Clabberville Road ~ Ray City, GA

Clabberville Road

On the south side of Ray City, GA there lies an east-west road today known as Johnson Street, but back in the day this byway was known as Clabberville Road.  Rozzie Swindle had a farm out this road, and it was their dairy activities from which the name Clabberville arose. The Swindles raised cows, and chickens and livestock of all kinds. They sold eggs, butter, and milk  and also clabber, which they produced from the milk.  Clabber was similar to yogurt, although when yogurt was first introduced in the U.S. the comparison was made in the other direction.  To make clabber, fresh milk was strained through a cheesecloth, into crockery bowls which were then placed in a “safe”, a screen enclosure to keep out the flies.  This sweet, unpasteurized milk sat overnight and the next morning the cream was skimmed off the top. Below the cream was the sweet clabber, a semi-congealed yogurt like mass.  The cream was churned into butter.  The clabber was placed into jars and sold.  Effie Knight, of Ray City, GA always used clabber in her biscuit recipe.   The Swindle place was known throughout the area as the source for sweet clabber, which in turn became the origin of the name of Clabberville Road.  Later, one of the Swindle girls married into the Johnson family, and the road subsequently became known as Johnson Street.

What is Clabber?

 “Every one knows that butter is the solid, fatty part of the milk, separated from the fluid portion by churning. But the skim milk, or even the buttermilk, contains a large percentage of white, solid matter, which develops when the milk is permitted to turn to clabber, as a Georgia farmer would call it, but curds, in the language of the cheese-maker. Those who are familiar with clabber, know that if cut in pieces with a spoon, or knife, a large quantity of watery fluid, or whey, separates from the more solid portion. This solid part, when deprived of all the whey, and salted and pressed, is cheese.  The aim of the cheese-maker is to cause his milk to “turn,” or become clabber, without undergoing the souring process.

Sweet clabber was a popular food in the south; in the north it was thought fit only for pigs. Still, clabber was often popularized for its healthful benefits. With the rise of pasteurization the making of clabber virtually stopped, except on farms that had easy access to unprocessed cow’s milk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.