Organic and Thrifty

Matsoni: The Counterculteral Yogurt

Last week, as you may know, we were running the Cultures for Health giveaway for 3 starter cultures of your choice! In honor of my giveaway, I wanted to reflect on why investing in a starter culture is an easy, no-fuss way to add more nutrition and less cost to your life! Also, go read more about superfoods in general!

Matsoni is what I call a “counterculture” because it doesn’t need to be incubated in order to culture, as most traditional yogurts do. Although, to be fair to history and regionality, it seems to me that most of the yogurts that need to be “incubated” to remain at a constant temp of about 90-100 degrees–these yogurts actually hail from the parts of the world that have temperatures that are fairly constantly in that range!  All that’s to say that I don’t think Nature intended for much fancy equipment in order to culture milk.

The Matsoni is perfectly happy at around 70 degrees to culture within 12-24 hours. I made my first batch this week and here is what I love about it:

1) No need to incubate (already explained above!) so no expensive equipment or hassle required. Just add the starter, and do nothing until about 12 hours later when it’s ready!

2) You can transform regular pastuerized store-bought milk into an enzyme-rich treat!I actually cultured a quart of half & half and got a really creamy, mild, delicious and thick yogurt! If you strain this just a little bit, you end up with delicious, probiotic-rich cream cheese (raw cheesecake anyone? Or perhaps a smoked salmon-cream cheese roll up?)

3) It saves money! Organic yogurt can cost up to $5.00 per quart.  You can buy an entire half-gallon of organic milk for about the much, which means you can make your own for half the price.  By adding your culture week after week you can eventually pay for the price of the culture with the savings.

4) Did I mention it was easy? College students could keep this going in their dorm (bootleg a quart or two of whole milk from the cafeteria and culture it in your dorm room!!!), busy moms can quickly and easily make a batch in about 2 minutes and forget about it until the next day. No heating milk, cooling it to just the right temperature, then configuring some way to keep it warm, etc.  No adding skim milk powder or gelatin to thicken it, because it thickens right up (especially when you add cream or half & half).

5) The taste and texture are amazing, even my husband liked it!  This is reason enough to stick with Matsoni.  I’ve tried kefir, fil mjolk, and regular yogurt and the taste is just too “off” for my husband. I recently make the Indian cucumber yogurt dip called raitaand my husband raved about it.  My kids love the Matsoni mixed with fruit sauce (just boiled down blueberries or peaches; no sugar added) for a fun and easy “fruit on the bottom” breakfast.  The texture (especially when using half and half) is thick and pudding-like and once the culture is set (about 12-18 hours for me) there was absolutely no “runniness” to it.

If you missed my recent contest to win your own yogurt culture, there’s good news.  Thursday, September 17th I’ll be announcing the winner for the contest along with a special coupon code for discounts at Cultures for Health. This offer is limited, so check in when I announce the winner so you can get the deal!

This is what Works for Me when it comes to Organic & Thrifty Real Food!


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