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Political Yogurt

June 19, 2017

I like yogurt. I eat it a lot. It’s delicious, versatile, a good source of protein and, bonus, good for my tummy as it’s loaded with pro-biotics.

BUT it comes in plastic tubs. And, since my last post, even more than heretofore, I have begun examining my plastic consumption and ways to avoid it.

Starting this effort was a bit like starting a regimented diet. I kept bumping up against things that I could no longer do if I wanted to succeed in my effort. Automatic go-to’s in the grocery store and pharmacy were met with a screeching of brakes on the pavement and an alarmed internal cry (“PLASTIC! Whaaaaat? Nooooo!”) when I realized that I would have to find an alternative for my favorite lip balm…  or tomatoes… or yogurt.

By being more conscious about my choices, I began to notice how often I use plastic without thinking, when with just a little bit of adjustment I could cut out a significant amount.

This takes work and, naturally, willingness to do the work. It may seem hard and it can be time-consuming. But with a refocusing of our minds and a re-patterning of our habits, it can happen.

We’ve done it before. Remember the days before recycling was the norm? When it was introduced, and we realized its importance, we trained ourselves to never, ever throw glass or metal or paper in the garbage bin. It’s a no-brainer now. We don’t even think about it. Or if we notice that someone has (gasp!) put a glass bottle in the trash, we are outraged! It just looks wrong now that our brains have been retrained.

 

DSC09566

What is wrong with this picture? Lots. Including non-biodegradable plastic trash bag…

The same goes for the compost bins ubiquitous on kitchen counters these days. I don’t even consider scraping food scraps into a garbage bin in my, or a friend’s, home. If I don’t see the bin, I automatically ask, “where is your compost?” See what I mean? We can do this!

But back to yogurt.

A lot of people are writing about their daily actions against the regime that is making our lives hell these days. The president’s egotistical decision to pull the U.S. out of  the Paris Agreement (joining Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not participating), has propelled me to take a personal responsibility for my part in the devastation of the climate, small though it may be. I am heartened by the governors and cities who have pledged to continue to participate and to abide by the decision made by those countries.

But what about right here at home? As in, my home? Not willing to give up yogurt, I thought, maybe I could buy one of those yogurt makers my friends had in college. Guess what many of them are made of? Yep. Plastic. Or containing plastic components. And they are expensive. And they take up a lot of room in my tiny galley.

I looked up “how to make yogurt” and found that it is surprisingly simple. Ingredients? Milk and yogurt. That’s it. So you have to buy one more container of yogurt (and recycle the container). But once you get your first batch made, you never have to buy a plastic container of yogurt again.

There are dozens of recipes on the internet. Yogurt can be made either stove top or in a slow cooker. The basic instruction is:

  • Heat the milk to 180° in a pan or crock pot. (You also need a thermometer – I use a candy thermometer that I already had and back it up with Dan’s point and shoot infrared thermometer).
  • Cool the milk to 110°.
  • Add a scoop of yogurt from your last batch, wrap the crock pot or pan in a towel to keep it warm and let it incubate over night.

In the morning, you have yogurt! For thicker yogurt, you can strain the whey (that clearish liquid that sometimes floats to the top in store-bought yogurt), which I did. Per advice, I lined a colander with coffee filters, placed it over a bowl and waited a couple of hours. Whey in the bowl, thick yogurt in the colander which I then transferred to a glass container that, full disclosure, has a plastic lid (I already had the container and so decided to use it, lesser of two evils and all that). And you can toss the whey or us it for its high-protein nutritional value. Again – lots about this online.

The yogurt is delicious. Mild. Even a little bit sweet. I used whole, organic, grass fed cow milk which may account for the sweetness. It can also be sweetened and flavored if you prefer.

This morning, I had my last bit of yogurt with organic strawberries (which came in a plastic box, dammit), and organic bananas, (which were plastered with stickers, grrrrrr…). And it was delish! So today, while I write and take care of my daughter’s new puppy, I’ll be making yogurt, too.

We have to try. Because the people in DC clearly do not have our backs. Nor do the packagers, marketers or business people.

All of this is do-able. We just have to have the will.

Are you with me? I’ll keep posting ideas if so. I’d love to hear from you if you are interested in the pursuit of this topic. I’m willing to do the legwork and share what I’ve learned.

Let me know by commenting on this site! And thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Comments
  1. The solution is clear! Move to León where we buy delicious organic local yogurt in big glass jars which then either become our storage containers or a friend’s canning jars. I’ll miss it. On a more important note….puppy? Details and photos please!

  2. Jennifer Geist permalink

    Yours looks so nice and thick! I’ll have to try again- mine is always a little soupy:) No more plastic ! YES!!

    • Make sure to strain it for a while. It definitely makes a difference! Happy to share the recipe I use if you want it.

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