“Laura liked the churning and the baking days best of all the week.”
Little House in the Big Woods


This was the highlight of last week!  We are actually reading On the Banks of Plum Creek, but I went back to Little House in the Big Woods and read about their butter-making experiences.  Then Emma and I made butter ourselves!  Of course the way we did it was much different than ma’s method, but it still gave us an idea of what it was like for them.  And it was a fun science experiment, watching the cream turn into butter over time… with some help from us, of course.


This is soooo easy.  You need a jar or container with a lid, heavy whipping cream, and a pinch of salt.  That’s it.  Pour the whipping cream into the containers, screw on the lid, and prepare to shake it.  A lot.


A tip.  Don’t put too much cream into the jar.  I learned this the hard way!  It gets all frothy and needs plenty of room to agitate.  But this is really sooo worth doing, it’s a fascinating process and the butter tasted amazing!


When you’re done, you’ll have butter and buttermilk.  Strain the contents of the jar through a paper towel over a bowl and you get this:


You can knead the butter if you make a large amount and want it to last (or not if its a small amount).  We had buttermilk pancakes for dinner that night and they were delicious!

If you need a visual, there’s a great video demonstrating how to make butter in a jar here.


Then we had to watch one of my favorite episodes of I Love Lucy, Pioneer Women, when the girls make a bet with their husbands that they can live like the women in the 1900’s.  Lucy bakes bread from scratch and Ethel churns her own butter – it is hilarious!

Here’s a fun fact:  Did you know that Laura’s ma colored her butter yellow using grated carrot, and that she pressed the finished butter into pretty molds?  I love that about her – she made things special for her family.  :)

mary churning butter

You can read all about that in the first chapter of Little House in the Big Woods which is free to read online here!


2 Responses to How We Made Butter (Kinda) Like Laura Ingalls Did!

  • That looks fun! It think it is so satisfying for the kids when they learn how something is actually made! It’s amazing all the things that the kids and parents did in those Little House books on a daily basis and considered it part of their normal lives! I bet they never thought they would be role models for a generation like ours. Oh.. and I love how her tongue is sticking out while she’s shaking the jar… that’s when you know she’s serious and working hard! ; )

  • I will have to try this with my kids!

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