This may not be so much a science project as it is a fun time with your kids in the kitchen, teaching them the principles of butter making. I like that this is a fairly clean task… that you get to eat at the end! It’s a great way to entertain your kids while they’re waiting for dinner to be ready.
What supplies do you need?
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- a clean jar with a lid
- salt (optional)
1. Have your child pour the cream into the jar and close the lid tightly. You can also use a plastic container, but it’s fun for kids to see what’s going on inside, so I prefer a clear glass jar. If you let the cream sit at room temperature for a bit, it may make the process move a little faster.
2. Put some music on and shake, shake, SHAKE the jar! Some good shaking songs? “Shake Your Groove Thing” from Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, “Shake” by Sam Cooke, “Shake It” by Metro Station, “Shake Your Booty” by KC & the Sunshine Band, “Shake it Up” by The Cars, and “Shake Your Body” by Michael Jackson.
3. The liquid will thicken into whipped cream and you’ll notice the color changing… it does take some vigorous shaking, so you might end up having to help out a bit. In around 20 minutes you’ll see the liquid buttermilk separating from the solid butter.
4. Drain the buttermilk from the jar. Rinse the butter with cold water to wash all the buttermilk away. If you skip this step, the butter could turn sour in just a few days.
How does this work?
Cream is made up of little globules of fat and protein. When you shake the cream, these globules get stuck together. The more you shake the jar, the bigger the solid mass gets. That’s how you end up with one big lump of butter.
I love the taste of the butter that results from this experiment. It’s sweet and fresh! You can add a dash of salt if you’d like, or try something a little different and hit it with a squirt of honey or make a flavored butter with dried herbs.
This post was inspired by Susan, a.k.a. WhyMommy, who’s battling breast cancer. Though I don’t know her personally, I do know that she’s loved by many, many people and has done so much to spread cancer awareness. Visit Susan’s blog to show your support, and Team WhyMommy’s Virtual Science Fair for more posts like this.