PictureWhey, awaiting pickling projects.
Ever since successfully pulling off fridge pickles, I've been meaning to step it up a notch and make some real, lacto-fermented pickled foods. The healthy micro-organisms these foods introduce into the digestive system bestow numerous benefits, and Americans don't consume nearly enough (if any, for most of us) of them. We're seriously missing out; pickled ginger carrots, pickled radishes, and legit pickled cukes make for mouth-watering condiments that do a gut -- and thus a body -- good. As it happens, cultivating and maintaining a healthy, well-balanced flora party in my gut (and, um, other places) is a big priority for me during this pregnancy, as doing so has been shown to reduce the development of allergenic tendencies like food allergies, eczema and asthma in babies. 

I also, as you know, just like to eat pickles.

The Nourishing Traditions cookbook boasts lots of easy-to-follow recipes for lacto-fermented foods; most of these recipes require the use of whey in the fermentation process. I decided to make some whey while I worked this morning; I used raw milk yogurt to do so. (Like yogurt, making whey really doesn't require much active involvement once the process has begun.) I simply placed two layers of cheesecloth in a metal strainer over a large ceramic bowl, and spooned a generous amount (maybe three or four cups) of yogurt onto the cloth. I covered this with a plate and left the whole thing alone for about five hours. The whey dripped through the cloth into the bowl. It'll keep for months in the fridge. (Only a few tablespoons at a time are required for pickling recipes.) Meanwhile, the cream cheese that was left in the cloth -- whey making's by-product -- completely stole the show. 

I will never buy store-bought cream cheese, which is highly processed and doesn't offer up any healthy belly-boosting bacteria, again, because it also pales in comparison to the fresh stuff in terms of taste and texture. I can't quite describe the awesome that is homemade cream cheese; you should definitely make some and discover the difference for yourself, though. Then mix in:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


And you have yourself a delicious (and ridiculously easy) vegetable dip, sandwich spread, or snack. (Kaspar ate it straight, by the spoonful.)

I'll make some pickled ginger carrots and post about those, too, but for now I'm just so sold on the cream cheese that I felt I should share the magic with you. 

Have you made cream cheese, whey, or lacto-fermented foods of any kind? Tips and tricks? Other tasty flavor combinations? Let me know in the comments below!

 


Comments

07/16/2013 19:31

My mouth is watering. That sounds so good!

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Harshal
07/16/2013 22:50

You could add a pinch of saffron, cardamom powder and sugar/honey to the cream cheese for a flavourful dessert. It is called "Shrikhand" in India and we love it during the summers :)

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