Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Curds and Whey

One of the chores that had to be done twice a day was milking the cows.  We usually had one or two that supplied us with all our dairy needs.  Our barn was across the middle pond and down a small hill.  Fun going down, but a job hiking up with a full pail of milk.

We would bring the milk into the summer kitchen, and Mom would put it into the big bowl on the top of the separator.  We kids would take turns turning the crank.  Cream would come out of one spout and skim milk out of the other.  Then into the refrigerator it would go.
When we needed butter, the cream would go into the churn, similar to this one pictured.  It was cranked until the butter separated from the whey, then taken out of the churn, a little bit of salt was added, and Mom would knead it until it was nice and firm.  The whey was buttermilk and a special treat when chilled.
Sometimes we would make cottage cheese.  Mom heated the milk, then added just a little bit of vinegar, and the milk would separate and make curds.  She poured this into a big colander lined with cheese cloth, and let all the liquid drain off.  After squeezing out the last drop, she would break up the curds, and the cottage cheese was ready to eat.
Isn't amazing what a pail of milk could gift us with!


  1. I remember doing this one time at my grandmother's when I was very young.

    Love the soundtrack today. :)

  2. Hello, what a treat to have these memories - my husband's grandmother did the same - and there's a farmer a few miles down the road who sells milk with the cream on top - a wonderful treat! I am happy to be your newest follower,

  3. I did none of these things in my childhood. However, my granddaddy always had fresh milk, given him by his former employer. The Circle Square Ranch owner allowed him to stay in a small cabin after he was too old and give up being a real life cowboy. Realizing this now I am grateful, as a child I was unaware.

    Excellent post. Made me go back in time.

    Happy Day.

  4. I never got to do any of that but reading your story was sure fun. Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a fun post! And I love that opening sketch. That's lovely! Reminds me of illustrations in the old school readers. :-)

  6. Marti- We HAD a churn just like that when I was a kid. I can remember turning it and watching the milk separate. When I went home to clean out the house that was the one thing I really wanted...and it was gone. I think my Mother gave it away to some fast talking person that came along when she was in the early stages of dementia. I would love to have one of those-xo Diana