Real Food
Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.


Re-hydrated Pasta

pasta twirled around fork 

Lori wrote in to say she was wondering if food prep might be faster if she dehydrated her cooked pasta, and then packaged it for long term storage? She added that instant rice came to mind.

Faster Pasta Prep and Energy/Water Savings

She said it took about three hours to dehydrate her cooked pasta (not surprising, considering the amount of water it absorbs while cooking!) She even tried dehydrating the pasta at different temperatures: 150F and the usual 135F. "Both turned out about the same," Lori noted.

Less Water Is Needed to Rehydrate

Unperturbed, Lori asked around the backpacking circle online and they mentioned that less water is needed to rehydrate it. But, they added, if too little water is used, the noodles get too starchy and they start to stick together.

My thought? Ugh, we can get those kind of results out of a can of spaghetti in tomato sauce!

Lori's Rehydrating Pasta Conclusion

From Lori: "Maybe the real benefit and savings to re-hydrating pasta is with water usage and not fuel consumption. In a particular scenario, like people hiking or camping, and to all those people out east after the hurricane and now have no electricity and their drinking water may be questionable and difficult to acquire, potable water resources could be an issue."

She continues, "I'm guessing that the investment in dehydrating cooked pasta will have value for the weekend warrior or casualties of mother nature - people whose need is outside the box of the typical money-saving homemaker."

To Lori, Her Pasta Trial Was a Success!

She told us, "I only needed to boil one cup of water for my (one) cup of small macaroni pasta - and had a small amount of water leftover! Additionally, the hikers used ziplock-style freezer bags to reconstitute their dehydrated food. This means no pots and pans! After adding water to their ziplock bag, they put the sealed bag into a 'cozy' (used for keeping teapots warm) and this kept the food warm enough until ready to eat."

Let Spaghetti Bolognese 'Stand' Overnight

Nick wrote in from Wales and said, "Cooked up my own spaghetti bolognese and left it to stand overnight to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce before dehydrating. Once dry and brittle, I added boiling water to a vacuum flask and screwed on the lid. Hey presto! I found it to be a successful way to take a nutritious packed lunch to work!"

Since December of 2010, Susan Gast has operated Easy Food Dehydrating, a website dedicated to dehydrating fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooked meats. Susan teaches you how to safely store your goodies too - for long-term food storage. Keep your pantry full - whatever the reason or season! To read all of Susan's posts, please visit this page on MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Photo credit: Pixabay


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Why I Ditched a Food Processor for a Mortar and Pestle, with Recipe for Garlicky Seed and Spice Paste

mortar small

Most avid home cooks have their favorite time-saving gadgets and more often than not, one of them is a food processor. Somehow, I got my first food processor only a few years ago - after an entire adult lifetime of cooking. I was envious of how fast a friend of mine could whip up perfect pesto in such large quantities for freezing (in ice cube trays!). My gadget of choice had been an immersion blender (great for pureed soups) but it had broken for the third time and I was sick of replacing it. My new kitchen workhorse lasted only two years. Then the plastic container cracked and liquids leaked out when I used it.

I was one of the millions of victims of planned obsolescence and was just too mad to shell out the ridiculous amount of money to replace it. It’s in the basement now and I imagine it’ll be there forevermore. Now what?

For years, my husband would brag that his pestos were superior to mine (they were) because he made his the slow “stone-age way”  — with a huge mortar and pestle. We would just have to sit there with our naked pasta until he was quite done with all of that smashing. Now, this massive stone basin was going to be my new food processor and I had to get behind it both figuratively and literally. Actually, this switch fit neatly with a plan to wean our family off of the fossil-fuel-hungry tools of modern life and I have come to understand how every small thing we do makes us braver and more excited for the bigger shifts.

But, there is more than the practical to consider when using a mortar and pestle. So much more.

Pounding garlic and salt, herbs and spices, seeds, nuts, and oils is a full sensory experience — not something a food processor can ever boast with its whiny whir. As the pestle mashes, aromas are released and flavors are compounded to the sound of stone on stone. And, as much as my finger got a workout pressing the button on my old machine, the connection I feel to the food I am making when engaging my arms and hands (and nose), is actually pretty moving.

I might be considered a romantic — I know I am — but when I am making pastes and sauces in my large mortar and pestle, I do feel more connected to the art of cooking and to the many people who have preceded me in the kitchens of the world. And, unlike a food processor, when using a mortar and pestle, that is all you are doing. Your attention is only engaged in doing that one thing - and that one thing is multifaceted. The physical meets creativity as you smell and taste your way through creating something delicious that can elevate even the most simple food.

The following recipe is delicious and versatile. Like the majority of things I make in my pound-o-matic (™), I start this one with garlic and salt. The salt acts as a grit for breaking down the garlic, and from that base, the sky's the limit with nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs. This particular recipe includes our cider syrup - a sweet and tangy pantry staple in this house. Play around with different herbs and spices, replace the cider syrup with lemon juice, or use your favorite nuts or seeds. The process is generally the same but the results will really guide what you are having for dinner tonight!

Garlicky Seed and Spice Paste Recipe

Ingredients:

• 2 cloves garlic, peeled
• ¾ teaspoons of sea or kosher salt - any salt, but fine iodized salt should be reduced to a ½ teaspoon
• ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (hull-less)
• ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (or favorite dried pepper flake)
• 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
• 2 Tablespoons of cider syrup*
• 3 Tablespoons of olive oil (or your favorite healthy oil, such as avocado or sunflower)
• 3-5 Tablespoons of  water

Directions:

Wear an apron. Pound garlic and salt into a paste. Meanwhile, toast the seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until they begin to pop and get a little toasty looking. Give them a shake every 30 seconds or so to avoid scorching.

Add cooled seeds, paprika, cilantro, and cider syrup to the garlic and salt paste.  Pound and grind until the consistency is a thick paste. Add the oil and 3 tablespoons of water and gently pound/mix to incorporate and emulsify. Start slowly so as not to splatter the contents all over you and the work surface and grind and stir more vigorously as it comes together.

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This gorgeous and rich pesto/paste can be used all week long to make meals more interesting and delicious. These particular flavors really lend themselves to Mexican cooking, so make a quick meal by spreading some on a warm or fried tortilla with cheese and a cabbage slaw! You can mix a spoonful into mayonnaise for a sandwich spread that’ll make you cry, or use that same mixture as a dip for steamed artichokes or roasted potatoes. Add a little more water to make a garnish for vegetable soups or chili, or even stir it into pasta with a handful of shredded cheese. You’ll see what I mean.

Spoon the mixture into a jar and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. It’ll keep at least a week.

rsz_jarredpaste

*Cider syrup (aka boiled cider) is easy to make at home simply by boiling sweet cider until it is reduced into a thick syrup. Of course, we walk you through it in our Ciderhouse Cookbook: 127 Recipes That Celebrate the Sweet, Tart, Tangy Flavors of Apple Cider. You can also buy our cider syrup at Carr’s Ciderhouse.

Jonathan Carr and Nicole Blum co-own Carr’s Ciderhouse, where they produce natural hard cider from sustainably-grown apples and other delicious, traditional cider products. Their goods have been featured by the likes of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Yankee Magazine, Real Simple, Food and Wine, Town and Country, and Cidercraft. They are the authors of Ciderhouse Cookbook (Storey Publishing, 2018). Connect with Jonathan and Nicole on Instagram and Facebook. Read all of their MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

The Secret to Affording Organic Food, Part 2: Grow Sprouts and Buy in Bulk + Top 14 Cheapest Fresh Foods

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This article is about trying your best to cut expenses, by buying within your budget and keeping a happy healthy home with low-stress (which eliminates traveling an extra 30 minutes to shop at a special organic store).

I've been feeling my heart go out to those families who are struggling to feed themselves healthy, organic foods. Maybe that includes you. Maybe it doesn’t! Some of us don’t even think about not being able to afford top-quality foods. A lot of us take it for granted. The families who live in food deserts face it every day.

That feeling of guilt and frustration.

How to keep your family healthy while still paying the bills?

And how to entice older kids who are used to “fast” food and processed stuff to eat wholesome foods? Well, that’s a whole other topic. But it starts with making healthy purchase decisions + trying your best to grow some food yourself.

Grow Food in Your Kitchen!

