Butter is very easy to make yourself. Until the 19th century, nearly all butter was made at home.

Butter is very easy to make yourself. Until the 19th century, nearly all butter was made at home.

Anything that stirs or agitates cream in a steady, regular way eventually makes butter. People have made butter sitting in a rocking chair with the cream in a jar on their lap. You will need: very cold heavy cream; a large jar with a tight-fitting, screw-top lid; a jug; a wooden board and wooden spoon.

Take cream out of the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature for about 30 minutes (so it doesn't feel cold when you dip your finger in). Pour just enough cream into the jar so it fills no more than one-third of the jar. Leave plenty of air space so that the cream can really move around.

Screw on the lid tightly. Shake the jar up and down so the cream bounces against the lid. Don't stop shaking until butter starts to form. First, you'll feel cream slop around in the jar; then you'll notice it stops slopping and goes silent. At that stage, you just have whipped cream. Keep shaking; it might take 10 to 30 minutes.

When you hear a big lump sloshing around in thin, watery liquid, you've got butter in buttermilk. Open the lid and pour buttermilk into a jug; wash the lump of butter under cold, running water. Fill the jar halfway with fresh, cold water. Return lump of butter to the jar; swirl it around, then drain water away. Repeat until water is clear.

Put the butter lump on the board and press down on it with the back of the spoon (or with your hands) to force out any buttermilk, which if left inside makes butter go sour. Now wrap your butter in wax paper and refrigerate it. Or eat it straight away.

— The Washington Post