Greek Yogurt

After the yogurt posts recently, several have asked about making Greek yogurt.  For any who may have missed the post, I am now using the Cuisinart yogurt maker and I love it! I make a batch of yogurt at least every other day. Several readers ordered this yogurt maker and of those I’ve heard from, all are loving it. It’s probably been a decade since I took antibiotics and I’ve had two rounds in the past month and will probably have to take them again after the lithotripsy next week so I’m eating more yogurt than I would normally be eating, trying to keep the good bugs in my tummy happy.

Yogurt Maker

Yogurt Maker

The Cuisinart yogurt maker makes it so easy to make perfect yogurt, but it does make fairly small batches. I guess that’s good because yogurt, at least homemade, is better if consumed within a couple of days of being made.

Starter for Next Batch

Starter for Next Batch

No matter what type of yogurt I’m going to make, the first thing to do once a batch is made is take out enough for the next batch’s starter.

Yogurt

Yogurt

This is the texture of the yogurt once it’s made. If I want Greek yogurt, I will strain it. There are several strainers available. If you’re a serious Greek yogurt lover and want the best strainer, even though it’s a bit expensive, the bouillon strainer is the best! I bought this strainer hoping it would work for the prickly pear juice so I wouldn’t have to strain through multiple layers of cheese cloth. I’ll have to wait to see how that works but it is amazing for yogurt.

Boullion Strainer

Bouillon Strainer

I simply place the yogurt in the strainer and put the strainer in a big container that will capture the dripping liquid. I covered it with a dish towel and left it in the fridge for 4 or 5 hours.

Yogurt in the Fridge

Yogurt in the Fridge

When all the whey had strained out, I was left with almost a pint of whey and a pint of yogurt. This is from 4 cups of milk.

Yogurt and Whey

Yogurt and Whey

Removing the whey definitely changes the taste of the yogurt a bit. Of course, it makes it thicker but it also makes it less tart.  

So, if I remove the whey, what am I going to do with it? You know I’m not going to pour it down the drain. Yogurt whey is high in calcium so if I have it when the tomatoes are thriving, I’ll pour a little of it around the tomato plants. Some day I’m going to try making ricotta . . maybe I’ll try that next week. Mostly, I just use it in place of water for my breadmaking.

Bread

Bread

For our after work snack today, we had yogurt with prickly pear jelly. That was a good treat and fairly healthy!

 

Prickly Pear Jelly

The prickly pears are ripe and the fields and along side the roads, they are everywhere! It’s so hard to pass them up. Vince has been chomping at the bit to stop every time we see them and I kept telling him . . NO! I still have juice in the freezer from the ton of prickly pear we had last year.

Prickly Pear Juice

Prickly Pear Juice

If you notice, in the jelly recipe in the link, I used 5 cups of juice and 7 cups of sugar, with liquid pectin. For the new batch of jelly, I used 6 cups of juice and 3 cups of sugar, with Pomona’s Pectin. 

Pomona's Pectin

Pomona’s Pectin

If you’ve never tried Pomona’s Pectin, and you’re a jam/jelly maker, you might want to try it. I love that it’s easy to double or triple batches, and you can use way, way less (or even no) sugar. It isn’t easy to find locally (at least not here) and the least expensive place I’ve found to order it is Vitacost. Even though the box of pectin costs more than the pectin most of us are used to using, there’s enough in each box to make 2 to 4 batches of jelly. 

I’m totally out of half pint/jelly jars so you can see I was using everything I had left for the prickly pear jelly.

Prickly Pear Jelly

Prickly Pear Jelly

Five half pints, 3 little bitty jars and one pint. This is some of the best jelly . . and I love that the prickly pears are free!

Kroger had raspberries on sale again last week so I made another batch of raspberry jelly.

Raspberry Jelly

Raspberry Jelly

There are a few seeds in it, but not many. I used the Food Mill and didn’t strain out the seeds, as I wanted a bit of the pulp in the jelly.

We use a lot of jam and jelly since we put it in the yogurt that I make, and I share quite a bit of it with Chad and Nicole so I never mind making more of it.

Sunset

Like so many areas, we have such beautiful sunsets. Depending on the predominant color in the sunset, the whole area has that tint. A couple of days ago, it was pink and, from sitting inside looking out, the whole front yard looked pink. Last night there was an orange hue to everything so I grabbed my camera and went out.

Through the trees, this is what I saw:

Sunset

Sunset

Behind the chicken coops, I saw this:

Sunset

Sunset

From in the middle of the orchard, I saw this:

Sunset

Sunset

As I turned to go back towards home, I was surprised at how dark it was in that direction.

DSC_0045

Sun Has Set

So many thoughts run through my mind at this time of day . . I’m thankful for the beauty of nature and thankful that I see that beauty.  I was thankful to see yesterday end . . it was one of those Mondays when enough happens that you keep waiting to see what else can go wrong before the day ends. I was looking forward to a new day today and right off the bat, we had a dead chicken. That’s always scary when there’s no evidence as to why she died. We’ll be watching the others in the coop to be aware if any of them appear to be sick . . nature can be both beautiful and not so beautiful.