Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Butter (Buttah)

Every summer, I spend a good chunk of my time in Northern Minnesota, at a lake cabin that my brother and I own together. It is a magical place my Dad bought when he was 35 years old, and when he married my Mom they built a garage that also transformed into our living quarters for the summer. It was rustic and rough, but it was home and it was amazing. Thirteen years ago they decided to build an actual cabin on the property. It still isn’t finished, but it is coming together and I absolutely love staying there with the kids. Things move slower in the North woods of Minnesota. The air is fresher, the sights spectacular, and I always feel stress free and, well, just FREE when I’m there.

Since being a little girl we have gone to a local farm to get raw milk while we stayed there. Going to town was a big deal, because it was 45 minutes away. It was a big trip, and we would pack our glass gallon jugs in coolers and plan our whole day around it. Going to the farm is an experience in itself. I milked a cow there for the first time. They always have little kittens running around that people drop off there in need of care. You help yourself to the raw milk and leave your payment in a copper tin. It is so….basic. So simple. So pure and the milk is so nutritious and it makes me feel good to support that practice. I’m not a big fan of milk myself, but I like milk products. Especially BUTTER.

Oh do I loooove butter. My last meal will be French bread slathered with butter. It tastes good on and in anything. Also, as long as you aren’t eating a stick of the stuff a day, it is good for you. Every body needs saturated fats, and butter is a fine way to get it. It is very natural unlike some of the other “spreads” that are out there. Raw butter is even better.

So here is how I have made it since I was 8 years old (I’m estimating, Ma). I simply let the milk set for at least a day, so all the cream can settle to the top. Then I skim it off, and put it in a mason jar. Then I let it come to room temperature. Then, I shake it. I shake it, and shake it, and shake it.  Now I let my toddler help. You have to keep shaking until you think your arm is going to fall off. Then you may notice the butter starting to form in the jar.

Shake it baby!

The butter starting to separate

Now there is the butter

You want to keep shaking until you have a good clump of butter in your jar. Then it is probably done. The rest of the milk is REAL buttermilk. The buttermilk you buy in the store….not buttermilk. This is buttermilk. And the little bit of solids is the butter.

Then you have to rinse it. It seems weird, but you put it in a bowl and pour water over it and “wash” it until the water runs clear. You keep draining and adding more water until this is accomplished. Then you add salt (please don’t try to make unsalted butter. Salt brings out all the lovely flavor of the butter, and I would never, ever skip this step).

 Then it is done! You don’t get a lot. You get very little. But it is so very good and worth it. You savor it because you made it yourself.

There really isn't a recipe for this. You just need fresh, raw cream, a mason jar, and some salt. THen follow the instructions above!


  1. This post makes me so happy. I think it my favorite post of yours yet!!

    1. Well, of course... It has Minnesota in it! :)

  2. We get raw milk here in Champaign from an Amish farmer (who raises his cows on pasture) in Arcola, IL. If you want more information, let me know! Also, my husband's family just sold their childhood cabin near Walker, MN. Is your cabin near there? How do you manage the car ride with the little ones?

    1. That is FANTASTIC to know!! I have done many searches and have even been to Arcola but haven't heard of that farm. We were getting raw goat's milk but stopped because we just weren't using it really. I'd love more information!

      It looks like Walker is somewhat close - out cabin is just North of Orr, MN, near International Falls. We are very close to the boundary waters. It is just beautiful. I was blessed with good car riders. Or maybe they are just used to it because we travel everywhere to see family and go there 2-3 times a year. We try to travel during naps and after bedtime, and take lots of breaks. I also like having some cheap "new" books or toys to present when we get desperate!