Saturday, October 11, 2014

Homemade Fruit Smoothies

Early morning hours and busy schedules have made the homemade fruit smoothy an essential nutrient boost. Kirk this last week was on day shift. He leaves at a quarter to five in the morning. It is dark. 4:15 when the alarm goes off and it is just too early to think of sitting down and eating a hearty breakfast especially when his eyes are barely open, his stomach not yet awake. Fifteen hour days take there toll as it is shortly before bedtime before he returns to the protection of our home. Food, and bed is all he can think about at that hour, and morning comes wa...y too quickly.

Hence,  something light works perfect. Something that stirs the adrenals and jump starts the day. A muffin, Egg McRexroat, or the like works great for a little later during a morning break. He has found that waiting for the break to eat leaves him dragging a bit the whole morning. Maybe it is the eat often but light thing they talk about. With Kirk and I both eating fruit smoothies frequently, it has meant making yogurt up to twice a week. I use the yogurt in making pancakes and where my recipes call for buttermilk also which ups the demand. To keep the culture well and alive you need to make yogurt about every six days at least. I haven't gotten around to making buttermilk and yogurt. Our schedule is just too hectic still. A little milk added and the yogurt works just fine for buttermilk.

So as with all things, practice makes perfect or with me somewhere in the neighborhood. Recipes are great but experience imperative to repeated success. I heat fresh goat milk to 180F. The instructions say 185F but more often than not as I'm trying to reach that temperature I become preoccupied and my milk boils. Boiled milk will not make yogurt. I hang a thermometer to the side of the pan so as I'm working around the kitchen I can keep an eye on the milk. I have several other thermometers, even a digital one, but it takes more time to hold them in the milk and wait for them to come up to temp so I'm not as likely to do it as often as I should.  Also insuring that I'm not as likely to make yogurt when I'm pressed for time, which is much of the time. So I use the thermometer clinging to the edge. What I've learned is that the temp. is a bit lower there. For some reason the 180F reading on the thermometer is enough of a buffer zone to keep me from boil the milk. It is hot enough that it works in making yogurt. Too low a temp and the culture won't take as it need to alter the chemistry in the milk.

When it reaches 180F I then place the pan in a bowl of cool water and change the water several times to hurry the drop to 115F. At this point I add a half to three-fourths of a jar of yogurt from the previous batch.

My culture was purchased and is Y-5. The sweetest of cultures. I'm thinking of ordering a Y-4 to see how we like that but for now, I'm fine until things settle down. I use a Cuisine yogurt maker which is simply a plastic base and lid that holds a constant and appropriate temperature. I've made yogurt in a metal dutch oven on the stove with repeated success except that the water my jars sat in caused the dutch oven to rust. I've made yogurt with a heating pad that does not automatically turn off wrapped around it and a towel around and over that. I've failed at the crockpot method but I've got a hankering to try it again only this time put water in the crockpot and jars set in the water like the dutch oven. I've heard of using a good, warmed up thermos, and a jar at the bottom of a sleeping bag but haven't tried it.

You are getting the idea. Instructions are a jumping off point, not the final word.
This particular fruit smoothy is made with frozen raspberries from our garden, a pint of peaches I canned a couple years ago, and a touch of sugar. My peaches are canned with barely any sugar and I love using them in smoothies and it is a way to use up the older jars. The raspberries make the smoothy a little tart. This makes for a drinkable smoothy.
We use all kinds of fruit and if some of it is frozen it makes for a thick, use a spoon kind of delight instead of a drink. Mix and match fruit to see what combination you like. It also makes a difference how sweet your yogurt is that you use as to if you need to add sugar. The amount of yogurt you add  is to taste. The yogurt gives a creamy texture and of course adds nutrition. I add probably about a cup of yogurt. I'm not about to measure. Looks and tastes good is good enough for me.
We have three of these Nalgene small jars in which I put the smoothy in the refrigerator. It is handy like Saturday when we went to one town to buy some groceries, livestock feed, and picked up our Bountiful Basket. After ordering the Bountiful Basket in one town I ended up making arrangement to pick up wood for our fire at the sawmill at the town in the opposite direction. The morning was therefor spent on the run. No time for breakfast until it was lunchtime. Those fruit smoothies though they did not fill us, they staved off hunger.
Today we had a banana, peaches, raspberry, yogurt fruit smoothy, really good!! What is your favorite combination of fruits or vegetables for a smoothy? I'm sure we can all use ideas so speak up and share. I never use vegetables and I need to learn how.

You need not have a goat or a cow to make your own yogurt. Use store milk and you will save a bundle on your grocery bill.

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