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Historical Museum

Located in La Conner
"Come to the top of the hill for a spectacular view of Skagit County history"
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Cheese maker

Cheese was an important food for early settlers. It was good and nutritious and almost everyone had a cow.

Cheese is made when milk thickens or curdles so that it forms into curds (milky white lumps) and whey (a thin liquid).

Here is one way to make a cream cheese from an 1874 recipe:

Cream Cheese Recipe

1. Put five quarts of the last milking of a cow, called "strippings," in a pan with two spoons of rennet.
2. When the curd comes strike it down with the skimmer to break it.
3. Let it stand two hours;
4. Spread a cheese cloth on a sieve and drain upon it;
5. Break the curd a little with your hand;
6. Put it into a vat with a 2 lb. weight upon it.
7. After standing 12 hours, bind a fillet round.
8. Turn every day till dry;
9. Cover with green leaves, and let them gradually ripen on a pewter plate.

The cheese maker pictured is the "vat" in the recipe. It is made of wood with copper bands with holes on the sides. When the curd is pressed with a heavy object, the extra whey flows out into a bowl. S.F. Johnson made it for family use at his home in Harmony.

Here's a cheese making recipe you can try: