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#179896 - 09/27/13 11:33 PM Backpack butter
Jackamo Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 50
Loc: Central Oregon
I remember hearing about how the pioneers would hang jars of cream from their wagons as they traveled so it would churn into butter for their evening meal. Obviously it isn't feasible in most backpacking situations, but the science would be the same as hanging a jar of cream from your backpack. I went on an overnighter a couple weeks ago and gave it a try.

I have a roughly 6 fl oz aluminum bottle with a wide enough mouth to get a knife into, which I filled about 3/4 of the way with heavy cream, and tied to my pack so that it could swing freely as I walked. I made a little bubble wrap cozy for it to try and keep it cool, but it wasn't too effective.

My plan was to use the butter and buttermilk to make biscuits. After a six or so mile hike, the butter hadn't really separated into butter and buttermilk, and was roughly the consistency of sour cream, which worked about the same in the biscuits. I'm guessing it was the temperature, because it chilled overnight and I was able to paddle out some of the buttermilk the next morning.

Next time I try it, I'll only fill the jar half full, and give it a little more room to shake, as well as bring a pinch of salt to work into it.

Yes, it's heavier than butter buds. No, it won't keep on a long hike. Yes, there's probably lots of reasons butter substitutes are a better choice for hikers, but it sure is a fun treat for the first night and morning.

I'm sure some of you all have tried this, but my searches haven't lead me to any threads about churning butter, anyone had any success?
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He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
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#179904 - 09/28/13 09:08 AM Re: Backpack butter [Re: Jackamo]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
It's much less work to just make ghee at home....
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#179907 - 09/28/13 10:03 AM Re: Backpack butter [Re: lori]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
or just take butter... put it into a small tight-lidded container press the butter to the bottom so there is little/no air. put a layer of water on the top. similar idea to the French butter dish http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_butter_dish
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#179908 - 09/28/13 10:13 AM Re: Backpack butter [Re: Jackamo]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Jack-

I suspect hiking is less jarring to a backback than a wagon's travel was to its contents. It may take longer to "churn" this way. If you are willing to carry liquid cream and some sort of jar, go for it. Your food plan makes use not only of the yummy fresh butter, but also the buttermilk. If this works for you, why not? You are hiking YOUR own hike. The buttermilk would also be good in pancakes and other foods. It might be "fun" to hike around with the churning cream to use at a base camp...

What cooking gear are you planning to carry and how are you cooking (wood stove, campfire, etc.?) I'm guessing you are not into my favorite heat water and dump method. I don't even have to get the water to boiling, just hot, ~ 180 F, for my pre-cooked and dehydrated food.

CamperMom

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#179909 - 09/28/13 11:27 AM Re: Backpack butter [Re: lori]
Jackamo Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 50
Loc: Central Oregon
Originally Posted By lori
It's much less work to just make ghee at home....

I've never clarified butter before, but if its less work than pouring cream into a jar and clipping it to a carabiner, I'll have to give it a try.

It's a great morale booster to know I have good food waiting for me at the end of a long hike, as well as a fun challenge to see how well I can eat in the wilds. I do the hot water soak method as well, last trip I brought tortellini to a boil and let it soak in my pot cozy. Pretty tasty...

With the biscuits, I premixed the dry ingredients in a ziplock, added the butter, and cooked it in my pie iron on an alcohol stove.



Too heavy for most, but its made for some great trail food smile
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He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
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#179913 - 09/28/13 02:40 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: Jackamo]
Hawke Offline
member

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 48
Loc: Denver, CO
Temperature won't really matter. You just didn't have enough agitation! All you need to do is shake the jar for a few minutes, and you'll have your butter.

Do it in a pint or quart jar at home, and you'll get a feel for how long it takes. It will take longer if the cream is room temp, but not horribly so. Whether or not the cream is pasturized makes a difference, too. Sometimes that can make it take longer to separate.

On average, with refridgerated heavy raw cream, it takes about 15 minutes of constant (but not necessarily vigorous) shaking to turn 2C of cream into 1/4c of butter in a quart jar. smile

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#179927 - 09/29/13 12:34 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: Hawke]
Jackamo Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 50
Loc: Central Oregon
Originally Posted By Hawke
Temperature won't really matter. You just didn't have enough agitation!


