Making butter

As we’ve been studying settlers and the pioneer era of American history, I’ve had a hard time getting my kids to understand even the basic concept of living in place without shops. One student, without irony, suggested the pioneers should have just bought things online.

To give them a small taste (no pun intended) of pioneer life, I let them make butter earlier this week. If you’ve never made it, there’s really nothing to it: some cream and a container which seals tightly. You can add a pinch of salt if you like.

Korea has something called topping cream which is sold next to the whipping cream. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I got some of each. LOL Topping cream is meant to be whipped and used as cake frosting as is. It was sweeter than some frosting I’ve had here, in fact. So, I decided not to give them the option of adding a little salt. Each batch was half topping cream and half regular, so it didn’t end up any sweeter than honey butter, but I doubt adults would have eaten too much of it.

I teach kids, though, and they were all over it. After all the bread and crackers were gone, one girl ended up with a container to herself, just eating it straight. So, it was a successful activity in terms of taste. Overall, it was a mixed success. The day before the activity, I watched a boy their age on Youtube make butter with cream and a plastic container exactly like we used. He had butter in fifteen minutes. We had butter in an hour– way more time than I had originally budgeted. I ended up having the second group finish what the first had started, rather than make their own. On the other hand, the kids saw that making everything for yourself would get you to question what you really needed. And they got to eat sweet butter on bread and crackers in class. I imagine that was their real take away from the lesson. 🙂

Shake, shake, shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your butter. Shake your butter.

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