Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to Make Your Own Butter and Honey Butter

-posted by Jayne

We are often asked if we make and sell honey butter.  The answer is no... we do not.  But we do make our own butter from time to time, and adding honey to create honey butter is very simple.  If you own a food processor- making butter is very easy.  The most important ingredient... well the only ingredient is a high quality whipping cream.  I feel very fortunate to live in an area where we can get minimally processed milk and cream from grass fed cows.  Growing up on a dairy farm- I have always had a love of dairy cows and dairy products.  My favorite foods are cheese and real freshly whipped cream (confession- It's not honey!).  I seriously feel sorry for those who think that the only forms of whipped cream are Cool Whip and Redi-Whip.  How sad!  

Now let's whip some real cream.
Two necessities for butter:  agitator (food processor) and whipping cream

 Step 1.  Fill your food processor about 1/3 to 1/2 full of whipping cream (no more).

Step 2.  Turn on your food processor (lid on, of course) until the mixture resembles a glossy, creamy state.  This, my friends, is freshly whipped cream.  If I'm not making butter I  usually like to stop right here, add a few Tablespoons of sugar, and enjoy a healthy spoonful of whipped cream.  I freeze it in dollops on a baking sheet and store it in containers in the freezer for use on hot chocolate or in homemade mocha drinks.  But today we'll move past this stage on to butter making.

Step 3.  Keep the food processor churning.  You will notice the glossy whipped cream state moving to a ricotta type texture (not quite as thick as ricotta-but the same look).  You can stop and admire the change for a bit... but you must keep churning if you want butter.

Step 4.  Keep it churning.  Here you see it starting to separate just a bit.  It's only been churning for 2-3 minutes at this point.

Step 5:  Wah-la!  Here it is starting to solidify.  The color is turning a creamy yellow color, and the buttermilk is starting to separate off from the butter.  Have you noticed we have done nothing more than click a button and observe the changes?  Food processors are amazing!

Step 6:  Here you can really see the buttermilk separating.  Now we actually get to do something.  Remove the blade from your food processor and pour off the buttermilk into a dish (NOT down the drain!  Save that good stuff!)  You will put the food processor back together and continue to pulse the mixture until more buttermilk separates.  Continue to pour it off, about 2-3 times.

Here is the buttermilk- ready to use in biscuits or baking.
 Step 7: Now you are almost done... but there is still a little bit of buttermilk left in the butter.  Remove your blade, and really wash your hands, because they are going to get dirty.  Remove your wedding ring or anything else you don't want to get slimy.  Squeeze the butter to remove excess buttermilk.

Step 7:  You still need to wash your butter.  Get your tap water running very cold.  Hold your butter under the running water and squeeze as the cold water washes through it.  You are washing out any excess buttermilk that is left.  I read somewhere that if you don't get it all out, it can cause your butter to spoil prematurely.  Just keep massaging and moving the butter under the water until you notice it is not releasing any moisture.  It will be soft and pliable, and not overly sticky.
Wash that butter.
 Step 8:  When there is no liquid left in the butter, you can shape it in to your desired shape, or.... you can add honey to make honey butter.

Step 7:  Simply squeeze a generous amount of honey over top your butter, and squeeze it until it is completely combined.  It really is that simple!  Re-shape your honey butter, and store it in a container in the refrigerator.  I have kept mine over two weeks... I imagine if you use good quality fresh cream, it will last much longer.

Please feel free to ask any questions if anything in the directions isn't clear.  The whole process is really quite simple and straightforward.  I know I am being redundant here... but using a local, high quality cream will make all the difference in the ease of your butter making, as well as the flavor quality.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Honey is for Lovers

-Posted by Isaac

Happy Valentines! 
Is honey a good Valentine's gift? Whole Foods in Dublin thinks so. Check out this new end display featuring Honeyrun honey and Paromi Tea.

Just in time for you Columbus lovers.
I grabbed some tea for Jayne ("...fragrant and flavorful, perfectly balanced to indulge your senses."), and some French made organic chocolate truffles. Aren't we spoiled?
The kids don't like the truffles, so they tend to stay around longer.