That makes sense, butter's been around much longer than refrigeration, I think I just needed more empty space in the jar. Once I got to camp I tried shaking it, but it was too solid to shake.

I've tried it at home a few times, and the cream goes from a whipped cream to butter and buttermilk almost instantly, but this is after about 15 minutes of constant, vigorous shaking, versus 3 hours of lazily sloshing around.

Thanks for the input, folks!
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He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
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#179928 - 09/29/13 12:55 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: DTape]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By DTape
or just take butter... put it into a small tight-lidded container press the butter to the bottom so there is little/no air. put a layer of water on the top. similar idea to the French butter dish http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_butter_dish


I've taken butter on short trips. Also whole eggs, broccoli, carrots... various soft and hard cheeses... my favorite lunch is a cream cheese, dried cranberry and avocado wrap made with fresh 'cado or, goat cheese on crackers.

If it's too hot the menu changes somewhat. Butter turns to liquid when warm so a container that is waterproof and putting the container in a ziploc helps. But it's still butter....

For longer trips, ghee keeps better.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#179935 - 09/29/13 03:40 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: Jackamo]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
The can stove, pie iron, etc., looks great for base or car camping, but far too heavy and bulky for me. Again, HYOH, right? I'm picking through my lightest, most compact gear now to see what will fit in the bike panniers that were already in the garage. New folding bike arriving next week... I forsee sticking with my heat water to dump onto pre-cooked and dehydrated food. I'm toying with whether or not to give up my idividually packaged meals. Bulk may pack smaller. Maybe rotate two days of menus over 4 days at a time, washing whatever small container I use for a bowl. I'm thinking 12 fl oz Vienna sausage can with a Heineken can. Either can be the cup or bowl and the sausage can fits on top of the beer can. I see the beer can for morning coffee and supper food, with the sausage can for morning oatmeal or cereal when the beer can will ne required for coffee or at least a cold latte.

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#179967 - 09/30/13 05:49 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: Jackamo]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 829
Loc: Torrance, CA
If you want butter, why not just take butter? Butter is more shelf stable than cream, it has more butter in it, and you don't have to worry if you undulated enough on your walk in.

If you like the DIY aspect, fine.... HYOH. I would put some baffles inside the jar to really churn the cream as you walk.

Some people have mentioned making yogurt on a multiday hike. Every night you add powdered milk and water to your yogurt jar and bring it to bed with you. Fresh yogurt every morning.

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#179969 - 09/30/13 07:34 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: BZH]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6371
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
BZH, the OP wanted buttermilk with which to make his biscuits and butter to put on them....
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#179972 - 09/30/13 09:18 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: OregonMouse]
SC Forester Offline
member

Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 27
Loc: SC
I donít hike with butter, but I do admit it limits my menu somewhat. Powdered buttermilk is one of the few shelf stable dairy products I can buy locally. It works so well that we use it even at home and would be a very easy option for the OP to make biscuits.

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#179982 - 09/30/13 11:47 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: Jackamo]
jimmyb Offline
member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 276
Following this thread is making my stomach growl. Reminds me of a good friends Mom from Ole Miss who used to make me biscuits and gravy when ever I would stop buy. She was a sweetheart. Ahh Geez now Im really jonesin'

jimmyb

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#179989 - 10/01/13 09:37 AM Re: Backpack butter [Re: jimmyb]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Hey, Gang-

Some of us are missing Jack L's intent. He wants to enjoy fresh butter (to eat) and fresh buttermilk (for cooking) on the trail. Maybe he also wants the novelty of the back-to-basics aspect of making his own food from scratch, like pioneers of yore. If you saw what he posted about his cooking gear, you will see that he is not going for SUL backpacking. I figured out how I could steam-bake muffins and the like in my tiny Vienna sausage can pot 15-20 years ago. I also decided that it wasn't worth the time and fuel for my hikes of 3-4 days between resupplies. I can get fresh stuff near trail heads and pretty much stick to eating my precooked and dehydrated meals from little bags. That works for me. Jack L is sharing what is working for him.

Let him hike his own hike.

Camper Mom

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#180079 - 10/04/13 09:49 PM Re: Backpack butter [Re: CamperMom]
Jackamo Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 50
Loc: Central Oregon
Thanks, CamperMom, you're pickin up what I'm puttin down smile
_________________________
He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.
-Samuel Johnson

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