Real Food

I didn’t actually know there’s such a thing as a “real food” movement. It’s just a term I use for homegrown food or food I know is free of processing. You know, food where the ingredient label isn’t 100 items long.

I don’t consider myself a homesteader, but living on a ranch, it just seems natural to grow as much of our own food as possible. There’s a certain satisfaction I feel when I bypass the meat, dairy, and egg sections of the grocery store.

We are growing lamb and beef for our own freezer and supplement that with wild game (elk, deer). We get eggs from a neighbor, and hope to have a garden in 2014 (I’m partial to growing small fruit: berries and such).

Our latest addition to the barn is a milk cow. I’ve been having a blast making yogurt, mozzarella, and butter. Still looking for that perfect spreadable cheese recipe. Even though I consider myself somewhat in touch with the skills necessary for a self-sufficient lifestyle, I’m amazed at how easy it is to make these items and why we haven’t been doing it all along. You can make all of these from store bought dairy. Stick to organic whole milk/cream and you have a very wholesome product.

For my yogurt, I used a recipe found at A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Butter. You gotta love that title, huh? The recipe worked without a hitch. The author, Sofya, makes a good point that American store bought yogurt usually contains thickeners, so don’t be worried if your homemade version is a little thinner than what you are used to. And it is perfectly OK if the whey separates from the yogurt a little.  Just stir it back in, add some fresh or frozen fruit, a little honey, and eat. Wow.

mozzarella

Mozzarella cheese before stretching, fresh out of the pot.

I used a mozzarella recipe found at The Pioneer Woman blog. Again it worked great, but I didn’t really like the microwave heating so I  just put the cheese back into hot whey instead of the microwave while stretching. Viola, mozzarella!

There are hundreds of recipes for homemade dairy products out there on the web. At first I was put off by the “don’t use grocery store rennet,” “don’t use lemon juice to acidify” crowd who buy cultures from specialty stores. I’ll probably try those specialty items sooner or later, but it’s good to just jump in there and give it a try with what you can easily find.

Hey, I’m a hundred miles from any Walmart, let alone a specialty food store. I gotta use what I have on hand. Isn’t that the spirit of the original homesteaders?

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2 thoughts on “Real Food

  1. Mind Margins says:

    I used to make my own yoghurt when I lived in Europe. It was so easy and was much tastier than the store-bought stuff. You’ve just given me a reminder that I should make some again!

    • wyominglife says:

      I love, love, love the yogurt we made from our cow’s milk. I finally figured out how to strain it to get the “Greek yogurt” texture I love…. almost a cheesy consistency instead of the more liquid texture of the “American” yogurts.

      Yogurt is SO easy to make, and I’d think making it using good, organic whole milk purchased at the grocery would also make an excellent product.

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