Pictured: Not a butter mold.
A few weeks back, 52 ran into a gentleman who works for an oil company in the area. They struck up a conversation and found they knew a few people in common, and eventually it turned out that, in fact, he drives down our rocky dirt road every day in his business overseeing the tending of various wells–and sees me milking Beulah Petunia down in the meadow bottom every morning. (It’s a small town, in a small county, in a small state. The six degrees of separation are generally limited to one or two around here before you find out how you already know someone.)
This got him to reminiscing about the cow they had when he was growing up, and the homemade butter his mother made. It must be difficult to have had fresh butter and milk and cheese and all the other wonderful things you can have on a farm….and then one day not have them anymore. He said he’d sure love to have some homemade butter again.
About a week later, he happened to come by on the road on his regular route visiting the various remote wells out here and came across 52 working on the new pasture fencing. He whipped this pig scraper (pictured above) out of his truck and said he just thought Suzanne would like to have it.
I’m not sure if I should be flattered or frightened that he thought of me when he saw a pig scraper. It’s a sorta kinda interesting albeit grotesque device that was used to scrape the hair off a pig after it met its end. This is a genuine vintage pig scraper, so I suppose I might turn it into a primitive decoration.
So another week or two goes by and he finds 52 on the road working on the pasture fencing again (yeah, 52 spent a LOT OF TIME working on the pasture fencing!) and this time he whips out this butter mold. Said he found it an antique shop in Ohio and thought Suzanne would like to have it.
I figure one of these days he’s gonna actually come on up to the house for some butter.
Or some pig hair.
Of course, I already have a trick butter bell, so what do I need with a butter mold? Honestly, I didn’t even know there were butter molds. I’ve been making my own farm-fresh butter for several months now, but just before we got the cow, we happened to have stocked up on butter, so the past few months I’ve been using some fresh butter, and some leftover store-bought butter. When I have found myself most often reaching for the store-bought butter is when I’m a hurry, fixing a recipe that calls for a stick of butter, or half stick of butter. It’s simpler to reach for a pre-measured stick than measure out from my fresh butter tubs. I’m down to the last handful of butter sticks and was mourning the ease of them just a little bit when here comes this butter mold falling in my lap. Why, I can make my own stick butter!
So I set to work deciphering the anatomical, geometrical, and metaphysical properties of my new butter mold in my Stringtown Rising Farm laboratory.
In other words, I put half a cup of water in a measuring cup and poured it into the butter mold to see how much it filled it up.
I want to make 4-ounce sticks of butter for baking use.
I eyeballed it, poured the water back out, dried it off, and loaded in the softened butter.
I figured that was pretty close to how much the 1/2 cup water filled it up.
I chilled the butter to harden it and took it back out of the mold. (It popped out easily once it was cold. It’s butter–it’s self-greasing.)
Okay, so it doesn’t look as “perfect” in shape as the store-bought stick butter, but that store-bought stick hasn’t seen a cow in so long, it wouldn’t recognize a moo if it heard one. Besides, I’m calling this homemade butter stick a primitive craft. That makes it perfect.
It also fits just right in a standard-size butter dish, should I want to use that sometimes for serving. (There’s room to put the lid on without squishing it.)
To store my stick butter, I’m wrapping it in parchment paper. I can keep several together in a small baggie, and now I can have my handy pre-measured sticks and my farm-fresh butter, too!
Just don’t ask me to do anything with the pig scraper….
Victoria Sturdevant says:
I think you should weigh you butter. A stick should be four ounces. It would probably only matter in some recipes but technically the accurate way. 🙂
On July 8, 2010 at 2:58 am
Jersey Lady says:
My old butter mold is wooden, round, and has a cow carved into it so on the top of the molded butter is a cow. I have seen rectangle ones too. They both have plungers in the top so you can push the molded butter out.
