Butter has probably been around since people began farming and keeping livestock, perhaps 10,000 years. But butter today is not the same as it was prior to 80 years ago.
Butter today is a processed "factory" product that has had much of its food value removed. Store-bought butter stays fresher longer, but at a price.
In order to make butter the old-fashioned way, you'll begin with raw milk. This is milk straight from the cow.
Many people will stop right here. Common sense tells us that raw milk causes disease and death because everyone knows it's so. But here's a question: "Do you remember your first meal?" (Hint: your mother does.) In fact, you probably had raw milk as the only food that kept you alive for the first year of your life. You didn't seem to turn out so bad . . . Modern research shows you'll probably be healthier than someone raised on infant formula.
However, if you're worried about food-borne illness, you should stop eating chicken, peanut butter, spinach, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, anything from Chipotle's, oysters, deli meats, ground beef, and about 50 other common foods. Those are the foods that poison people.
Any farmer who provides raw milk knows that if his milk causes anyone the slightest problem, he'll be featured on the 6 o'clock news for about 3 days, lose all his customers, and be looking for a new job before the week is out. He knows he must maintain an absolutely pristine environment for his farm and his milk. A "traditional" dairy farmer knows that his milk will quickly be pasteurized, so . . .
Step 1: Obtain Raw Milk
Raw milk is available "over the counter" in many states in America. This is milk that is straight from the cow -- not pasteurized (cooked) or homogenized (beats the fat globules until they break open). You just walk into a store and buy it.
In many other states, raw milk cannot be sold. However, there's a workaround. You lease a portion of a cow. A farmer keeps "your" cow, feeds it, collects the milk, and provides it to you because you pay him room and board for the cow (or goat). A lengthy contract clearly specifies everyone's responsibilities and substitutions.
This enables you to obtain raw milk without actually purchasing it. It's your milk. The agreement is called a cow-share or herdshare agreement.
To find raw milk near you, check out realmilk.com and their Raw Milk Finder tool. (Get it? Real Milk)
If it's legal in your state, you'll often find that it's more likely to be found in upscale neighborhoods -- it costs more than ordinary milk. There are many reasons for drinking raw milk, including potential relief from allergies, stomach problems, digestive problems, etc. This is not medical advice, and food isn't typically considered to be medicine. But if you're interested, try it out. You'll find it to be creamier than ordinary milk. If it sits still for a while, you'll see the cream rise to the top. As the season progresses, you may even see mild color and taste changes as the cows' food changes.
Some of this cream will be used to make your butter.
Step 2: Make the Butter
Put your blender jar and blade base in the refrigerator to chill them.
Remove some of the cream from the top of the raw milk. I use a turkey baster tool (looks like a giant eye dropper).
Put it in the blender jar. (You can try a whisk attachment on an electric mixer if you wish.) Don't go overboard -- start with a small amount, enough to cover the blades. Once you've done it a few times, you can scale up if you want. But raw butter doesn't stay fresh as long as store-bought butter, so make a little and use it up.
Blend on medium speed for a few minutes (may take about 5 minutes). The cream will quickly switch from an obvious liquid to whipped cream to a thick slurry. Slow the blender speed. Shortly, the butter will "pop" together as a glob.
There will be a thin liquid alongside it -- this is buttermilk, but not the kind you find in grocery stores. Those are cultured milk products made from pasteurized, homogenized milk treated with specific enzymes or microbes, and have nothing in common with real buttermilk.
Pour out the liquid buttermilk. Save and drink it (it's an acquired taste), use it in a recipe, or discard it. Pull the glob out of the blender jar with a spatula and put it in a bowl. Run cold water over it to harden it, and squish it in your hands for a minute to release any remaining buttermilk.
Form it into a block shape for convenience.
Step 3: But, Why Bother With Raw Milk?
Raw milk is a living food. It contains important microbes and enzymes that the cow or goat put in there. Many of them come from the grasses they eat.
Raw milk is not like pasteurized milk. When raw milk spoils, it turns into other dairy products -- sour cream, curds and whey, cottage cheese, etc. from being digested by microbes and enzymes that are already in the milk.
Pasteurized milk doesn't spoil -- it rots and is unfit for consumption.
Your small intestine contains a living colony of around 30,000 different kinds of microbes. Bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi, archaea, macrophages, and more. They're all perfectly harmless and safe. In fact, if they WEREN'T there, you would quickly suffer a gruesome death. Until about 20 years ago, we had no idea they were there.
