This article appeared in the on-line magazine for actors The Networker, in February 2010.
I would like to thank you all for reading my columns and for sending me emails. I apologize for not always responding. I read them all and they always inspire me, sometimes even to base my new article on the subject that you addressed. By the way, if you’d like to comment on any of my past articles, you can find them here.
I received quite a few passionate emails after my landfill/recycling/composting articles and I’m inspired to reduce my footprint even more. How to get dairy products without the plastic containers seemed to be a common concern by you and also by me, every time I buy yogurt, cheese and sour cream. I love yogurt which has many health benefits for women and men alike. Cheese and many dairy products are essential because of the vitamins, minerals and the protein that it contains. I found this interesting article that is short and simple about milk and Men’s Health. If you don’t eat/drink dairy, you must find substitutes to replace these beneficial elements.
When I lived in Europe, my mom bought us, during some of our summer vacations on the country side, warm milk that was freshly milked from the cow and also from a goat. It was warm and it tasted and smelled amazing! I tried to get that here from some of the farmers out in Riverside, California, but they unfortunately are not allowed to sell the milk without treatment. Real bummer!
Every time I buy yogurt and sour cream, I’m upset about the plastic containers and I wish I could just get them in glass jars. I also wish milk was available to purchase in glass. When I’m at home, I love the taste of milk out of glass or ceramic mug. It’s so refreshing and delicious. But since none of these options are available, I have to put up with milk in a big plastic jug or homogenized milk that is in a carton.
But I realized that if I could make cheese, yogurt, sour cream or butter, I wouldn’t have to buy them in plastic containers. If you scroll around online for some recipes, you will be surprised how easily cheese and yogurt can be made.
Cheese is simply made out of milk. Heat it, add lemon, stir, curdle, drain, VOILA! These are the steps. So easy! Here is a very simple recipe. Add your own herbs to add your favorite flavor. Once you get the basics down, you can experiment with more complex recipes.
Soft cheeses, like cheese for pizza and cream cheese is, according to the Colorado State University Extension website, very easy to make and, I’m sure, very rewarding!
If you are not into making your own cheese, I would suggest that you find a local Mom & Pop store in your area, and buy the cheese from there. I buy my cheese at a local store that has an abundant variety of cheeses, and they even slice the hard cheeses for me and then wrap it in paper. In paper. I ditched the stores that wrapped in plastic or in styrofoam.
Butter is another easy made recipe and I remember my mom experimenting with it once during the holidays when we were expecting some people. She was standing in the kitchen, whipping heavy cream for only a few minutes and I was stunned that she just created butter in front of my eyes. It was yummy!
I found this great video of Robert Krampf making butter from heavy cream in his dining room. The video is funny and educational and of course I love it that he uses his own physical energy to make butter instead of using a blender. All you need is a glass jar and heavy cream. Another jar for draining and one that you place the butter in. Very simple and no more excuses for buying butter in plastic tubs or wraps.
Yogurt can also easily be made at home and if you live in a warm climate, I suggest you use the sun’s power to make it instead of heating the milk on the stove. All you need is milk, yogurt starter, a glass jar and a warm place. Nature will do the rest. Watch this video and see how easy it is and you will never buy yogurt in a plastic container again. Once your yogurt is done, mix it with some fruit, honey or whatever you like.
I have been making Kefir from kefir grains for about a year and a half now and they have a substitute for people who don’t drink dairy. Kefir has great health benefits and I love the sour flavor. A friend of mine suggested that it helps her kids with Asthma. I have bought kefir from the store only once and never again. The flavor was nothing like the one I made at home. So go online, find some kefir grains and start making your own.
I haven’t tried out all these recipes yet, but I will very soon and I’ll let you know how it all turns out