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Butter Press
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Title: Butter Press
Identifier: 2007.1.62.1-2
Donor: Unknown
Item Date: 1890-1910
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Bradley Museum

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Description: A wooden butter press in two parts. .1) A box made from 5 pieces of wood (5 mm to 10 mm wide). The sides and top of the box are put together with dovetail joints. Thin small nails hold the sides and top to the box. There is a 2 cm diameter hole in the top of the box through which the dowel on the press fits. There are some cracks where nails are inserted. .2) The press consists of an 11 x 5 x 2 cm wood block into the centre of which is inserted a wooden dowel (rod) 11 cm high, 1.5 cm in diameter. Two screws protrude 1 cm out of the block on each side of the dowel. A piece of fabric surrounds the dowel where it connects to the block. The block is ridged on the outer side.

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. 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. Butter pats or molds were used frequently to shape butter.

For information on making butter, see: Bobbie Kalman "Food for Settlers" (New York: Crabtree, 1982).
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