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Before we get to good purchasing decisions, I want to encourage you to try sprouting your own microgreens in your kitchen. I do this without running water out in the bush! So it’s possible to do sprouting with very little fuss, and it greatly contributes to feeding your family the best, healthiest foods.

I mentioned in my last article that sprouting your own microgreens or sprouts is so easy and cheap. Anyone can do it! With a mason jar method or sprouting tray method, the seeds do all the work, and all you have to do is water them 2-3 times per day. You don’t need a lot of money to buy these seeds in bulk, and the materials for sprouting are also cheap and easy to find. It’s a win-win situation and can help you create beautiful, healthy salads and sandwiches for your family with food that is grown right in your own kitchen!

Watch my Youtube video to learn how.

Also, for a step-by-step instruction, I’ve covered it in great detail in my beginner urban gardening book: Grow a Salad in Your City Apartment which is available in paperback on Amazon. I want to help you grow your own food with zero land!

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Buy in Bulk From a Local Health Food Store

Ask your local store if you can buy cases of your favorite foods like salsa, pasta sauce, butter, cheese, yogurt, coffee, cereals, juices, diapers, crackers, etc. Sometimes they will give a 10% discount for buying a case. I got my local store owner’s email address and I send them an email about a week before I need these items. I order a large amount to store in my pantry or a cool room. With a family of three kids, it’s not hard to use up a case of salsa or crackers. I am always an advocate of cooking at home, but the reality is that most people don’t have time to make everything from scratch. And a lot of moms, grandmothers, and others who do a lot of cooking, would rather spend their time reading a book, taking a yoga class, or spending quality time with their kids. So if that speaks to you, try buying your snack foods and ready-to-go meals in bulk.

I’ve noticed that some “bulk-buy” stores don’t really have the low prices that they claim to have. Now, this might not be the case in your town, so double check this. I’ve noticed that some companies will start out charging very low prices and later will raise them without anyone noticing, simply because they have the reputation of being a low-priced store. So be careful of that. And if you have a good grocery or health food store in your area that is willing to order in bulk for you, it might be more cost effective to go with them.

Having said all of that, there is a lot to say for shopping at a big grocery store chain, as they can usually offer low prices and wide selection. Plus, if a big grocery store is closer to your home, the gas money to travel further to Whole Foods, is not worth getting those perfect plums or artisan sourdough. Don’t be ashamed to shop at big grocery chains, especially if you have a large family. It comes down to what are you making from the food you buy: is it healthy meals or is it carb-heavy processed junk?

Your future goal can be: Buying all local organic foods

The Reality: Can only afford grocery-store bought produce from Mexico and California for now.

This is okay and fine and you can try to push your local stores into stocking more produce from surrounding farms, but for now you use what you have available to you.

Top 14 Cheapest Organic Foods

  1. Potatoes
  2. Cabbage
  3. Onions
  4. Sweet Potatoes
  5. Apples
  6. Pears
  7. Bananas
  8. Carrots (ask for "juicing" carrots- bags of 25lbs!)
  9. Celery
  10. Squash (Seasonal)
  11. Beets
  12. Turnips
  13. Oranges (Seasonal)
  14. Head lettuce (not lettuce mixes or pre-washed)

The best tip I can give you to save money is to buy less stuff overall. Allocate a larger portion of your monthly budget for food and less (or none!) to entertainment and eating out. Cut out eating at restaurants or fast food/coffee shops and you’ll find that you can probably at the least afford organic “basics” and at the best, you can afford very high quality stuff like caviar, wild salmon, grass-fed dairy, liver pate, etc. This is all dependent on your income bracket and ability to travel to these specialty stores for organic food.

Not only is “buying less” a better choice for your family, but it’s also better for the Earth! Here’s to eliminating waste and plastics!

Join a Buying Club

Joining a buying club can help you to buy in serious bulk quantities and get very high quality food items. In another quality MOTHER EARTH NEWS article, Rebecca Martin and Dan Sullivan walk you through the steps to joining a buying club. It can be a little more complicated, but if you can find an existing buying club, it’s very easy to join and use.

