Homemade Greek Yogurt

I remember when I was a little girl, my dad made yogurt with a little yogurt set. It consisted of a warming plate and 4 little containers that sat on it. Sometimes the yogurt set, sometimes it didn’t. I’ve read yogurt recipes that have you mixing the milk and a culture in jars, then storing in coolers, or in the oven, even out in the sun and if the all was right with the world yogurt would be born. Since it always seemed like such a hit or miss endeavor I never tried it…until I started seeing recipes about making it in a crockpot. Searching online, I read as much as I could from different sources and believe me it is YUMALICIOUS,  and is so easy to make!

Greek Yogurt

Crockpot Greek Yogurt

  • 1 ½-gallon whole milk (I’ve read that it can be made with a lower fat milk but I’ve never tried it)
  • 1 small container of plain yogurt with live cultures, 6-8 oz. (I usually buy a “natural” type)
  • Candy thermometer
  • Coffee Filters
  • Colander

Turn crockpot on low.

Pour milk into a heavy bottom saucepan set on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, heat milk to 190 F. stirring constantly. When the milk hits 190F. remove from burner and let cool to 100F.

Pour into a crockpot, add the small container of yogurt (this is the starter) and blend thoroughly. Turn crockpot off and wrap with a large towel (I use a couple of bath towels). Leave undisturbed for 10-12 hours.

Check the yogurt; it should be solid with a yellowish liquid (whey) when you stir it around. To thicken it up, line a colander with coffee filters and pour yogurt in to strain. This may have to be done in batches depending upon the size of the colander. Let strain for an hour or to your thickness preference. I like mine really thick so I usually set the colander in the sink, pour in the yogurt and after straining for an hour or so I set the colander into a larger bowl. The whole thing goes into the frig to strain for a few more hours or overnight.

Put in a large container and refrigerate. Instead of adding sweetener or fruit to the batch I flavor each individual serving as it seems like I do not have to use as much sweetener plus I can mix up different flavors each day. Since I commute to work and we always have lots of fruit in the freezer from our garden, I layer frozen fruit in the bottom of a container, then a cup or so of yogurt, then drizzle honey over top. By the time I get to work the fruit is thawed. At this point you can add granola, flaxseed or other toppings.

Enjoy!

Saving the Season

Fruits are now going on sale at the grocer as the growing season is winding down. I have sweet and sour cherry trees in my orchard but damaging storms and birds got more cherries then I did this year so once the price drops down to $1.50 lb. or so I start buying them like crazy to freeze. It’s really nice to be able to pull out a bag of frozen cherries in the winter to add to yogurt or to use in recipes.

cherries

To freeze – wash the cherries, drain and pit. I don’t have a cherry pitter so I just cut up the cherries by hand. It sounds laborious but it’s really not and goes pretty quickly. I’m usually listening to the radio while I’m working in the kitchen so I enjoy the process of harvesting food.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper as it keeps the fruit from sticking to the pan. De-pit the cherries, spread the cut cherries out in the cookie sheet and pop in the freezer for overnight. No need to cover while they’re freezing. When frozen just scoop them up with a large spoon or spatula, put into a freezer bag or a freezer container and label. When you freeze fruit this way, it doesn’t stick together when frozen so it’s easy to take out exactly how much you need. It may take several batches of freezing depending on how many pounds you buy.

The pits and stems can be composted if you have a compost pile going. Between the cows, pig, sheep and chickens on the farm there’s always someone looking for a treat. Miss Piggy the pig, loves fruit so the trimmings go to her. I like that nothing is wasted.

Blackberries can also be frozen in the same manner.
frozen_blackberries

Welcome

I am a transplanted suburbanite living on a small Kentucky farm with my husband, 1 dog, 1 pig, six cows, 18 sheep, and 20 some odd chickens.

My husband is the farmer, I’m the planner. I’m the cook, he’s the dish washer. He’s always been a farmer, I’ve never been a farmer. Maplewood Hill is our sheep farm and while it may not produce a great amount of income it does produce lots of fun, laughter and challenges.

Growing up with parents from the Depression era taught me a lot about cooking from scratch and learning to spend on what was worthy while saving on what was not. I forgot about it for many years and am now finding my way back to a more frugal lifestyle. It’s all about being more frugal in a 40+ hour work week (with a 30 mile commute!) and living on a farm. I am never going to be 100% green, 100% frugal or 100% anything and that’s okay.

Frugal Table.com was started in 2010 to share our crazy farm life with our city dwelling family and friends. There was a total loss of online posts in 2013 so I decided to take a hiatus, but we are back up and running. It makes me happy to be frugal when I can and I hope you can learn something here that will help you achieve your own level of frugal happiness.