I have always been on the hunt for ways to make learning fun and natural for my kids.
Ways to make learning happen on the fly and in meaningful ways.
We’ll research a little about frogs and toads when we find one in our back yard. We’ll play around with leftover candy canes at the end of the holiday season. We’ll run a red apple taste test to see which type of red apple is our favorite. We’ll get dirty in the backyard garden each summer.
This week, though, we ran into a situation where we needed to get a little science happy because, well. . . we needed butter.
But we didn’t have any.
And we were having corn on the cob.
And everyone knows that corn on the cob–especially when it’s grilled–needs butter.
We had a pint of heavy cream in the fridge, so Cora and I got to work, shake-shake-shaking ourselves a little nutty in the name of homemade butter-making.
It was so fun. And so totally amazing. Really. I’d never done it before.
So yes, we made homemade butter, and it was crazy-cool and super-simple, and I think everyone should try it with their kids.
Thanks to our friends at Bayer for inviting me to share a little of our at-home science fun with everyone.
Here’s the skinny. . .
How to Make Homemade Butter (Crazy-Cool, Simple Science at Home)
Seriously, over the years, I’ve seen ‘how to make homemade butter’ all over the place. Each fall, I see the posts around Thanksgiving time, as a fun activity for kids while the turkey’s cooking.
I’ve thought, on multiple occasions, that I’ve wanted to try it with my kids, but the time was never right.
Tonight, rather than ask my husband to pick up some butter at the store on his way home from work, I asked Cora to give me a hand.
Cora was totally game.
You mean we’re going to make butter here? Like right now? she asked.
Yep, I told her. Everything we need to make butter is right here on the counter. We’re going to use the heavy cream and shake it so much that it begins to separate. It’ll break into two parts: buttermilk and butter. You can drink the buttermilk, and then we need to kind of press out the rest of the butter, and that’s it. At least I think that’s it. I’ve never tried it, but I’m excited to give it a go because we need the butter for our corn!
Cora seemed a bit curious. Oh, okay. Well, let’s see if we can even do it, she said. I hope it works.
As part of our Smart Summer Challenge, I included ‘Make Homemade Butter’ as an extra weekend activity, so I had a printable recipe I grabbed for Cora and me.
You can grab the printable below:
Here’s what you need to make homemade butter:
- 1 pint of heavy cream
- a pinch of sea salt
- 24 oz Mason jar or something similar that you can seal tightly (or a blender)
- ice water
Here’s how to make homemade butter:
1. Add the heavy cream to the mason jar.
2. Add a pinch of sea salt.
3. Shake, shake, shake, SHAKE!
- Shake until the heavy cream turns to whipped cream, and then keep on shaking.
- Next you’ll see butter beginning to solidify. Keep shaking.
- As the butter hardens, pour off the liquid (or drink it!). This is buttermilk.
4. Pour ice water over the solidified butter, and press a spatula over it to squeeze out the remaining buttermilk.
5. Add salt and press through the butter.
- Pour ice water over the butter and continue to press out the buttermilk. You want to remove it all so that the butter doesn’t go sour after a few days due to the moisture inside.
6. Spread on bread or crackers and enjoy!
We absolutely loved our homemade butter.
It was creamy, smooth, and perfect.
It was an excellent addition to our grilled corn on the cob, and the kids even loved it on bread.
Was this an in-depth, totally boring science lesson at home? No way.
I didn’t even go into the details with Cora–or Maddy or Owen at dinner–about how it all happened. All the kids know is that heavy whipping cream is a pretty versatile kitchen staple. They know that occasionally I’ll whip it with some powdered sugar and vanilla to make sweet whipped cream for our ice-cream sundaes or other desserts.
They know that each morning I put a bit of heavy cream in my coffee.
They know that heavy cream thickens sauces and makes our pasta dishes more delicious.
And now they know that if it’s shaken, heavy cream will separate into buttermilk and butter. How cool is that?
Check out a quick video of our homemade butter making experience:
Please tell me: What do you do to make science fun at home? I’d love to know!
Leave a comment below!
fyi: This post was written as part of a partnership with Bayer and Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) initiative to encourage summer science fun. As always, all opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.
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