Friday, April 13, 2012

Make you own _____

You know what has been really irritating me lately? FOOD PRICES! For crying out loud they are going through the roof. I have no idea why, but I am not amused. I went to buy bread the other day, and anything with at least 3 grams of fiber was $5 or more. Five dollars! Maybe a year ago it was $3. Now you're lucky to find it at $3 on sale!

We go on and on about the obesity epidemic in this country, but I don't know how people are supposed to eat healthy when good-for-you bread is $5 a loaf and the Wonderbread is $2. If you were a family living paycheck to paycheck, which one do you think you would choose?

And EGGS! Since when does it cost $3 a dozen for eggs at the grocery store!?

So. I'm on a mission to find ways around this. My first step was yogurt. I love, love, love greek yogurt. And I love how much protein it has in it and how few calories. I read an article the other day, those yoplait yogurts have 25 grams of sugar! What the heck?!

So, last year my Mom gave me a book called the Locavore's Kitchen. I remember getting it and thinking it was a really cool idea, but I hadn't had a chance to open it just yet. However, I did yesterday. And low and behold there was a recipe for make your own yogurt. It was easy. It only took two ingredients, and it gave you about a half gallon of yogurt for probably $4.

Homemade Yogurt
makes about 2 quarts

1/2 gallon of milk, any kind that you'd like
6 ounces (about 6T) of plain yogurt with live and active cultures

Pour the milk into a large stainless steel pot. Place over medium to medium-low heat and gently heat until the milk is frothy, stirring occasionally. This will take about 15-20 minutes (I think it took me more like 30, but I was probably being overly careful about not burning it). Use a reliable instant read thermometer (I have an infared candy thermometer I used) to check the temperature occasionally. When the temperature reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the pot from the heat and set aside to cool.  (This is all done to kill any untoward bacteria in the milk that may prevent your cultures from doing their thing).

After about 30 minutes, check the temperature of the milk. When the temperature has reached between 110 and 115 degrees, stir in the plain yogurt until completely blended.

Pour the mixture into two clean, sterilized quart jars, or two 16-ounce plastic yogurt containers. (Just make sure you wash whatever it is you're putting it into really well with soap and hot water and completely dry it.) Seal with tight fitting lids.

Cover the jars with a heavy towel and let sit undisturbed in a warm part of the kitchen for 8 hours or overnight. (I put them on the stove with an old bath towel over them. I kept the temperature in the house at 68 overnight). The yogurt will have thickened. Place in the refrigerator to chill. Before using, give the yogurt a good stir. This will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Make sure to set aside 6 tablespoons of this yogurt to make your next batch. You can keep it in the freezer for several months, just thaw it in the refrigerator the night before you want to use it.

I was skeptical about whether or not it would work. But, low and behold, this morning I had yogurt that was delicious with some homemade granola, strawberries and honey:) May I never have to buy yogurt at the grocery store ever again.

They suggested draining a portion of it with a fine sieve lined with a coffee filter for a few hours if you wanted to use it in a sauce and needed it to be thicker.

My next step is going to be bread. The price of bread is really annoying to me. There is a recipe in that same cookbook for an easy wheat bread. If I baked two loaves, I wonder how long that would last us. Maybe two weeks since it's just the two of us? Could I make bread twice a month? I don't know really, but I'm going to try.

I am also going to try butter. I found a recipe online and there is one in my Locavore's Kitchen. I don't know if making butter would save you much money, but my friend Rachel did it and she said it is better than any butter she has ever tasted in her entire life. And you get buttermilk after you make butter, which means that you can make buttermilk pancakes or waffles, which is always a plus.

There about about a million different recipes in this book talking all about how to eat what is in season in Ohio. And how to best preserve it. That is another thing I'm going to do more of this year - preserving. I am bound and determined to find an inexpensive place to buy produce and to stock up.

Sorry to vent. It is obnoxious though. How is anyone supposed to make a living or get ahead in this country if food prices are going up by 50% over the course of two years?


Tammie said...

I thought you would like that cookbook and it is by someone from my Alma Mater.. OU...that is one reason I got it....sounds like a great book, I think I will try the yogurt. Food prices are crazy, I have started buying already ground coffee, Wegman's brand b/c bean coffee is absolutely ridiculous. Also, I am checking my produce very closely for prince, I will eat asparagus now but not if I have to pay $5.00 a bunch for it. BTW, Dad who sources ingredients knew that prices on everything were going to go sky high...

Tammie said...

price... why don't I preview before I hit Publish?

KB said...

I know, asparagus was going to $1.99 a pound since it's in season. I was eating it like mad becuase I like it so much, but I totally agree - $5 a pound is highway robbery!

They say coffee prices are going up because coffee is becoming so much more popular. Not just in this country (just think how much money Starbucks makes) but around the world, in places like China where no one used to drink coffee.

The most annoying part to me is that you know that whenever whatever it is that is causing the prices to go up so high is over, the prices may come down, but not to where they were before. It's like gas. They never fully recovered after Hurricaine Katrina, they got a bit better but by then people were used to paying $3.25 a gallon, so why go back to $2.25? Just go to $2.75 and everyone is happy. Ridiculous. But, it makes you think long and hard about what you buy, and about just how much of this world is yours to have.