I have always been partial to butter. Not margarine mind you, but butter. Unsalted. When husbie and I began to change our diet a few years ago leaning more towards natural, organic, traditional foods, I was delighted to discover that this lovely stuff had so many health benefits.
Butter is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E.
These occur in the largest amounts when butter is made from grass fed cows and they serve as “activators” helping the body to utilize the minerals we ingest.
Butter also contains the Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.
In smaller amounts, but every little bit helps right?
Butter (again from grass fed cows) contains conjugated linoleic acid.
CLA has been known to have strong anti cancer properties.
The benefits however don’t come from the 1# off-brand boxes I was getting at the conventional grocery store. The key was to obtain butter made from the raw milk of grass fed cows. My challenge wasn’t in finding such a product ~ I was able to easily locate some with no trouble at all. My challenge was working it into the grocery budget. Fortunately for us, we live within easy access to a dairy that provides affordable raw milk and cream so I decided to learn how to make the butter myself. The results were far superior even to the top of the line brand at the fancy schmancy natural food store, and happily for us, at about half the price.
Homemade butter is easy to make, and takes very little time. You just need a food processor, about a quart of very heavy (preferably raw) cream, and about a half an hour.
Pour the cream into the bowl of your food processor, cover with the lid, turn it on, and let it go. You will notice that the cream will first thicken, then it will take on a coarse grainy texture.
The first time I made butter, I thought it was done at this point but you want to keep going. Shortly after it reaches this stage, the color will deepen to a beautiful yellow, the grains will begin to hold together and separate from the buttermilk.
Turn off the food processor. You will find the butter has formed a lump and is swimming in the buttermilk. Drain off the buttermilk, and transfer the butter to a bowl.
You can use the buttermilk for baking or what have you. Note however that this is not cultured buttermilk. That is an entirely different product. This won’t have the same depth of flavor and consistency but it will still work just fine in pancakes or biscuits.
With clean hands, gather the butter into a ball and gently squeeze the excess liquid out over the bowl. This will be a repeated process and will take a little bit of doing. I’ve heard that some like to rinse the butter with water, but I’ve not found that to be necessary.
Once the liquid has been squeezed from the butter, form it into a nice shaped ball and keep refrigerated in a covered container. Salt may be added for preservation but please, please don’t salt your butter. If you enjoy it as much as we do, it won’t be around for very long and preserving it for any length of time will be unnecessary.
2 quarts of heavy cream will yield approximately 2 cups of buttermilk and one pound of butter.