Just like in your great-grandmother's time, it is not necessary to put butter in the refrigerator. I will show you how to seal it so the butter stays fresh on the table- just as your great-grandmother did.
There is a shelf stable cream that you can add to your food storage program that works well to make butter. With this type of cream you can even make (and eat) butter without using electricity! I have purchased and used this cream. It is delicious, good for cooking and makes good whipped cream as well as great butter. I would take a picture of one of my boxes, but I am out at the moment. I usually don't purchase it in the summer because it has to be shipped to my area. In the heat, I am afraid it will go bad. You can purchase it in stores if you live in Utah. I will resupply my stock come fall.
Here is a picture of the type of cream I use. I purchased mine from here.
The first step is to prepare the cream. If using cream from the store, let it sit out on the counter until it is almost room temperature. If using shelf stable cream, refrigerate it until it is chilled. If you don't want to chill it, that is OK, it will just take longer to turn to butter.
I usually make butter in a quart canning jar. This makes it easy to see what is happening throughout the butter making process. Fill the jar half way with cream. Whatever container you use, don't fill it more than half way because the cream will expand to fill the jar as you are making the butter. Here is my glass jar.
When you take the butter out of the jar, place it in a bowl of cool water. You can also add a few pieces of ice to the water the first few times you make butter. This will firm the butter up a bit and give you better control over it. After you have a bit of experience, you won't need the ice.
Next, wash the butter. You must wash the butter to get all the buttermilk out. This is not a step you can skip. The butter will not be edible if you don't wash it. (Ask me how I know this!)
To wash the butter, you are going to knead it in the water until the water turns milky white. You can do this one of two ways - you can knead it by hand or you can use the back of the spoon to press the butter against the side of the bowl. When I first started making butter, I would knead by hand. Now, I use the spoon and press the butter against the bowl. A slotted spoon is key here as it makes the work go faster. Our great-grandmothers would wash their butter on a butter table and squeeze the buttermilk out with a rolling pin.
Now, it is time to drain the water from the butter. At this stage in the process I put my butter on a sheet of freezer paper. If you chill the butter now, the water will pool out faster. However, it isn't necessary. I place mine on a cookie sheet at a slight angle and let it drain.
Once the butter is drained and salted to taste, transfer it to a storage container. If you want to put it in the refrigerator, you can use any kind of container. If you want to leave the butter on your counter or kitchen table, you should place it in a butter crock. You can purchase a butter crock from many different places over the Internet. You can find more information about a butter crock here. This is my butter crock. The butter goes in the top piece. The bottom is filled with water. When you place the two pieces together, the water creates a seal around the butter keeping it fresh.
And there you have it! Your own homemade butter!