Monday, June 28, 2010

Homeschool Science: Mason Jar Butter (and Whipped Cream!)

How one thing leads to another...
We're going to Niagara Falls in a couple of weeks, did I tell you? I am SOOOPER excited. Our house is chock-full of books and media products and activities and experiments and art projects having to do with the humongous road trip (such preparation has taken precedence over other mundane necessities as finding a cat sitter, a front garden waterer, and a community garden waterer, none of which we have, yet, yikes!), including one CD reader entitled Manny's Cows: The Niagara Falls Tale, which the girls listen to over and over and over again.

In the story, the cows discover how to make butter, and the book includes a recipe for Mason jar butter. Willow says, "I want to make Mason jar butter." And so we do.

You will need:
  • clean Mason jar with tight-fitting lid
  • heavy whipping cream
1. Fill the Mason jar about 3/4-ish full of cream.
2. Shake the crap out of it until it turns to butter with a little buttermilk on the side:
This project was actually a perfect complement to the oil vs. water science experiment that Sydney initiated the other week, because it's another example of the way that oil (or butterfat) wants to separate. If you unscrew the lid fairly often, you can watch the transition from milk to butter in several discrete steps. The girls were only interested in one of these steps:
Whipped cream! The air that gets shaken into the mixture as a preface to its separation is yummy, little scientists discovered, on chocolate chip cookies, ginger muffins, and, it turns out, straight from the spoon.

I've read that Mason jar butter requires perhaps 10-15 minutes of straight shaking. I wouldn't know, as we spent a good hour on this project. I dutifully shook when it was my turn, but I must report that the larger child merely gave the jar a desultory shake or two while reading comic books when it was her turn, and the smaller child refused to shake at all, merely letting the Mason jar keep her company as she watercolor painted on the floor when it was her turn.

The fate of the butter rested in my hands, then, but I'm happy to tell you...
...that it tasted simply delicious with my vegan blueberry/ginger spelt muffins.


Alberta Rose said...

Hi! I came across this blog via a Dogpile search for Mason Jar butter. Your recipe caught my eye because it is not only Vegan but also made with spelt. Could you please give it to me? Thanks! I'm also a home school parent and a fellow Blogspot blogger.

julie said...

I'm not absolutely 100% certain because it was a library book and so I don't have it in front of me right now, but I'm 98% certain that the blueberry spelt muffins were a recipe from Vegan Brunch. It's one of the library books that I check out pretty often and then cook from, but not one of the ones that I cook from so often that I save up my swagbucks to buy it from Amazon. The muffins are excellent, though, and so are the scrambles also in that book.