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Barrel Butter Churn
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Title: Barrel Butter Churn
Identifier: 981.9.1
Donor: Ena McNeice
Item Date: 1850-1910
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: Barrel-type churn. The barrel is secured with 4 metal bands. One end of the barrel has an iron centre marked 'The Leader Churn' and the other end has an iron lid. The barrel is set on an iron frame with a large curved handle and a pedal at the side. The pedal has the word 'Leader' on it.

The majority of farm families in Upper Canada owned a cow in order to produce milk. Milk was an essential product in many pioneer family lives. With milk, families could make butter as milk soured in less than a day prior to refrigeration. A small churn was used to make butter for the family. Milk was poured into a crock pot and left in a cool place (either in the barn, away from sunlight and thirsty animals) or in the root cellar for a day. This allowed the cream to rise to the top. The cream was then skimmed off and churned usually by the children with a butter churn. After fifteen to twenty minutes, the contents of the churn were dumped into a wooden bowl. Using a spoon to hold the butter in place, the wooden bowl was tipped to allow the unchurned buttermilk to drain off. This step was repeated until all the liquid was drained. Finally, salt was sprinkled in liberally to delay decomposition. For information on making butter, see: Bobbie Kalman "Food for Settlers" (New York: Crabtree, 1982).
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