This week we had a bunch of fun making (and tasting) butter in the classroom. I did this at home with my boys a few summers ago, but had never done it at school until now. It kind of fits with what we have been learning about life in Pilgrim times, so I thought November would be a great time to try this. If you have never made your own butter it is SUPER simple.
You need a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid (I used an old mayonnaise container---it was plastic but glass would work well too) and a small carton of whipping cream. You can find this right in the milk section at the grocery store. Pour the whipping cream into the container and shake it up until butter forms. This takes about 10+ minutes. I will describe it a little more below.
I explained to the children how people long ago did this using a churn. I didn't have a real churn to show them, but now that I am typing this I realize I should have Googled a photo to show them. I'll have to do that anyway. It will still be educational after the fact. Anywho.....I poured the cream into the jar and we talked about how it looks just like milk. Then I screwed the lid on tightly and taught them the following little "butter song" while I demonstrated shaking the jar vigorously. (I don't have a source for this song, but I'm sure I found it on the internet somewhere.)
Shake it up,
Shake it down,
Shake it, shake it all around.
Shake it high,
Shake it low,
Shake it, shake it to and fro.
Shake it over,
Shake it under,
Pretty soon we will have butter!
We passed the jar around the line, giving each child a turn to shake. They could each decide whether we would sing to them or count for them (we counted to 20). The photo below shows some shaking action.
After all the children had a turn I opened the jar so we could see what was happening. At that point, the jar didn't sound "sloshy" anymore when shaken. That's because we had transformed the whipping cream into whipped cream. The photo below shows what it looked like at this point. If you've never done this before it's important to know that you will reach a stage where it doesn't slosh around and you'll think it's not working.........
............but if you carry on and continue to shake it for a bit longer, you'll notice that you can start to see through some spots on the jar again and it starts to sound sloshy again. Shake a bit longer until most of the cream has come off the sides. When you open the jar again, you'll see a lump of butter along with the remaining liquid. Now your butter is done! It will look like what you see below.
Pour off the liquid and spoon the butter into a bowl. (I wish this photo had turned out better.) Oh.......I forgot to say that when you start the whole process with pouring the whipping cream into the jar you can add a dash of salt if you want. We didn't do this and it still tasted delicious. At snack time we tasted the butter spread on some crackers. Nearly every child who tried the crackers and butter exclaimed over and over how yummy it tasted. Maybe we should make butter every week!!!