Good choice, Maizy, good choice.
 We've been feasting on chocolates and home made bread this week. Wonderful meals made by Jayne and date nights in Columbus. I used to think Valentines Day was kind of dumb, but my opinion changed after getting married. It has become an entire Valentines week in which we get a few breaks from the kids (thanks to Grandma) and spoil ourselves silly.
Speaking of kids, Mason, Maizy and Bridger busied themselves with Valentines fun.

Mason's fire engine card box
 Mommy was the parent in charge of Mason's big pre-school Valentines party.
And lucky Maizy gets to go along for the fun and games.
And treats.
Oh, boy...

The party is this morning. I'm watching Bridger while Jayne and the kids get sugared up.

Mason, you heart throb... are you sure it's big enough?
And I can smell that he's left me a little Valentines gift in his diaper.
Better get to it.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Honey of a Valentine

-posted by Jayne

Need some creative Valentine's Day gifts ideas?  I have been thinking about some clever "honey collections" one might put together for their special someone.  To start with... Chunk Honey has been a best-seller this past week in our Etsy shop.  It is a nice novelty item for those who enjoy honey.  Simply spread the comb right on your toast and enjoy!

 To pair with the Chunk Honey... an OH Honey shirt, available at Simply Vague in Tuttle Mall.  This shirt was designed by a local Columbus artist, and sold under the label "Statements."  Simply Vague (who also carries our honey) is having a friends and family sale tomorrow, Feb. 10th from 10 am - 6 pm.  15% off your entire purchase.  Just tell them Honeyrun Farm sent you.

And to complete your honey themed gift, an album by the Honeycutters.  The one below is a personal favorite.  I was turned on to this band when they opened for Todd Snider at the Nelsonville Music Festival a few years back.  Folk, Americana style music with wonderful songwriting and vocals from Amanda Anne Platt and her partner Peter James.  I would compare them with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.  Go check their website here.

 And of course there is always honey soap, beeswax candles, yada, yada, yada.... enough of the sales pitch for our products.

For my own Valentine, I found an excuse to visit our local Candy and Ice Cream shop, Wittich's in Circleville.  Hailed as the Nation's Oldest Confectionery (established in 1830), it is replete with all the nostalgia of an old-fashioned 1930's soda fountain, and they make all their chocolates right in the store.

We sat at the counter and enjoyed their legendary ice cream sundaes...

And of course brought home a box full of chocolates for Daddy...

And since we already own the Honeycutters album, I decided to buy Isaac the Lumineers album he was raving about in an earlier post on this blog.  Remember that?

It's better to feel pain   --  than nothing at all...
The opposite of love   --  is indifference...

Hoping this Valentine's Day doesn't find you indifferent.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Skunks and Bees

-posted by Jayne

Earlier this week, Mason and I went out to look at the hives, and found some tracks in front of and around the hives.  My first thought.... skunks.

Did you know that skunks love bees?  I remember hearing once at a beekeeping conference that skunks can eat the entire population of a hive in just 3 nights.  I also read on bee source that another sign that you have a skunk problem is little piles of dead bees, as the skunks suck out the juice and then spit them out.  I have also heard that they eat the entire bee, and don't mind getting stung.  

Piles of dead bees:  Skunk carnage.
Breeding season for skunks is from February through May, and they can travel up to 5 miles during this time.  We often start to smell skunks more often during this time of year, and see them around the farm.  If you are a beekeeper, it is a good time to start monitoring your hives for skunk damage.  I believe they are less of a threat when it is cold and the bees aren't flying, since they are less likely to come out to defend the hive.  But the snow will help you see tracks from these predators, and monitor what is going on. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Simple and Broke

-Posted by Isaac

It's almond pollination time in California. Big business for beekeepers. No, not us, but I do enjoy thinking back. 
Some poor worn out schmuck is right now riding an eighteen wheeler loaded down with about 500 hives. He's been up all night, and now it's the next day, and he's bleakly looking out at a desert road, thinking... what the hell...??
I was that guy for a season of the almonds. You can read about it in last year's 'Super Bowl of Beekeeping' post. Somewhere in those many thousands of miles I was able to draw a song out of the experience. 
So, for our wonderful blog followers, here you go-- a special treat.  Well, maybe...