Saturday, February 28, 2009


Do we give a thought to the pureness of the foods we buy at the market? Perhaps we do when there are recalls, as there have been recently. Terrible thing to have someone die because of bad food products. Yet, do we think about when all these guidelines were implemented?

There wasn't always a cream grading system and the good dairy men's public enemy was bad cream. A law was finally passed by the state legislature with the backing of the dairymen and Minnesota Farm Bureau. It would be set up in three grades. It was a way to get the dirty and badly flavored off the market.

Grade sweet cream
These were to be fresh, clean, and fine flavored with 2-10% acidity

Grade one sweet cream
No more than 6-10% acidity

Grade two sweet cream
May contain odors and flavors in moderation; greater than 10% acidity

Unlawful cream contained filth, foreign bodies, and dirt. No, I am not kidding that is what is says. Honest!!! It was not fit for humans.

Now, when the cream came in to be graded, if it was unlawful that is, bad cream, the creamery put coloring in it to mark it as unfit. The coloring was not poison, just coloring to make sure no one was unknowingly buying bad cream. This meant, of course, that the containers they were in were also marked with some sort of tag. Remember too, cream was picked up at the depot by the Soo Line and brought in to be graded. Of course, in order to be credited for your cream, your name was included. I wonder how long it took to get the feel for the people trying to sell bad cream? Don't you suppose there was some sort of a 'black list'?

In order to make this new state law effective they needed to license creamery operators and buyers. This annual fee was one dollar and one needed to prove you knew how to grade it and know how to judge the butter fat content. Wait!! There is more! They also had to test each patron's cream each month. If they, as the buyer, failed to do so, they lost their license to practice creamery, (couldn't help it) and were subject to a fine of $25-100.

"It is said that bad cream makes bad butter, and many people in other states prefer oleo. The average per capital consumption of butter of the nation is 18 pounds annually. In Minnesota, it is 28 pounds. If the national average could be increased to the Minnesota figure, dairymen would profit greatly and the drive for a better cream supply will help to change the eating habits of the oleo users", said, JB Jones, secretary and legislative representative of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.

My question is, would the cream, shipped without refrigeration show more butterfat? It is a churning question, isn't it?

Let's see if I can find something written for layman's brains about how these pioneers actually checked for butterfat without all the high tech there was available later. Today's research shows several different substances in cream. Just what the operator's tested for is not certain back in the early days.

Here is a list to help you understand just what is in what.

Half and half contains 10.5–18% fat
light cream and sour cream contain 18–30% fat
light whipping cream (often called simply "whipping cream") contains 30–36% fat
heavy cream contains a minimum of 36% fat
Butter (including whipped butter) contains at least 80% fat

Oh yum strawberries and cream!


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