When we were young, we used to go volunteer at a pioneer park where we would dress-up like the pioneers and being young, play pioneer games and make pioneer crafts. Since I live in Utah and we celebrate the day the pioneers came to our valley in 1847, every July 24th, it is time for some of those Pioneer crafts to be had in our family.
One of the fun memories that I have of Pioneer “crafts” is making butter. It is the simplest recipe, but a very kid friendly thing to do. I wanted my kids to realize that those pioneer kids worked as they played, and help them appreciate that we can now just go to the store and pick up some butter that takes quite a while to shake and make.
To make butter you will need some cream, salt (or you can make it unsalted) and a jar to make it in. Simply place cream in a Mason jar, we put two cups into the jar, and get a very energetic child, or children, to start shaking it. We used to use baby jars and each of us got our own little jar to shake. We have also don’t this in the past with plastic containers, but inevitably a little bit of the buttermilk starts to leak out and we have to switch over to a tighter closed container. I wanted to give everyone a chance to take a little break, so we used a large, wide mouth, Mason jar, and we shook….
You know you are done when your arms are about to fall off, and the butter has gone from a cream to a more watery liquid (the buttermilk)with clumps of the yellow butter sticking together. You can continue to shake until is just like a spreadable butter. At this point you can add a teaspoon of salt and mix it in.
The best way to sample and see if the butter is complete is to spread it on some homemade bread, fresh out of the oven. My kids were greatly rewarded for all their hard work. They had a taste test with store bought and homemade…homemade won! They made many comments about how grateful they were to the pioneers for all the hard things they used to have to do. It was fun and yummy!