I would love to be able to produce my own dairy products. That is never going to happen for me, so I have to buy mine from the store for now. Maybe someday I will be able to purchase milk locally from a farmer. Our property is not big enough to support a cow. My husband's grandfather always had one cow and he would lead it to neighbors' yards and stake it there for the day. Then come back later for it. I guess the neighbors weren't so critical of a cow on their lawn back in those days. I can just imagine what would happen now if your cow wandered onto the neighbors' lawn today!
The perfect thing, of course would be to have a milk cow and process your own milk into cheese and butter. Oh that would be the best! People who raise a cow for their own dairy products, in my book, are very lucky. In the past I have made my own Neufchâtel cheese using the instructions written by David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D., at Beginning Cheese Making. I think his instructions are the best you will find. I used them myself. Even coached other beginners on a forum through the process, as we worked on our cheese together.
I have been canning cheese over the last couple of years and will be doing that again pretty soon. I have found a method that works, and for the two of us, it works fine. I can in the smallest canning jars so we use a little bit at a time. Canning makes it possible to have butter and cheese in the summer months with no refrigeration.
When the cheese is canned it will be different than you are used to. I use a grapefruit spoon to take chunks of it out and put it in my recipes or grilled cheese sandwiches, on hamburgers, etc.. It works, just doesn't look the same and is a different texture than fresh or shredded. I used shredded when I did this. I will try to document this the next time I do it so I can post it on here.
I have canned butter a few times. The last time I did it, mine did not turn out right. The first time, it was really good and was a lifesaver for us. Now as I have been thinking about it, maybe it was because the first time I did it in cooler weather. The last time it was hot and even my pantry would not cool it. I put the jars in cold water to try to cool it. It didn't turn out and I had to dump it. Well with the price of butter now, I am planning on doing it again. The weather is cold and our pantry is almost a freezer at the moment. So I will try again. I like to can it because I use less butter that way and I can stock up if I find it on sale.
Butter and cheese are now being sold canned by one or two companies because they heard the cry from people wanting to purchase them for their preparedness stocks. I checked out the butter this morning and it was a very small container for $6.00. A case of 24 cans was $139.40. Now that is exactly what has motivated me to get back to home canning it. The price of the cheese is not much better......at $3.99 a can. Ouch! I am trying to prepare and stay prepared but still remain frugal. There are ways to do this and I am doing them so far.
Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole