We’ve got pictures on our website of tasty-looking fruit, yogurt and granola parfaits. This concoction is a favorite with athletes and outdoors people because it’s full of protein, calcium, vitamins and whole grains. You can order our freeze-dried fruit and you can order our crunchy granola – but if the food supply chain is interrupted, where does the yogurt come from? The good news is yogurt is ancient; humans have been making yogurt with rudimentary equipment for thousands of years. Yogurt also has health benefits that are hard to get from other kinds of food – here are 5 reasons you should add yogurt to your diet:
- Yogurt is easier to digest than milk; the live active cultures create lactase, the enzyme lactose-intolerant people lack.
- Yogurt contains lactobacteria, friendly bacterial cultures that keep your colon healthy and lower the risk of colon cancer. “Friendly bacteria” deactivates harmful chemicals before they can become carcinogenic.
- Yogurt is a rich source of calcium – a mineral that contributes to colon health and decreases the risk of colon cancer. 3. Yogurt improves the bioavailability of other nutrients. Culturing of yogurt increases the absorption of calcium and B-vitamins. The lactic acid in the yogurt aids in the digestion of the milk calcium, making it easier to absorb.
- Yogurt boosts immunity and aids healing intestinal infections. The bacterial cultures in yogurt have also been shown to stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the bloodstream.
- Yogurt is an excellent source of protein. Plain yogurt contains around 10 to 14 grams of protein per eight ounces, which amounts to twenty percent of the daily protein requirement for most people.
Right now it’s easier to pick up a few cartons at the store, but it’s handy to understand how to make it yourself in case you ever need to.
MakeYourOwnYogurt.com has a great website with videos that show you how to get started. It’s easy. All you’ll need is some basic equipment:
- Half gallon of milk
- 2-3 Tbs of plain yogurt (as a starter)
- 8-10 Qt stock pot 1 4-5 Qt pot with lid
- Metal or plastic spoon 1
- Dial thermometer with clip
- Heating pad
Basically, milk is heated to 175 °F to kill any “bad” bacteria and set the milk proteins together (so they don’t form curds), then the milk is then cooled to 112 °F, a bacteria culture (the few tablespoons of plain yogurt you saved) is added and allowed to ferment at that same temperature for a few hours. To create a mini-incubator, put a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven, leave the oven light on and the door closed. Once you’ve got a bacteria culture going, you can keep using it.
Making yogurt doesn’t require electricity – you can actually do it over a carefully controlled fire – but you will need natural or artificial cooling to keep it safe for more than a few hours.