The microbes in your gut get first crack at all the food you eat. They absorb it, break it down, and you feast on their by-products.
Unfortunately, the health of modern animals and humans has become threatened by a loss of diversity in the gut microbiome of many animals. Overuse of antibiotics is a prime reason, but lack of exposure to harmless microbes is also critical. Drinking binges in college don't help. Some intestinal diseases cause problems. Infant formula is clearly a problem. C-section births skip mom's birth canal, an incredibly critical step in introducing beneficial microbes to a newborn.
When your mother breastfed you with raw milk, she passed on vital microbes and enzymes that enabled you to grow quickly, and also to gradually form your own immune system. Your gut microbiome trains your immune system about which microbes can be ignored, and thus, which microbes should be recognized, cause inflammation, and attacked.
Many modern drugs treat auto-immune disorders by "dumbing down" your immune system to make it less able to respond to some harmless entity in your environment. These drugs don't cure the disorder, they simply lessen its impact. People don't die from ragweed pollen. But they can die from their immune system overreacting to a harmless plant. Or a bee sting. Or a peanut.
Step 4: What About Probiotics?
If you read the label on probiotics, you'll find the ingredients often begin with L. (lactose), various Bifidas, Acidopholus, lactic acid, casein, and many more.
These are all milk microbes.
Instead of trying to gain the benefit with a processed pill, why not go straight to the source?
That's raw milk. And you get valuable enzymes, too.
If you ask your doctor, he'll likely:
A. be shocked that you would even consider such a life-threatening idea, or
B. remain non-committal -- you can do it if you want, but leave him out of it, or
C. be enthusiastic, but would never bring it up himself, or
D. be willing to prescribe a drug, instead, or
E. ask you to get back to him after you've tried it and give him a report, or
F. wonder why you don't just use probiotics, or
G. point out that cow's milk turns a 60-pound animal into a 600-pound animal in 6 months, and is thus clearly not meant for human consumption.
That last one slays me. I eat chicken. A fox eats chicken. If I eat enough chicken, will I get pointy ears and weigh 20 pounds like a fox? Probably not. Protein is protein is protein. My body knows what to do with it.
But ingesting raw milk is not like other foods. The ancient Roman army had a daily ration of milk. George Washington's Continental Army had a daily ration of milk (and I can assure you, it was not pasteurized). People have been drinking raw milk for longer than we've had recorded history. And the fact that we're here to talk about it tells me that it wasn't all that bad.
Step 5: Why Bother?
A healthy human gut has around 35,000 different kinds of microbes in it. And if you counted them all up, cell for cell, they would outnumber the cells in your body by about 10-to-1. You're more "bug" than you are "you." If you added up their unique DNA, the comparisons become astronomical.
A person with poor gut microbiome diversity may have as little as 20,000 varieties. This person may suffer from auto-immune disorders, stomach and intestinal distress, poor overall health, etc.
The microbes in your gut:
A. generate brain chemistry in the gut (more than exists in the brain)
B. turn some genes on and off ("dormant" genes),
C. alter your food cravings to match their own needs, (everybody wants to live),
D. make it possible for you to digest and absorb food nutrients,
E. define and create your immune system,
F. affect your mood and your mental health.
This last one is probably the most important. Microbes in your gut generate the same chemistry that is in your brain. Serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine -- there's more brain chemistry in your gut than in your brain. Your gut is sometimes called the "second brain." Ever get butterflies, or a "gut feeling?" That's your gut brain trying to help you make some sense out of your world, in spite of your logical brain.
Ever wonder why, all of a sudden, there are so many people who are allergic to peanuts, bee stings, dust mites, have asthma, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, irritable bowel, Crohn's, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, and rare diseases that they didn't catch from anyone?
These and a thousand "rare" disorders are all a consequence of having an immune system with an itchy trigger finger. It reacts to harmless things in our environment or even attacks your own body as though it were an invader. And your gut microbiome tells your immune system what to react to.
Do your own research. You'll find the same thing I did.
So why does everyone think raw milk is poison? Keep reading . . .
Step 6: Not Long Ago . . .
Prior to the 1850's everybody drank raw milk. In most of the world where people are simple farmers and own a cow or goat or a small herd, they still do. If you visit Europe, you may find a dairy farmer who got tired of people knocking on his door, and simply installed a vending machine to sell it by the liter.
(When I inquired about raw milk in Ireland, people looked at me like I had two heads. The Irish are also noted for having a very high rate of Crohn's disease.)