On July 8, 2010 at 3:13 am
Karen Anne says:
Tell 52 to tell the guy to stop by for butter etc. the next time he sees him. I mean, how much of a hint do you need ? 🙂
So, what happened to the neighbor who was going to milk BP one or two days a week?
On July 8, 2010 at 3:23 am
Suzanne McMinn says:
Karen Anne, she’s not doing it anymore, but that’s okay, I’ve gotten to where I handle doing it every day myself really well.
On July 8, 2010 at 6:30 am
I think it looks neat and your new freind is just homesick for the old days. I would have never guessed that was a butter mold. Mine is wood and round with a swan on the top. I think it is excellant that you can make your butter premeasured. You can freeze it in sticks now for baking this winter.
On July 8, 2010 at 5:21 am
B. Ruth says:
My butter mold is wooden and round with a flower design in the plunger…and a little bit “wompy” from moisture and drying all these years ago…
also have a square one with a leafy like design in the plunger…it is held together with wire wrapped around it…must have been a favorite mold of someone…
but you know I have never seen a square tall butter dish that this square size molded butter would fit in. Only have a couple of the old round glass butter dishes….I have a very small round crock, that used to have a wooden lid.. one that a grandmother used for butter…don’t know if it is an official one or not but that is what it was used for..Seems to me that there would be a lot of little crocks around to hold butter, since so much butter was churned in tall crocks with would lids and plungers?
On July 8, 2010 at 7:32 am
B. Ruth says:
In the last sentence…that “would” should be “wood”, wouldn’t you think? LOL
On July 8, 2010 at 7:36 am
Never seen a butter mold like this one. I have 2 wooden ones and have seen square ones but all were wooden.
Maybe you could measure your butter by using a i cup seasuring cup with 1/2 c water in it then adding butter until is displaces the water to 1 cup and then put it into the mold. This seem a little more accurate the eye balling the level on the mold. Just a suggestion that possibly you have already tried.
On July 8, 2010 at 7:40 am
Angela Bethea says:
Not understanding why you put water in the butter dish to measure butter????
Give the poor guy a break and give him some butter, the only thing left for him to do is come and knock on the door.
My grandmother had a wooden butter mold that had a bouquet of strawberry blossoms & some berries on the bottom. Sure do miss seeing it at the table.
Take care, Angela B.
On July 8, 2010 at 7:44 am
Suzanne McMinn says:
I’d be happy to give him some butter–he never comes up to the house!
On July 8, 2010 at 8:03 am
I thought perhaps it was a hint that he had told 52 he’d like some farm fresh butter….
On July 8, 2010 at 8:14 am
Looks like 52 has some competition! :yes: Now you have 2 men giving you gifts!
On July 8, 2010 at 8:17 am
You are so lucky to be surrounded by such good people! I love the look of the butter–it looks homemade. I would rather have unperfectly molded butter that tasted awesome and that you know what the cow ate than what we can get in the grocery store.
On July 8, 2010 at 8:46 am
Hey give Suzanne a break, she’s MILKING this for all it’s worth! (Ha, ha, ha I know…bad joke!)
Yep, I think it’s time to give the guy some butter. He’ll use it all up and be back for more with even bigger and better gifts! 🙂
On July 8, 2010 at 8:48 am
I dunno, you might hold out for a week more weeks before you give the guy some butter; no telling what gifts he might bring before it’s all over with. Maybe a pig! To scrape! After you’ve raised it! And, ehm, sacrificed it!
Not until this very moment, and I mean for YEARS, have I ever even thought about the fact that my grandmother had butter molds. She would churn by hand and then pack the butter into these wooden molds of different shapes. My favorite was a round one that left an impression of wheat sheaves when she unmolded it. But she had square and rectangular ones, too.
On July 8, 2010 at 10:39 am
Nic, SD says:
That was totally my guess, should’ve thrown it out there, but I was like, “what would Suzanne need a stick butter mold for???”
