Bread... and butter are of venerable antiquity.
They taste of the morning of the world.
-Leigh Hunt, 1784-1859
I'm making homemade honey butter this morning. In fact, it may take me all day to type this, for as I peck at the keyboard with my right hand I'm making butter with my left.
You never know what you're going to get with me, do you?
It all started last week with an email. "Hello," said the lady who owns a Bed & Breakfast some 30 minutes east of town, "would you be available to house sit while we're away?" I couldn't believe my eyes. A renowned B&B ... with its wildflowers and gardens... all to myself? For the week? For free? "Yes, yes, yes!" I practically shouted into the phone when she called. "When can I come?"
So, you see, I'm headed off Monday for a "working vacation". I'm already dreaming of hoisting Agnes Grey atop that fluffy, quilt-covered bed on their summer porch and reading for hours beneath the lazy ceiling fan. It will be marvelous. I can scarcely wait.
I'm meeting with the inn owner briefly tomorrow to go over everything. Not wanting to show up empty handed, I began looking around Freeman House for something to take. Anything from the garden was out, since Miss Garden herself probably has dozens of whatever I could offer. Baked goods were out, too, since I burned through the ancient coils in my ancient oven and am having to await parts before I can use the oven again. (Sigh) So... what to make? I leaned on the refrigerator door, thinking, when I noticed a bit of must-use-soon cream hanging out. Voila! Homemade honey butter it is.
If you've never made butter before, you don't know what you're missing. If you've never eaten butter that you just made before, you really don't know what you're missing. It's the most simple thing in the world to make and requires only these few things: a jar, a spoon, some cream, some salt, and an arm workout. The possibilities are endless, too: you can make honey butters, herb butters, steak butters... use your imagination. (There's nothing better than a hot biscuit or a hot-off-the-grill steak with this stuff. Woo-wee!) Here's how I do it:
Method adapted from MaryJane Butters
1. Fill a clean pint (or quart) jar with a tight-fitting lid approximately 2/3 full with heavy whipping cream. Leave on the counter at room temperature for 8-12 hours or overnight.
2. Shake the jar - not too quickly- at a rate of about one shake per second.
As the cream becomes butter, you'll notice it bead up on the sides of the jar.
Eventually (as MaryJane says), you'll have a clump of yellow butter and
liquid buttermilk filling your jar.
3. Drain the buttermilk and plop the butter into a bowl.
Press butter with wooden spoon to squeeze out the rest of the buttermilk.
Repeat a few times.
4. Pour the buttermilk back into your jar and store in the refrigerator.
Use it for pancakes and biscuits.
5. Season your butter. Add salt, honey, herbs, steak seasoning... whatever you like.
Store, tightly covered in the refrigerator.
(Once it's cold, feel free to transfer to your freezer for long-term storage.)
This is a great project to tackle while watching TV. It's also fun for kids. Just pay attention while you shake. Don't, for instance, put down your jar to take a drink of coffee and then forget you're holding your coffee cup and give it an enormous shake. You'll be sorry, as I just was.
Ah... okay. The butter is truly wonderful. The wave of hot coffee... not so much. Good news is the butter's about done and ready to pack in a pretty dish to take to the B&B tomorrow. Yea!
Oh... by the way... for those crafter/quilters out there, you have to check out Heather Bailey's blog. Heather is a fabric designer and has some of the most charming projects and ideas. I'm planning to start this quilt while I'm happily tucked away in the B&B next week. Isn't it beautiful?!
Click on quilt to enlarge.
Okay, so there you have it. Butter, the B&B, and Heather Bailey. Just a few of the things that occupy my attention today...
...Well, that and my new coffee-dyed sleeve.