Monday, June 20, 2016

Skim milk and buttermilk

Where does each come from?  The cream is skimmed off the cooling milk with a skimmer and what remains is skim milk.  Then, after churning, the butter is removed and buttermilk remains in the churn.

Where was each popular?  Ireland - skim milk; Cheshire - buttermilk; but in southern England, buttermilk was avoided. Skim milk for calves; buttermilk for pigs.  Cream or whole milk to make butter...

From a letter - Charring Cross, May 30, 1855, in The Farmer’s Magazine

"the demand for skim or buttermilk, and our ability to turn either of these important residues to advantage. In Ireland, for instance, the taste for skim milk is almost national, and it is extensively used in all private families, and in the numerous public establishments, such as barracks, workhouses, and gaols, that unfortunately exist there. In Cheshire, on the other hand, buttermilk is universally consumed by the farmers' families, and their servants, and others. In the south of England, again, this is a beverage almost entirely avoided. 

Now every practical dairyman will readily perceive that the ability to sell skim milk in one place, and buttermilk in another, or to feed calves profitably with the former, or pigs with the latter, must have an important share in forming a decision whether to churn from the whole milk, or from the cream alone

©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
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