First on my “things to try” list was making butter so I stocked up on cream and had a go.
First of all let me say the cream was expensive! I used 4 600ml pots of Tesco double cream which was £3 for two pots – so £6 in total for my cream, this just made me glad I hardly ever buy cream!
You will also need a food mixer, a sieve, a few different bowls, a sterilised jar of some kind for the buttermilk and some greaseproof paper to wrap the butter in.
First of all pour your cream into the mixing bowl (I had to do this n two batches as there was too much to fit in one load. Then begin to mix on a medium setting, the cream will stiffen
Then the fat globules will begin to separate and the buttermilk will start to pool in the bowl.
Continue to mix until there is a reasonable amount of milk in the bowl then place all of the butter and milk into the sieve and drain off the milk into a bowl.Once you have done this once put the bowl of butter back on the mixer and mis again for a minute before repeating the draining process. Next run cold water over the butter and squeeze the butter with your hands to get the remaining buttermilk out, do this twice each time draining the water and replacing it with fresh cold water.Once the water is clear (so not buttermilk is left) shape your butter into the shape and size you want and wrap for the fridge.
In the end I made about 1.2kg of butter and 700ml of buttermilk from my cream. Tesco English Unsalted butter is £1 for 250g so my butter was worth just under £5. St Ivel buttermilk is 50p for 284ml so my buttermilk was worth just under £1.50.So for my £6 of cream I got £6.50 of butter and buttercream – so pretty much broke even. It does taste really fresh and actually making it felt like watching a little bit of magic happen!
Lets see how many I can have a go at this year!
Grow veg in the garden
Grow salad in the garden
Sew some clothes!
Make my own kitchen cloths
Crochet blankets for Christmas – one for each child
Make my own soap
Put together a proper first aid kit
Yesterday I realised we are nearly out of liquid soap in the bathrooms. This was my first opportunity to put into practice my less is more philosophy so I hit google.
Starting on this website http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ I looked into the ingredients in my current soap, as it turned out it wasn’t great – I think I had actually picked the worst one I could possibly find (oh dear). So then I started to look at some of the other liquid soaps available and they were pretty similar.
I finally found glycerin soap bars which seemed a lot better and so for now I have settled on glycerin soap for the bathrooms and some liquid castille soap for making into shower gels etc.
SO fewer strange sounding ingredients and I actually saved about £4 as well.
More info when they arrive!.
I have started looking into making soap as well so perhaps a further soap change will be coming!
When I look around my home I see a sea of modernity, truth be told the plastic toys and kitchen cupboards full of ready made “ease of use” ingredients make me feel comfortable – “how lucky I am to be able to afford all of these” I think to myself. At the back of my mind though, I wonder is this best for us? for my children?. Are the chemicals I lather over them at every bathtime really the best way to care for them? Is the mass of rubbish we put out for the bin men each week really how necessary?. Our family is known for our constant sickness with 5 children in school and nursery we seem to pick up every bug, cold and virus going perhaps our lifestyle contributes to our apparent love of illness!
As a family we LOVE technology, we make a living from it and our house is a shrine to the god of computing but does this mean we can’t also live a life that is more natural and less damaging to the world around us. I intend to find out.We have already been transitioning to a diet with fewer processed foods (I have already lost 12 pounds simply doing this) we have also begun growing our own food in small quantities. Over the next year I am going to try and replace as many mass produced or non natural products as I can with more natural items, either from natural materials or handmade. I am also going to try and reduce waste by recycling and reusing as much as possible.
I am no expert, I have no idea what I am doing or how this is going but I just can get rid of the feeling that there must be a better way for us to live and that the cycle of illness, allergies, waste and dare I say it financial strain must be a symptom of our lifestyle rather than of living itself.
I should probably add I am not great at housekeeping, cooking, gardening or most crafts. I can crochet, but my skill pretty much ends there so this is going to be a challenge.
So here I go off into the first day of the experiment and already i realise that the disposable nappies are going to have to go arent they? gulp!