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Better With Butter (+Giveaway!!!)

I used to be an incredibly frugal butter-spreader. In other words, sure, I’d put butter on my toast or my baked potato, but only in the tiniest, slightest, skimpiest amount imaginable. Once I discovered, though, that whole, full, nutritious, all-natural animal fats made me feel and look better, I started slathering it on, thickly.

Now I use butter in almost everything I bake, spread it liberally on biscuits, and put a nice amount into a bowl of hot peas. I also often make my own butter. It’s creamy, whipped goodness is amazing, and incredibly easy to “whip up.” Here’s how: 

Shake, Rattle, & Roll
(Reprinted with permission from my book Homemade Living: Home Dairy © 2011 by Ashley English, Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.) :
Yield: Approximately 1 cup. 
You will need:
-1 quart-sized jar with lid
-1 pint heavy cream
-1 glass marble
-Cutting board
– ¼ tsp. salt, optional

To Prepare:
1. Allow cream to come to room temperature, or right around 72-74° F. To do this, simply take the cream out of the refrigerator, set it on the counter, put a dairy thermometer into it, and check on it every 30 minutes or so until the temperature rises. This allows the cream to ripen slightly, raising its acidity, and thereby becoming easier to whip and full of flavor.
2. Place cream and marble inside of your jar, secure the lid, and begin shaking vigorously.
3. Continue shaking, about once per second, until the cream begins to thicken. You’ll hear it, as it changes from a constant sloshing sound to a heavier thud. This process will take anywhere between 5-30 minutes, depending on the intensity and frequency of the shaking.
4. Using a spatula, remove the butter from the jar, draining off the buttermilk (save that for biscuits or cornbread-making!).
5. Take the marble out, place the butter in a medium-sized bowl, and run cold water over it. Empty the water out, and repeat several times until the water is clear in the bowl. Strain off any remaining water.
6. If using salt, stir it in with a metal spoon. Otherwise, place the butter on a cutting board.
7. Using either clean hands or a wooden spoon, begin pressing the butter repeatedly, allowing any liquid inside of it to drain off. Continue pressing until you no longer see liquid coming from your butter.
8. Depending on whether you intend to use your butter now or in the future, you can store at room temperature in a butter crock, or chilled or frozen in wax or parchment paper, or a covered container in the refrigerator or the freezer. 

In recognition of this most delicious of condiments, I’m doing a giveaway today of a butter bell, also known as a butter crock. Pictured above, butter bells have been in use for ages, keeping butter fresh without refrigeration. Butter is placed in the recessed vessel on top, the bottom basin is filled about 2/3rds of the way with cold water, and then the butter-holding vessel is placed butter-side down. You’ll need to refresh the water daily to keep the butter from spoiling.    

With the American Thanksgiving holiday on its way next week, I thought a butter bell would be a nifty addition to the bountiful spreads that will be appearing on tables coast to coast. If you’ve never made butter before, give it a go. I think you’ll be amazed at just how easy and delicious it is. And all of your friends and family will be beyond thankful, come Thanksgiving, for your butter-making chops.     

To enter, simply leave a comment saying what you think is made better with butter. Corn on the cob? Heavens, yes. Cream cheese frosting? Need you ask? Mashed potatoes? Is the Pope Catholic? You get the picture. Because I’d like to get this out to the winner’s table by Thanksgiving day, I’ll only be running the giveaway through this Thursday, the 17th, midnight EST. I’ll announce the winner on Friday morning, get their mailing info., and high-tail it to the post office to get it out with that day’s mail.     

And although my neighbors to the north have already had their own Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to open this small measure giveaway to Canadians. Let’s hear your butter love, too!    

Please do leave a means of contacting you in your comment, via either a link back to your own blog or website, or with your email information. Otherwise, I won’t have any means of reaching you, should you be the winner. 

UPDATE: Congratulations to Tina J, lucky #83! Thank you so much to all who entered! Clearly, there’s some big butter lovin’ going on up in here!!! 

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