Thursday, September 10, 2009

The end product

It has been a busy night.  Three days ago, I noticed there was a quart of raw cream in the fridge that was getting a bit old.  I stirred about a third cup of yogurt with live cultures into the cream, then let it sit in a bowl on my granite counter top right over the dishwasher, which provides some heat to speed up the fermenting process.  The next day it had thickened nicely.  Then I refrigerated it until I had time to make the butter. 

Cultured cream gets REALLY thick.  I used a big soup ladle to ladle it into my food processor.  Then I turned it on and kept my ears peeled while doing other kitchen stuff.  When you do this all the time, you can hear when you have butter.  It can take a minute or five minutes or anything in between.  When I heard the "butter sound," I poured the contents of the processor bowl into a metal strainer, catching the butter in the strainer and the buttermilk in a two cup measure.  The buttermilk went into the fridge for buttermilk biscuits.  Then the butter went back into the processor with some ice water.  I processed it for about a minute to wash the butter, then strained it again and put the washed butter into a chilled bowl.  I used a wooden paddle to push out all of the water.  This is the boring part.  I also worked a little salt into it because it lasts a little longer with some salt, not that butter ever lasts very long around here.  So now some cream that was past making ice cream and definitely couldn't be used in coffee is fantastic cultured butter.  It is unbelievable good, very rich flavor, much better than sweet cream butter.   Talk about makeovers, this has got to win first prize!

Farming is not just milking the cows; it is also making good use of the end product.  And it isn't just growing tomatoes; it's making good things with them too.  Tonight I started making tomato sauce as soon as the butter was done.  I use a nifty tool that makes it very easy to prep the tomatoes - did 20 lbs. of tomatoes while I watched Jeopardy.  I cook it down to about a third.  I was left with six pints to can.  Next batch, I will pick 25 lbs. so that I have seven pints so the canner is full.  This is a just-in-time project.  I used my last pint of tomato sauce from last year's crop on Monday.

Today's farming took place mainly in the kitchen.  What better place?

Oh, and by the way, there are still 15 chickens.  :)

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