Real Butter is Yellow? or How I Bought Part of a Milk Cow

This is the story of how I bought part of a milk cow…

Pictured: Homemade butter (using raw, unpasteurized milk) with droplets of buttermilk still clinging to the ball.

When I moved to Tennessee, I assumed that since I would be living in the middle of Farm Town USA, I would be able to get fresh milk, eggs and produce on every corner. Not true. Unfortunately, our government has regulated what we eat so badly that I can see 700 dairy cows on the way to my kids’ school but it’s ILLEGAL for me to buy their milk. You have to have special permits to sell your produce and if you don’t want to pay $3 for a dozen eggs, you have to raise your own chickens. Bummer.

I’ve been looking into a way around, or through, some of this bureaucratic non-sense and discovered the joy of the cow-share. That’s right Folks, I now own a share in a dairy cow, and I pay Farmer Brian to milk and bottle the cow’s white gold for me. I meet him in a parking lot like some dealer/junkie clandestine exchange, I pay cash, I meet a couple of other Real Food advocates and we exchange information about other hot spots about town where we can get our hands on unprocessed foods, kefir grains and heirloom seeds and then we scatter like law breakers. But, I drive away with a gallon of milk, split into two jars.

The jars are giant mason jars so I can see right through them and the first thing I notice is that the color is “off.” Where is my ultra-pure white paint primer milk? This milk is slightly yellow and has about 4 inches of this cream floating on top. Oh man, my heart immediately aches to make butter, Real butter, when I get home.

My kids were going to be home in a few hours so I decided to wait for them so they could be a part of this process too. Once we were ready for snacks, I got out a mason jar, spooned about 1 Cup of cream into it, threw the lid on and asked my oldest daughter to “shake it until something happens.” And she enjoyed the whole process, every 40 seconds or so the cream had undergone another transformation, until after just a few minutes there was a bright yellow ball sitting in the middle of a white liquid. She had made butter and separated out the buttermilk. I would be able to use both! (For complete butter making instructions check out this post.)

The color is amazing and looks like it is dyed yellow. This intense yellow come from the beta carotene in the milk since the cows are pasture fed and the milk is not cooked. All those extra nutrients for us make butter a much healthier choice than other fats. The yellow butter is creamy, sweet and nutritious, packed with vitamins and live cultures we know we are eating a treat when we have this.

I will repeat this process again in a couple of days but this time I’m going to let the cream sit out overnight and allow it to “culture” before making butter out of it. The cultured butter will have even more nutritional value, and has an  even better taste, than this first batch. It’s truly an amazing process and so clearly “good” in design. These simple things are as breathtaking to me as the view from a mountaintop, or the expanse of the ocean. You know that feeling of awe, of admiration, of assuredly knowing that this was all planned, beautiful, intentional and wonderful? That’s how making butter makes me feel, like I am grateful, and humbled and worshipful.

Below: This is our butter (grass fed cows) compared to the butter (grain fed cows) we normally buy at the store. 


8 comment on “Real Butter is Yellow? or How I Bought Part of a Milk Cow”

  1. Amber,

    Buy a cow? I’m so excited; how exactly is this done? We live in CA and are new to eating naturally; I would love to own part of a cow and get natural, real milk. A question about raw milk, I have a friend who drinks it but I am still a little leery about safety. I’m sure it is because I have been told all my life that you can get sick from it but I am trying to get more honest information so I can make the right choice for our family.

  2. Kathy,

    In case you or any friends are interested, I have a friend in lawrenceburg TN that has a spinning/fiber business. Next Sat., the 24th, she is holding her “Sheep to Shawl” seminar.She lives out in Amish country. The class is all day out in her wood heated studio. Participants will hands on shear a sheep, learn how to wash the wool, then she will have a fleece you will pick, card, comb and learn to spin on a spindle. She will also dye some fiber on her woodstove and talk about that. You will get to try spinning on a wheel and end with starting a shawl on a handmade triangle loom.
    I believe it is 75.00 and was really fun. It gives you an overview of the whole spinning/dying/weaving process. Her FB page is Amish Country Fibers and info for seminar is on there. Jill also leads our group Contryside Spinners which has members from all over TN and AL. Most all spin, some just knit crochet or have other fiber interests. I took the seminar a couple of years ago but am just now getting involved with spinning again. I only have a spindle but hoping to get a wheel this year. The spinners meet at someone’s house once a month to spin, knit, talk and eat.

  3. Kathy,

    I just found your FB page this week and your blog tonight and I’m loving it. Can’t wait to read more. I am a transplant to TN also. Live in Lebanon east of Nashville. I was thrilled to see you live in TN also. Are you in middle or east TN? I am 52, an empty nester and my husband and I are just starting the hope of self sustainability/prepping/herbal medicines/making our green products for home and personal use/raising our own meat. We have chickens so we are off.This will be my first garden in yrs this summer and at trying my hand at canning.Better late than never! I wish I had the health and energy I had 20 yrs ago.
    I am finally a stay at home person/grandma since my kids are gone, so I now have the time to do this. I am also into fiber arts and I’m learning to spin and have purchased two angora goats for fiber. Other than your clandestine dairy farmer do you have other TN contacts for food coops, prepper supplies etc. If I am close enough I would be interested in buying some of that cow. I want to make and freeze my own butter but I’m not ready to dedicate myself to keeping a cow or goat of my own yet. Nice to meet you.

  4. Cara Louise,

    just discovered your blog, courtesy of “Simple Life”…and LOVE your writings- especially this one about the cow! I can just picture this clandestine parking lot meeting…
    I share your awe and wonder when discovering just how good God’s design is, especially when it can be found in unusual or even ‘silly’ places!
    love and prayers dear!

    1. Comment author madme,

      Thank you for commenting Cara! I’m so glad you enjoy the posts and I hope to see you here again and feel free to stop by the FB page to share what you are discovering and creating it life. Good day Cara.

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