How to Make Butter with Nothing but Cream and a Jar

Just the other day as I was eating breakfast I was thinking about how I could have fresh butter in a post-collapse situation (yes I really do have strange thoughts like these). This got me looking into how butter was made and surprisingly it looked pretty easy. So yesterday I went to the task to try to make some on my own without the use of electricity.

What You’ll Need (no-electricity required version)

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  • 1 Pint of Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream
  • A glass jar

How to Make Butter

  1. how_to_make_butter_7
    Turning heavy cream into butter is as simple as pouring the cream into the glass container, tightening the lid, and shaking. Here’s the transformation the cream goes through (I timed it for reference):
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    After shaking for about 7 min. The cream turned into whipped cream. At this point you could add a bit of sugar and have a great addition for dessert. But if you want butter you need to continue on with the shaking process.
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    At about the 10 min mark (3 min after the whipped cream was formed) of continuous shaking the whipped cream magically begins to separate into butter and buttermilk.
  2. how_to_make_butter_4At this point you’ll want to pour off the buttermilk into a separate container (which you can drink right there or save for a future recipe).
  3. how_to_make_butter_2Now pour some water into the jar containing the butter — covering the butter completely. Swish around the butter and water to wash the remainder of the buttermilk off the surface of the butter and drain.
  4. After the butter is washed, place it in another container (like a small bowl) and mix the butter around with a fork or knife, releasing any trapped buttermilk and pour it out
  5. how_to_make_butter_3Add salt to taste and viola! you got fresh, creamy, tasty butter.
  6. One pint of whipping cream made almost exactly 1 cup of butter which is equivalent to 2 sticks.

    As a test, I decided to see how long it took to make butter with a hand-held electric mixer and was pretty surprised at the results (again I timed it). Using the mixer, I was able to quickly go from heavy cream to whipped cream in about 1 minute. However it took about 14 more minutes (for a total of 15 min) of continuous mixing to turn the whipped cream into butter.

    I was shocked. I thought using a mixer would speed up the process significantly but surprisingly it took longer than simply shaking it in a jar!

    Obtaining Cream Post-Collapse

    Now for the other major problem. Where do you get the cream if the grid goes down (and with it the supermarkets)? Well, heavy cream is nothing more than the cream that floats to the top of milk from a freshly milked cow. This heavy cream is skimmed off the top and processed in the manner above. If you live close to a organic dairy farm like I do, then you could purchase milk from them. Better yet, if you have the space for your own dairy cow that would be ideal, however few of us have that available to us.

    pygmy_goatThe other option that does not require much space is goats (or for even less space try a pygmy goat :)). Goats give around 3 quarts of milk a day and are small enough to fit in a 1/4 acre lot. Goat milk doesn’t separate into cream and milk as easily as cow’s milk does but making butter is still possible. Check out this article in Mother Earth News on how to make butter from goats’ milk without a separator.

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