< May Day
< May Day Fun and Food

Milkmaid's Butter-Making
Buttermilk Cake
Maypole Cake
Flowers to Eat
Mayday Madness
May Day Jig
Merrie May Days
Going A-Maying
Maypole Whirl
Make a Maypole
Vanilla Ice-Cream with Orange Toffee and Cowslips

Milkmaid's Butter-Making

Making butter by hand is a good reminder of how people used to do things in times past but it’s a bit of slog – the jam-jar method can take up to 30 minutes’ hard shaking. It’s fun if you make it together, with each family member taking turns to shake and find their own technique. Alternatively, it takes just five minutes in a hand mixer or food processor. 

To make around 300g butter and 200ml buttermilk, you’ll need:

1 pt (568ml) double cream, at room temperature
Large jar with lid

Fill the jar just over a third full and tightly screw on the lid. Shake the cream up and down. After some time, it will look like whipped cream. Keep shaking until thin streams of buttermilk suddenly separate out leaving a thick, creamy lump of butter (it can take up to 30 mins). Drain the buttermilk off and keep to make scones or use in Buttermilk Cake recipe.

Fill the jar with cold water and swirl butter around to wash. Drain and repeat until water is clear. Put butter on a board and press down, using a wet spatula to get rid of any remaining buttermilk. Wrap in waxed or greaseproof paper and refrigerate.

Home-made butter is creamier than bought, so add salt (½ to 1 tsp per 100g) to taste. Or try these flavourings, per 100g:

2 tbsp fresh herbs (spread on warm baguettes)
1 clove crushed garlic (for garlic bread)
2 tbsp grainy mustard and 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley (melted on warm cheese scones)
½ tsp ground cumin (melted over hot potatoes)
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed orange (spread on toast)
1-2 tbsp sugar and 100g crushed raspberries, strawberries or blueberries (spread on breakfast waffles or pancakes with maple syrup and extra fruit)