The more I keep learning to do as the years go by, the less dependence we have on stores. I just love this! In fact, I haven’t been to a grocery store as of this post, for over 10 days. That’s impressive when I used to some times end up at the local grocer 3 times in a day!
I am getting better at planning out a month’s meals at a time, which definitely helps this. But, perishables like milk, eggs, cheese, and produce all require 2 trips per week to keep stocked up on these things.
The last of the garden’s fresh produce that kept us completely stocked sits in the fridge. From now on, if it’s garden fresh, it’s going to have to be things I put up for the winter by canning or freezing. As well, there will be more trips to the grocery store.
With our little farm around the corner where we get our raw goat milk, the need to go to the store for milk is now gone (and invariably “milk runs” to a store result in at least $40 of other items). And now, we don’t need cheese!!
Making things from scratch is not just a fun hobby, in these times, it’s becoming an economic necessity. Canning and freezing foods is not just a fun past time, like it was for me 10 years ago, it’s truly now a budget saving reality. As well, when you know the source of your food it
- reduces the amount of gas/petroleum needed to get that food item to your plate (the typical food item traveled 1500 miles to get to each of our dinner tables!)
- reduces or eliminates the toxic residues/pesticides/herbicides that are in the food
- eliminates the preservatives (carcinogenic)
- Increases the flavor (is a garden tomato truly the same thing as those pale mealy “tomato” like balls they sell at the store? )
So, go grab a gallon of raw milk, if you can, and in less then 15 minutes, you will have soft, spreadable, delicious ricotta/cream cheese. If not raw, try regular whole milk. (Check out the whole truth about the benefits of raw milk and the health dangers of pasteurizing and homogenizing your milk here: http://rawmilkcontroversy.weebly.com/ )
Goat Milk is much easier to tolerate. The sprouts and I are “lactose intelorant” but seem to tolerate goat milk. It’s actually got a pH that’s basic not acidic and it’s protein molecule size to calcium molecule size is such that it’s easier to digest and easier to assimilate calcium from. The goat milk we get is from a variety of goat called Holstein. Like Cow’s milk, it’s sweet and creamy. Some Goat milk (store bought), is definitely less tasty to me.
1 gallon whole milk
1/4 Cup vinegar (I use Organic Braggs apple cider vinegar)
3 T melted butter
1/2 t baking soda
Warm the gallon of whole goat’s milk to 206 F. (I do this on a double boiler to avoid burning the milk). It doesn’t ever get to 206 before it boils over the pot. When it’s bubbling up and attempting to boil over, I consider it ready to acidify.
Take it off the burner and immediately pour in the vinegar. The milk will rapidly coagulate. It’s so cool! The Whey (yellow liquid) quickly separates from the curds (your cheese!).
Drain the crud into a cheesecloth-lined colander. (Again, I don’t have cheesecloth. I just line a colander with a kitchen towel and it drains the whey into the pot below and leaves the yummy cheese in the towel).
Place the curds in a bowl. Mix 3 T melted butter and 1/2 t baking soda into the curd. Mix thoroughly. I add about 1/4 to 1/2 t of salt.
This cheese is excellent in cooked foods.