top of the milk. If you skim off all the cream, you’ll be lift with skim milk. If you leave a bit, you’ll have the equivalent of 1% or 2% milk, just FYI.