Thursday, April 30, 2009

Of Milk and More

This will be a follow up post from yesterday. After reading "Bethrusso's" comment my mind went back over all the things we used to do with our milk. And it made me wish there was some way I could have my own little Jersey cow.

Since two gallons of milk a day was way more than we could use for just drinking and cereals we had many other things we did with it too. After the milk had been in the refrigerator overnight Mom would carefully skim the cream off the top the next morning and save it and then once a week we would pour several quarts of cream into our butter churn.
John and I would take turns cranking the handle, the paddles made a slap-slap noise as they hit the cream. After what seemed like a long time it would change it's sound to that of a soft slap of whipped cream, that was always a welcome sound that was soon followed with a loud slappity thump as balls of butter formed and hit the paddles.
Mom would strain off the buttermilk and save some for Daddy to drink and if she wanted some for baking later in the week she would set some aside for that too. She would then carefully lift out the chunks of butter and place them in a bowl and work it with a wooden spoon squeezing and pressing to get every little drop of buttermilk out of it possible and pour it away. Finally she'd rinse it in cold water and then work it some more. When she was satisfied that that every drop was squeezed out she would work in salt and then form into patties and place them in a Pyrex butter bowl and place it in the refrigerator.
We had several gallon milk souring at all times. Once it had reached the right consistency Mom would set our great big canner on the stove and dump it in and heat it to a certain temperature and then stir in half of a rennet tablet that had been dissolved in a little water. This caused the milk to set to a smooth soft texture. She would keep it at 90 degrees for an hour and then take a long knife and cut into half inch squares and then took her hand and scoop these long strings gently up and then let them back down until they were all uniform sized cubes. then she would drain off the whey and we'd be left with a big bowl full of delicious cheese curds. Often we would salt them and keep them to eat like that. Other times Mom would put them in her cheese press and press it for several days which resulted in a nice round block of cheese that could be sliced and eaten however you wanted.
She would also make cottage cheese, a spreading cheese, and yogurt. The yogurt we ate plain most of the time but occasionally she would flavor it with jello for a special treat.
The milk you buy in stores is pretty worthless when you think of all the possibilities of fresh milk. The process of pasteurizing ruins all that and basically strips many of the good things from milk.
I'm wondering now why we ever sold our cows. I'm really missing them right now.


  1. Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I'm glad the little cartoon gave you a chuckle! I used to be an almost-daily blogger but life has certainly interrupted the past few years since I began doing day care for my two young grandsons, ages 1 and 3! So I write when I can and sometimes it's just a silly cartoon like that one. Welcome to the blogosphere,'s been a life-changing experience for me these past 4 years.

  2. I bet you are missing them, what great memories you have. Thank you for stopping by.

  3. That is so awesome that you remember all that! What do you buy now, whole milk? I was raised on 2% and can even tell a difference when I taste whole milk, so I bet store-bought doesn't hold a candle to the real deal. I've even started spending the extra $$ and buying organic without the hormones and stuff added. I gave up buying Doritos - I'm making quite a sacrifice aren't I?? HA HA I remember making butter in 1st grade and I can just imagine a bunch of Amish women thinking, 'You're doing that for fun?' - we do that to eat!! And to think that my kids think it's old fashioned that I grew up without a cell phone. What a hoot!

  4. Thanks for stopping by. I love your stories about your childhood.

  5. ... and to think of all the people trying to make "raw milk" illegal... love your stories.

  6. Thank you for stopping to visit...I am so glad to find your blog! We have dairy goats and a Jersey heifer, that I HOPE will calf in January. I would dearly love to spend time with someone who really knows how to work, and what to do on the farm. This is new to us and we learn as we go. Looking forward to reading more.
    Blessings ~ Kathy

  7. I love that butter churn...would LOVE to have one like it. We have a couple Jersey cows, we aren't getting a lot of cream right now, cause one just had a she holds her cream up...and the other one doesn't give us much milk, she has a few problems. I do however usually get to make a little butter once a week...and make cheese as much as I can. It's a lot of fun, and really yummy! I'm always on the look out for new ways to make cheese. LOL One of these days I'll get around to doing some hard cheeses...mostly it's mozzarella, cottage cheese, and feta right now. I bought milk is pretty worthless.

  8. Would love a cow,,,,, but I do use store bought milk, ( can't find a farmer to sell us fresh) and buttermilk mix together like 1/2 cup buttermilk and about 3 cups milk. put in closed glass dish ( I use a flat rectangular baking dish) let stand at room temp for about 2 days... then dump it in a cheese cloth tie it together and hang it over another bowl in the fridge..after 24 -36 hours
    I empy the cheese into a dish and use it to make my german cheese cake. totally different flavor than
    philadelphia cheese. and so yummy..
    Also thanks for sharing your story I love reading about different cultures way of life...Hugs from Indiana...Birgit


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