Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(Late) GratiTuesday and some fun with dairy

I've got a bad head/chest cold and am running at turtle speed this week. I put Vicks on my feet and wore socks to bed last night, and slept surprisingly well (we swear by that trick in this house).

Things we're grateful for this week:
  1. Vicks Vaporub
  2. Despite the snowy weather, I was pleasantly surprised at how many of my items sold at the the consignment sale last week. I had a few of the kids' clothing items in it, and didn't have to bring much home. Now I need to start hunting for Spring/Summer clothes and shoes for the trio.
  3. Brent installed a "grow light" for my seed-planting project downstairs, and the seeds are doing great! I'll post pictures soon.

Now for a little kitchen fun!

First, the kids can eat almost a quart (yes, 32 oz.) of yogurt in one sitting. I read that you can make your own, so I gave it a try. Here's how:

Slowly bring 1/2 gallon whole milk to 190 degrees. Let cool to 110 degrees. Into a small amount of the warm milk, mix one packet unflavored gelatin and 4 Tablespoons plain yogurt (with active cultures). You can also add sugar and vanilla, if desired (I did). Stir this mixture into the rest of the milk. Cover and keep in a warm place (I turned the oven on to 200 degrees, shut it off, wrapped the pot with a large towel and put into the oven) for 8-12 hours. If you like it thicker, you can try to strain it through cheesecloth or a clean white kitchen towel. Here's how it looked afterwards:

The verdict? The taste was surprisingly good, but the consistency was too thin. In my opinion, it's WAY too much work unless you have a lot of milk that you need to use up or need to use a different kind of milk (goat, etc.) for food allergies.

Next up: Homemade butter! I heard about this and had to see it for myself. Put a quart of heavy whipping cream into a food processor, and turn it on for 10 minutes.

You'll be left with quite a bit of liquid (buttermilk!)--drain that off and add 1 teaspoon of salt.

Verdict? The finished result is FABULOUS, but not at all cost-effective (unless you have some heavy whipping cream to use up). The cost of the whipping cream was $3.20/quart, and left me with an average-sized tub of butter. This would be a neat project to show kids how butter is made, though! It would also be tasty if flavored with herbs from your garden or neat to form into fancy butter molds for a party. (p.s.--Yes, I realize that there is a whole table-full of my farm-raised ancestors sitting around a table drinking coffee in Heaven laughing at me for "just now figuring out" how butter was made.) In all seriousness, I'd love to have a couple of dairy cows and some chickens...but we'd need to move.

Today's blog post should have been sponsored by the National Dairy Council.


Jen said...

You are very advantageous! I love it! I wish I was more willing to try to figure out how things were made and give it a try...if it looks or sounds remotely difficult I move on. LOL! I guess I don't like to challenge myself enough...sad. Maybe I should make a late new years resolution huh?!

amblack said...

Jen P. that is why you need to come see me this summer when we are is a lot of work, but the payoff is WONDERFUL. I donated two "taste of summer"(6 jars of homemade canned goodies each) baskets to a benefit auction a couple of weeks ago and surprisingly they brought $21.00 and $34.00. People just don't take advantage of what we have in front of us. It is such a great feeling to "make" your own goods. So proud of you Jenny for giving both the yogurt (of which I would have never tried, haha) and the butter a whirl.

Jen said...

I would LOVE to learn how to can things!!!