I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Science Experiments in the Kitchen

Barbados Cherry Jam Accented with Orange Liqueur 
Lately I have been in an experimental mode in the kitchen. By experimental I mean trying new recipes and methods of producing my own food. The garden is great but I really wanted to try my hand at making other items that we consume.

Yogurt was my starting point. I wanted to make a thick , rich yogurt without any additional fillers. In the past I had tried using plain Dannon yogurt as my starter paying close attention to temperature as the recipe suggested. It came out runny and somewhat sour. Not to my liking.  A few weeks ago while looking for seeds for Helda Beans I found a yogurt starter at Nichols Garden Nursery and decided to order.
Here is the address: https://www.nicholsgardennursery.com/store/cmspage.php?page_id=about

The amazing starter and final product!

I did not get a chance to make it until last Sunday. By using the directions on the package I made a thick, creamy, and mild yogurt. It is really good. It is not a thickened by gelatin fake yogurt with tons of sugar and a slimy fruit puree at the bottom. My homemade yogurt is amazing with agave nectar and blueberries. YUM!
I used 1 small packet of starter and 1 quart of milk made with non fat dried milk. Extra dried milk was added to the mix to make sure it would be nice and thick. And thick it is! Even better I still have 4 packets of dehydrated starter and can use the yogurt I just made as a starter as well. We can have yogurt indefinitely if I am willing to keep the starter growing. We shall see how that goes as sometimes follow through is not my strong suit!

Strawberry Jam
My other experiment was using Pomona's Pectin. I have always used Sure-Jell to set my jams and jellies. Anyone who has used Sure- Jell knows that it can be touchy stuff. There is no playing with quantities or amounts of sugar in the recipes or you jam just will not set.  Yes, I know you can make jam without pectin but it requires a great deal more time than I am willing to spend making jam.  In the past I have made my own pectin using citrus peels and green apples. This again it is touchy stuff and with a slight mis-calculation on sugar or fruit and you get what my husband describes as "strawberry slime." Lovely..... Sigh.

After doing a bit of research I found Pomona's Pectin online. Let me say...It is GREAT! The directions seemed a bit daunting at first but everything worked out well on the first batch. You use a calcium water to help set the pure citrus pectin . You have a bit more leeway with this than you do with the other brands and there is even a no sugar option. Should you have any problems you can call the 800 number on the package. Do not let the cost throw you. It only takes 2 tsp of pectin to make 4 pints of jam. Thus you are using much less per batch and making the cost lower than that of the other brands. I am not being paid by Pomona's I just really like their product. 

Hmmm....I bet strawberry jam would be good with yogurt . Sour cream is next. Happy experimenting!!!  

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