Buy in Bulk and Preserve It

This is a tricky one, but if you are not a busy Mom or have an all-consuming job, you might be able to buy in very large bulk quantities (50lb bags) and preserve the food, such as canning, freezing, and dehydrating. Don’t fool yourself, as this can take a lot of time and energy to accomplish, but it can be very satisfying to see a root cellar or spare room full of preserved and vacuum sealed foods. Save Money on Groceries is another great article, that explains the best methods for doing just that.

Rosemary Hansen is an author, homesteading Mama, and a chef. She has spent the last 10 years “homesteading” in the city. She and her family have just started their off-grid homestead in rural British Columbia, Canada. Her books, Grow a Salad In Your City Apartment and Rosemary’s Natural Cosmetic Guide are a great way to ease into a healthy, pure lifestyle. You can connect with Rosemary at her website: www.RosemaryPureLiving.com or on her YouTube channel. Read all of Rosemary's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Bone Broth: The Ultimate MultiVitamin

Homemade Bone Broth

Bone Broth is nothing new, but it is kind of seeing a jump in popularity the last few years. Bone broth is simply a nutritious broth made from the bones of a healthy animal {chicken, beef, pork, or turkey bones} often with some veggies and spices added in to balance out the taste and nutrient profile. Broth by traditional definition though is made from simmering meat, where stock is made from simmering bones. So is ‘bone broth’ accurate? Maybe not, but it rolls off the tongue better, don’t you think?

Why simmer bones for a long period of time? Well for one, it gives a whole new life to your leftover bones...it stretches your dollars for many more meals. One chicken carcass from a roasted or rotisserie whole chicken can yield you about a gallon of bone broth for future meals. Soups, rice, beans, gravy or just for sipping, bone broth makes a very flavorful and healthy base for made-from scratch meals. A second reason is the long simmer softens the bones and releases numerous vitamins, minerals and nutrients such as collagen that are so incredibly healing! It is rich, deep, silky and flavorful and often gelatinous or solid when chilled due to the high collagen content. Sign me up for more collagen: the building blocks of healthy skin, nails, hair and anti-aging!

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In addition to collagen, bone broth is rich in calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese, selenium, amino acids such as glutamine, arginine, glycine, proline, Vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, folate, riboflavin and more. So basically...it’s like a highly available multivitamin! Bone broth has also been shown to help leaky gut issues, decrease inflammation, boost immunity, strengthen bones, muscles and remineralize teeth.
You can buy pre-made bone broth these days, but as always it is much less expensive and typically much healthier to do yourself. You can use a stockpot on the stove, a crockpot or an instant pot. If you aren’t raising your own animals, as most people are not, you can usually buy bones from your local butcher or save up bones in the freezer from those bone-in steaks, rotisseries or ribs you are cooking. Also don’t forget those chicken feet if you can find them, they are full of collagen. Once you have your bones, let’s simmer!

Bone Broth Recipe

Ingredients

chicken, pork, beef, or turkey bones and/or feet, roasted preferred
1 onion, quartered
2 large carrots, rough chopped
2 stalks of celery, rough chopped
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
whole garlic cloves {optional}
bay leaves {optional}
-water

Directions

1. Place all of your ingredients into your stockpot, crockpot or instant pot and cover with water. The apple cider vinegar will help break down the bones and release the minerals while the mirepoix {onions, carrots, celery} will add to the flavor and nutrition.

2. If you are using a stock pot or crockpot, simmer your broth for 24-36 hours; if you are using an instant pot, I find 4 hours on high pressure works best for me.

Homemade Bone Broth

3.Once your broth has simmered for the length of time mentioned above, strain your broth into clean glass jars. Using an 8 quart crock pot or instant pot I get roughly 1 gallon, or 8 pint jars of bone broth. It will be hot!

4.Let the jars cool on the counter before moving to the refrigerator or freezer. If you plan to freeze broth in jars, make sure to leave at least 1” of headspace for expansion so they don’t shatter in your freezer.

Now you have broth to sip on a cold day, broth to make homemade soup, broth for rice and beans, the possibilities are endless! Bone broth is a constant staple in our freezers here...and now to go heat up a cup.

