Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Micro-Gardening in January

So, what can a frustrated gardener grow in January?

Yes, sprouts. We ate up the first yummy batch of broccoli and mustard sprouts, and I've put another batch on top of the frig to warm now. But another thing to grow is.... YOGURT cultures! We usually buy a flat of flavored dairy yogurts and a half-gallon of plain each month for our bottomless pits a.k.a. two teenage boys. I love the So Delicious gluten-free, nondairy coconut yogurts, but rarely buy any because they are so pricey! In a recent mad-scientist mood, I decided to try making dairy and non-dairy yogurt so save money and to avoid all the unnecessary ingredients (umm, high fructose corn syrup in the yogurt? That's health food?).

I have to admit that I am still perfecting my recipe. I think my main issue is maintaining the correct culture-growth temperature for the required 6+ hours needed to get the yogurt nice and thick. I have tried the crockpot and the warming drawer of my electric oven, and both got too hot (over the 90-115 degree optimal range). My best success was with the non-dairy version: it thickened up only slightly runnier than the store-bought brand. My next attempt will be with a heating pad and an insulated box - I am determined to succeed in my experiment! MU-HA-HA-HAAAA!

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