In the winter the cream was not yellow as it was in summer, and butter churned from it was white and not so pretty. Ma liked everything on her table to be pretty, so in the wintertime she colored the butter.After she had put the cream in the tall crockery churn and set it near the stove to warm, she washed and scraped a long orange-colored carrot. Then she grated it on the bottom of the old leaky tin pan that Pa had punched full of nail-holes for her.She put this [carrot] in a little pan of milk on the stove and when the milk was hot she poured milk and carrot into a cloth bag. Then she squeezed the bright yellow milk into the churn, where it colored all the cream. Now the butter would be yellow.~excerpt from Little House in the Big Woods
We've been reading through Little House in the Big Woods together as a family over the last several evenings, and when we read about coloring the butter, of course the kids wanted to try! We've made butter several times in the past, but we always just let it be whatever light yellow color it turned out to be. This time, we grated our carrot.
We warmed it and some whole milk until it bubbled gently for a few minutes.
Then we strained the carrot bits out of the milk until we had orange milk. At this point, the kids and I were all wondering how orange milk was going to make yellow butter. (I was already prepared to have orang-y butter and explain how the carrots were likely not the same heritage variety that Laura and Mary ate.)
But we poured the milk and our cream into a quart jar.
And we began the shaking.
Look at all the effort in that shaking!
Finally, the butter began separating from the buttermilk (which we saved for coffeecake in the morning).
And we ended up with yellow butter! What an awesome experience to make butter the way that Laura and Mary made it with Ma, less the tin pan, woodstove, and wooden butter churn, of course.
We also made some delicious Pumpkin Yeast Rolls to enjoy with our fresh yellow butter.