Around the 1850's, it became very profitable to produce liquor in a commercial setting, rather than a batch in a bathtub. But big liquor factories produce lots of mash waste. You can only dump it out the back door for so long.
This mash had much of the food value removed to make the alcohol. It was sold to livestock farmers to supplement the healthier feed for their cows and pigs.
But this cheap, low-quality food source could make the animals sickly if they got too much. The milk from these animals was also low-quality and even dangerous. The concept of an "infection" had not yet arrived.
Over time, people questioned the safety of milk and found that pasteurizing it lowered the risk. The cows weren't too healthy, but at least there was no infection in the milk.
In the early 1930's, Henry Ford, the inventor of the automobile assembly line, was a very wealthy man. His grandson, Edsel, one of the heirs to his vast fortune, probably developed a milk-borne disease (brucellosis) from drinking raw milk and he died. Since Ford was so famous, everyone knew all about it. Perhaps his farm hands should have used some soap and water and better sanitary practices.
From then on, everyone knew that pasteurized milk was the only safe drink a modern person would want. Mention raw milk to most medical practitioners and they'll be shocked. Only those that continue to learn the latest research will have an open mind.
Besides all that, raw milk just tastes really good.
Step 7: If You Think I'm Full of Hot Air . . .
Do your own research.
One offbeat place to start is to do a Yo uTube search for people who have visited the Taymount Clinic about 20 miles north of London, England. You'll find actual testimonials from people who had incurable intestinal diseases who were cured. IBS/IBD, Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, and many more.
Additional YouTube videos will show an old man being filmed by his grandson. Gramps will describe how Grandma was near death, his doctor was forbidden to help, so he got together some rubber tubing, a blender, a few cups and bowls, and put together a stool transplant in his kitchen (and saved Grandma). You can't make this stuff up.
In all fairness, I should warn you. These procedures are typically colonoscopies that transplant fresh intestinal stool from a donor to a sufferer. That's one of the ways to get the microbes you need.
If you want to really have some fun, Google poop pills and you'll quickly learn that a variety of serious diseases (C. diff. or Clostridium difficile, is an example of a particularly nasty one) have been treated with delivering healthy stool in a special capsule that's swallowed by a sufferer.
The only facility recognized by the FDA (whose budget is almost all made up of drug testing payments from pharmaceutical companies) for providing stool is OpenBiome , a spinoff from Massachussetts Instittute of Technology (MIT). Yup, it's actually a business that sells capsules full of poop.
The third method is called naso-gastric. That's where the stool is forced through a tube that been shoved up your nose and down your throat and through your stomach. The poop pills are actually the safest method, but also the most disturbing. I guess if you're near death and have tried everything else, you'll try anything.
Maybe you should try the milk first.
All this started around 1999 when researchers were first able to really study DNA. When they examined stool in a lab, all the microbes (except E. coli, which grows almost anywhere) there died before they could grow and find them. Since they live comfortably in complete darkness with no air at 100 degrees, moving them to a lab setting caused their rapid demise. But studying the DNA that was left behind suddenly opened an entire new world of study.
When someone has abdominal surgery, it can take a year to recover. Not because there are muscles and tissue to repair, but because the gut's exposure to air and light trashes the microbes there. Elderly people have a minor advantage in that their microbiome is relatively stable. This makes it harder to damage, but also makes it harder to improve. A child's microbiome is quite different because the child's body has different needs and resources, but is also much easier to modify and/or damage.
Statistically speaking, I've read that, on average, by the time a child has reached 17 years of age, they've had 20 rounds of antibiotics. Couple that with the antibiotics we put in chicken, turkey, beef and who knows where else you'll find them in our environment, and it's easy to understand why autism (a developmental disorder), asthma, mental disturbances, rare diseases that aren't "caught" from anyone, allergies to peanuts, bee stings, dust, diesel exhaust, artificial colors and flavors and a thousand other rare diseases seem to grow each day.
(It was once thought that autism was caused by vaccinations, though this has since been disproved. Consider, however, that kids with "the best health care" not only get regular vaccinations, they also get lots of oral, broad-spectrum antibiotics every time they get a cold or an earache. Along with a C-section for the doctor's convenience and lots of infant formula, you can see where this is headed.)
In America today, more than half of the antibiotics used are fed to the livestock that we all eat. A raw milk farmer typically uses no antibiotics, hormones, or anything else that's modern other than a milking machine. And their farms have to be ridiculously clean.
Well, sorry for the rant. Do some reading. This is the next big thing in health care.