Butter for the bebe

Butter is the new broccoli. Haven’t you heard?

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With my love of butter Bea’s need for healthy fats at the forefront of our minds, we went on a little family errand to Appleton Farms one recent Saturday. Appleton has a fantastic dairy store with dairy products from their own cows, and we used to go there all the time for their cheese, meat, and butter while I was pregnant.

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(with the piggies at Erik’s farm)

More recently, we’ve been using Kate’s Homemade Butter because it is delicious and we can get it from the grocery store down the street. But I don’t know Kate or her cows. I can visit the Appleton cows any time I want, so I figured we might as well go back to getting their butter.

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(Photo Source: Trustees of Reservations)

However, we walked into the store and found out that Appleton had stopped making butter!!! Just before I started to cry, one of the Appleton staff members let me know that I could simply use their heavy cream to make butter. Do I need special equipment? No!! She broke down the process for me: Blend heavy cream in food processor until it turns into butter. Ooooooook, if you say so …

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We got six pints of heavy cream. Actually, three of them were expired pints that she found in the back and gave to us for free because she recognized Erik as a fellow farmer.

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The next day, I set up my butter station. I was going to start with the cream in the food processor right off the bat, but I realized it would probably fly everywhere because it was liquid and my food processor is teeny. Reason #76894 why we need a Vitamix!

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Anyway, I started with the Magic Bullet because it is intended for liquids. I was overzealous at first and poured three pints of cream into the Bullet so that the contents were at least twice the level of the “max fill” line. Obviously, cream went everywhere when I turned on the blender. So, I worked in batches until I had converted all the heavy cream into whipped cream.

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Once the cream was whipped cream and more solid, I transferred it into the food processor and whirred away, stopping every 30 seconds or so to scrape down the edges. After a few minutes, I could tell the cream had reached the butter stage because it started to look like butter: yellow and clumpy.

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In order to separate the butter from the buttermilk, I put a strainer in a pot and lined the strainer with a dishcloth. I dumped the butter into the strainer and put the whole rig into the fridge.

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When I checked later in the afternoon, the pot was full of liquid (buttermilk!) and the strainer was full of solid (butter!).

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I lifted the butter out by the towel and gave the towel an extra squeeze to get all the liquid out. The result was a chicken-shaped hunk of beautiful butter!

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I smushed the butter into a glass container, and we’ve been enjoying it since.

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Bea was banging on her tray to join in the fun, so I gave her some little chunks of plain butter to keep her busy while I made my toast. So relieved she did not throw all my hard work onto the floor next to her organic broccoli!

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The butter definitely met our approval!

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Bea and I enjoyed a super tasty snack of butter and peanut butter on sourdough. Well, I didn’t share any of my bread with Bea, but I plopped many dollops of butter/pb onto her tray. We’ve been giving her peanut butter ever since hearing this NPR story about preventing peanut allergies, and she LOVES it.

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The buttermilk found a new home as part of some ginger-buttermilk cookies with salted buttermilk glaze. I used this recipe for inspiration, but I definitely made about a million changes to suit what I had available.

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They were experimental but yummy, and I had no problem eating about seven of them. I also froze another cup or so of buttermilk in ice cube trays for future use without the time pressure.

This project definitely did not save time and probably did not save money, but it did give me local butter from friendly neighborhood cows to share with my baby. I’m not sure we’ll always make our butter this way, but it was a satisfying process and I can taste the difference. We still have two more pints of cream in the fridge waiting to get churned. Must go arrange my appliances!

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