On July 8, 2010 at 10:57 am
For those inquiring about water in measuring cup. If you need 1/3 C. Fill a measuring cup to 2/3 C with water. Place (butter – lard – crisco) until the water comes up to one cup, PRESTO remove the water and you have 1/3 C without any guess work.
On July 8, 2010 at 11:02 am
Of course, you know this means that 52 spent a great deal of time telling this man all about YOU. That’s pretty sweet. :heart:
On July 8, 2010 at 11:03 am
This post brings back memories. My grandpa used to check on the wells out that same road and I used to go with him when I was visiting.
And I think the man deserves some butter, definitely!
On July 8, 2010 at 11:20 am
So many have said give the poor man the butter, and I know you will, but I like the one post about waiting so you may get more great items from him! wink wink!! :snoopy:
On July 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm
How totally cool. Even the pig scraper. I think you have an admirer or a man who really really wants some fresh butter.
On July 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm
Now does that pig scraper have bristles under the round part? If not how do you scrape a pig?? Also, I have never seen a butter mold so I really can’t comment on that but it is very interesting. Next time I go to the antique shops I will look for one but probably won’t buy it. I love the old time stuff! :shroom:
On July 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm
I recognized the pig scraper right away. Have used it on a few pigs, growing up…you just hold it in the appropriate hand (right or left handed) After the pig is scalded the hair becomes easier to remove. You tilt the handle away from you and scrape with the edge of the scraper. Once you get the hang of it, its not too hard.
On July 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm
Linda C says:
I knew it was a pig scraper, too. We used them when we butchered hogs. The metal edge scrapes the hair right off the hog. Then there’s no hair cooking in the lard kettle. Could you use your new butter mold to measure lard, too? :hungry:
On July 9, 2010 at 6:28 am
Karen Anne says:
Of course, he doesn’t come up to the house, he doesn’t know you and 52 probably hasn’t thought to invite him. Poor guy,desperately wanting butter and too polite to do more than bring presents…
On July 9, 2010 at 6:28 am
How cool, a butter mold, my grandma had round glass ones.
On July 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm
The guy doesnt come up to the house to give u your gifts cuz he doesnt want to seem inappropriate,he’s waiting for 52 to invite him. Think he’s just being respectful. Just being friendly and sounds like a generous person.
On July 10, 2010 at 8:44 am
This is a great story. I would like to do what you are doing. Right now, I am not able to step back in time and enjoy all of the fresh farm products. I will continue to dream and keep reading your wonderful post. Thank you so much for letting us into you life. The butter looks great.
On July 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm
What a wonderful story! This guy sounds like a keeper! You might want to keep 52 out making/fixing fence indefinitely so you’ll score more goodies!
On July 15, 2010 at 11:35 am
Tebbels McComas says:
love the old ways of doing things, I cant remember a butter mold when i was a kid, my grandparents lived in a log cabin, no running water, we carried it from the spring in 5 gal buckets, and did the pig scrapping, we used a big knife, and made butter but didn’t have a mold, but we had lots of love. Grand pa is gone now and grandma is still here but, her mind is not what we all would like for it to be, she does still have good days when she can tell us lots of stories of when she was younger, at almost 80 they are some kinds of tells. I have started teaching my girls what i can remember of what i learnt from her, but as a young person, i didn’t pay alot of attention the way i wish i had. Enjoy all the old good stuff and remember to pass it on or it will be gone forever. Keep on posting I love them.
On January 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm
holstein woman says:
This reminds me of how desperately I searched my kitchen for something to use for a butter mold. I remember my Grandmothers, It had a cluster of nuts in the plunger. I have looked high and low for one like it, but no cigar. When I find one I will probably buy it. You know Suzanne, that would be a good giveaway. A butter mold, I have to look for a stick one also, so I can stop measuring and just cut. Good idea, wonderful post. THANK YOU :chef:
On February 1, 2011 at 9:08 am