Nicole Wilkey transitioned from a corporate job to small-scale farmer in 2015. Since then she has run California based Flicker Farm to accommodate meat pigs, mini Juliana pigs, pasture based poultry and sells goats milk soap and lotion on Etsy. Connect with Nicole on Instagram and Facebook.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Growing and Foraging 100% of My Food for a Year

Man Displaying Healthy Grain Bowl 

I sit here in my tiny house, tucked away in a backyard just a few miles from downtown Orlando, Florida. As I type I see ocean water boiling away on my firepit to produce my salt. I see honeybees glistening in the afternoon sun, coming and going from their hive, stocking me up with honey. I see hickory nut shells scattered on the ground, the aftermath of making morning hickory nut milk.

Today is day 111 of growing and foraging one hundred percent of my food. When I say one hundred percent, I truly mean it. No exceptions whatsoever — no gifts of food, no purchasing food from the local farmers market, not even a drop of craft brew from a friend. And of course, coffee and chocolate don’t grow here in Central Florida. I have embarked on a deeply immersive experience in food, from the calories, to the fats and proteins, to the sugar and oil, down to every last nutrient my body will need.

When one imagines a self-sufficient life like this, one would typically imagine it happening on a farm in the countryside. Perhaps something like Barbara Kingsolver experienced and shared with us through her book, Animal, Vegetable Miracle. I sit here with helicopters flying overhead and surrounded by neighbors not even a shout away.

I don’t have any land of my own. Instead, I am growing my food in the front yards of about a half dozen people I have met in the neighborhood. The gardens have been abundant so far, and the homeowners are welcome to eat as much as they’d like. I have set up a 100-square-foot tiny house that I built for under $1,500 with secondhand and repurposed materials.

I do a work exchange to allow me to have this simple abode. In this little nook, I have everything I need. To my left and behind me are shelves for storing dried herbs, and beans, foraged fruit, jars of honey, ferments and more. To my right sits my deep chest freezer packed full of the abundance of my gardens and my trips to collect the earth’s bounty. On my bed a few dozen coconuts currently lay out to turn into coconut oil. The storage under my bed is where I tuck things away when the place is too cluttered. It’s a small space for all this food, but so far it has done the job.

When I arrived in Florida just 14 months ago, I had no experience with growing in this state and in reality, had only ever had a few raised beds in San Diego that were pretty meager-looking back on them now. I jumped right in upon arriving with intentions of taking six months of preparation before fully launching into this project.

Six months turned into 10, but with good reason. I started three initiatives to help others grow their own food: Gardens for Single Moms, Community Fruit Trees, and Free Seed project.

You see, growing and foraging 100% of my food, is really just a small part of the goal. What I really want to do is inspire more people to start growing some of their own food and to connect with the life-giving substances that we have lost connection with through the industrialization and globalization of our food. That could be planting a single tomato plant in a pot on a balcony, turning an entire front yard into a garden, or just getting to know a farmer and buying local. I figure, what better way to inspire this change than to live it. So that’s what I’m doing.

I’ll be here growing, eating and writing and I’ll be sharing it all with you right here if you’d like to embark on this journey with me.

Learn more about this project

Read the guidelines behind this year

Take video a tour of my simple and sustainable homestead

Photos by Sierra Ford Photography

Rob Greenfield is an adventurer, activist, humanitarian and dude making a difference. He is the creator of The Food Waste Fiasco, a campaign that strives to end food waste and hunger. Rob currently lives in Orlando, Florida in a tiny house he built near zero waste, with 99% repurposed materials for under $1,500. His current project is to grow and forage 100% of his food a year. Connect with Rob at his website and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Re-hydrating Dehydrated Food

vegetables before re-hydrating

So you have jars full of dehydrated food; now it's time to put the water back in! But not just "any old water!" If you wouldn't drink it, don't use it. It's common sense. The measuring jar shown in the above photo contains dehydrated carrots, peas, green beans, and potatoes. Yes, the humble beginnings of a great vegetable soup!

How Much Water To Add?

The rule of thumb when re-hydrating dehydrated food is two to one. Two parts water to one part food. If you have excess water in the jar after re-hydrating, just toss it.

Let's take a look now at how much water these veggies soaked up!

vegetables after re-hyrdrating

Just look at how far up the jar they are after the dehydrated vegetables sprang back to life!

Should I Use Hot Or Cold Water?

