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Homemade Greek Yogurt with Honey
Greek yogurt is a thick version of what you would normally buy in the store. Popular in Europe, Greek yogurt is just now gaining popularity in the US. If you don't like your yogurt thick, that is fine. Just follow the recipe, but don't drain out the whey with the cheese cloth; skip to the whipping and adding honey part.
1 gallon of 1%, 2%, or whole milk
1 large pot to scald milk on the stove top
1 large incubation bowl
1 food thermometer
1 package of cheese cloth
1/4 to 1 cup honey
1/2 cup live culture store bought PLAIN yogurt (or your own starter if you have made this before). Read the carton to make sure it contains live culture.
On a medium-low heat, scald the milk by bringing it to between 175-180°F when stirred. Don't try to speed this up or you will burn the milk. The key is patience and stirring several times every few minutes. Then when the milk has reached the 180°F mark, and when I say "when stirred" I mean that the thermometer will report a lower temp if you just stick it in, when it is the desired temp as you are continuously stirring it then it is done. It will also smell like custard. Pour the milk into an incubation bowl large enough to hold all the milk. Now, let it sit until it has cooled to 110°F. NO HOTTER THAN THIS because you will kill your culture bacteria (yes, yogurt has bacteria, that is what turns milk to yogurt). Or if you are impatient, you can put the bowl into an ice bath to cool it faster like I do. You will get the same yogurt either way. Now for the really patient part. It will take a minimum of 6 hours to 12 hours for the bacteria to do its thing and make your yogurt. You have to keep the yogurt as close to 100°F as possible. The easiest way is in the oven. Ok, before you try to bake your yogurt, read this carefully or you will get a bowl of hot milk 12 hours later. Pre-heat the oven to the absolute lowest temp you have for about 1 minute. Then turn the oven OFF and the oven light ON. Check the oven temp by putting your thermometer in there for a minute. Don't worry if it is just under or over 100°F by a few degrees, you just don't want it much higher than that when you put the culture in. Cover your bowl with something and place it in the oven for the up to 12 hours required. The light from the oven will keep it the perfect temp. If you have a gas stove with a pilot light, the pilot will keep it warm too. Check the yogurt and temp a few times during the incubation process. DON'T reheat the oven, it will be just fine. The yogurt is done when it looks like set Jello. This takes at least 6 hours and can take as long 12 hours. If it still looks like milk after 12 hours, you killed your bacterial culture at some point in the process. You can add more culture and try again or you can start over. Take your cheese cloth and fold it until it fits into your colander with enough to fold over the sides. Set this in the sink, there is no reason to save the whey (liquid). Pour the yogurt into the cheese cloth and wait again for maybe 2 hours. They liquid whey will drain out leaving your yogurt thick (how thick depends on how patient you are for this part). To speed things up a bit, you can take a spoon and carefully scrape cheese cloth make sure not to bunch it all up in your yogurt. Once it has gotten to the thickness you want, pour it back into your bowl and use a mixer to whip it. Before you add anything, take about 1/4 of a cup and put it in a little container and label it "starter yogurt". You will use this for making your next batch and you won't have to buy any from the to do this again. Your starter will be good for 5-7 days even though the yogurt you are making is good for about 2 weeks. Now you can add whatever flavoring you want, but my preferred additive is raw local honey. Add as much as you like. The honey will sweeten the yogurt nicely. Pour into container(s) and refrigerate for 2 hours. The yogurt will thicken even more because the bacteria is still working.
(more like a sauce since jams made with honey does not set up as stiff as those made with sugar- really good with yogurt and granola)
4 cups stemmed and thoroughly crushed strawberries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (ReaLemon)
1 box/package powdered fruit pectin (SureJell)
1 3/4 cup honey
Combine the berries and lemon juice ina 6-8 quart enamel or stainless steel saucepan. Mix the pectin into the fruit. Place over high heat, and stir until mixture comes
to a boil. Immediately add the honey, and stir until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Start timing for about 10 to 12 minutes. Continue
to stir slowly.
The jam will foam at first, then it will subside and when ready, it will feel thick and sticky when stirred. The color will be a deep garnet red.
To can: Skim off any foam, then ladle into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Seal and process for 5 to 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.
Use Ball Blue Book of Preserving for safe method of Boiling-water method of canning.
Yield: 4 to 5 half-pints