If I'm creating soup, for instance, I'd use hot (as in boiling) water to re-hydrate my vegetables. Always bring your re-hydrated vegetables back to a boil. Why? If ANY germs are present, the boiling of the vegetables in the water will take care of the germs.

If you use cold, or room-temperature water, we don't want to run the risk of any airborne germs getting into your open measuring jars or bowls. Also, using a glass jar or bowl keeps the "plastic taste" at bay. If you're re-hydrating veggies (or fruit, for that matter) in non-boiling water, then cover the jars/bowls with plastic wrap, and/or put them in the refrigerator (especially if you live in a warm climate).

Back to making soup from re-hydrated vegetables: it's OK to make your stock base first. I use the brand Better Than Bouillon. There's no need to try to crumble hard blocks of stock; BTB's stock is in liquid form! Makes it easy to add more of the stock if/when desired.

Re-Hydrating Shredded Dehydrated Carrots

Dehydrated shredded carrots before rehydrating

Dehydrated shredded carrots after rehydrating

It's amazing, isn't it? Look how much water these shredded carrots absorbed. These re-hydrated carrots are now ready to use in our awesome Carrot Cake recipe found on our site, Easy Food Dehydrating.

How Do Re-Hydrated Foods Taste?

For the most part, re-hydrated vegetables, and fruit, pretty much taste like fresh. The same cannot be said for meats though. They tend to be a little more chewy after re-hydrating.

I did dehydrate whole baby carrots once; they were, admittedly, a little spongy when biting into one. 

I look at it this way: it's better to have some food stashed away for emergencies, even if they're a little on the spongy/chewy side, than to NOT have any emergency food at all!

To read all of Susan's posts, please visit this page on MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Since December of 2010, Susan Gast has operated Easy Food Dehydrating, a website dedicated to dehydrating fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooked meats. Susan teaches you how to safely store your goodies too — for long-term food storage. Keep your pantry full — whatever the reason or season!


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Fresh Paneer Cheese

fried paneer cheese

Fried, grilled, or baked, paneer is a great fresh cheeses to make from scratch. The delicious milky lemony flavor can be tilted to sweet or savory dishes. Paneer is a lightly pressed cheese, which makes it easy to slice, dice and plank. This is great for one important reason. Paneer doesn’t melt!  This means you can cook it into crunchy forms of goodness, much like tofu, but waaaaay better.  It is cheese, after all.

Fresh cheeses should be in a home cooks arsenal of recipes. They are dead simple, require just a few super market ingredients, and are highly customizable.  Best of all, fresh cheeses will impress the heck out of your friends and can easily be the centerpiece of your next party.

Fresh Paneer Cheese

Equipment:

1.5 gallon stock pot
wooden spoon
colander
fine weave cheese cloth or non-fuzzy dish towel

Ingredients:

1 gallon whole milk
1/2 cu fresh lemon juicep

Instructions:

1. In the stockpot over medium heat, bring 1 gallon of whole milk to a boil, stirring to prevent scorching. Use the best milk you can afford as the quality will really show up in the cheese. Pasteurized homogenized or cream-top both work here. (You can try it with ultra-pasturized but it might be rather rubbery.)

2. Stir in ½ cup fresh lemon juice and remove from heat. Cover the pot for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes the yellow whey should have separated from the fluffy white curds. (If it still looks milky, add 2 more tablespoons of lemon juice and let sit 5 more minutes.)

3. Line a colander with two layers of fine weave cheesecloth or a dish towel (not the fuzzy kind!) and set over a deep container to catch the whey. Ladle curds into the colander. When the whey is mostly drained off, tie the corners of the cheese cloth up and hang the bag of curds from a long wooden spoon over a deep pan or bowl so the curds can further drain. Hang cured for 30 minutes.

4. After hanging the curds, place the bag on a plate or flat bottom container. Untie the curds and drape the cheese cloth over (so there’s not a big knot in the middle.) Put a small saucepan, or other flat bottomed container, filled with water on top of the curds. Press for 2-3 hours. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to set.

The curd can now be cut in to planks, cubes or slabs for frying, grilling or baking. This cheese works great in kabobs, grilled as steaks on the grill or marinated and baked. Be sure to dress it in oil before working with it on hot pans or grills so it doesn’t stick.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.







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