Maybe it's all the white stuff flying around here today, or maybe it's because my son graciously stopped by Reed's Dairy Store on his way back from teaching lab at the ISU campus late last week and bought me some more of their lovely milk and cream, but today just seemed like a Dairy Day to me.
I already make Kefir nearly every week - I like it because it's got all the goodness of yogurt in a more drinkable form. The aforementioned son was on a Starbuck's "Latte in a Bottle" kick late last year, and I cheerfully confiscated all his empties, washed them and reused them. He thinks I'm nuts, but the bottles were good reuseable glass with sturdy metal lids, so what's not to like? I make my kefir for the week, pour it into these lovely little recycled bottles and I have breakfasts to go all week long for my busy schedule. Pop a little fruit puree into a bottle (Hmmm, huckleberry today? or raspberry? or apricot-ginger? maybe sour cherry? Decisions, decisions!) and I've got a nutritious light breakfast that I can take with me whereever I like, for about 20 cents per serving. And I control all the ingredients, including how much sugar, if any, goes into it.
Today, while I had everything out anyway, I decided to make a batch of yogurt and a batch of sour cream as well. The whole process took about 15 minutes. Well, and a few hours to set up, but I don't have to do anything with it during that time. I made my usual half gallon of Kefir, plus a quart each of yogurt and sour cream. More than enough to last a week for us. The sour cream might even last two, unless I decide to make Elk Stroganoff or something else sour-cream-intensive later this week.
It's moderately lucrative to make your own at home, and doing things like this is how I can afford to pay a little bit more for local stuff now and then and still not bust our family food budget. For instance, the cost to make all these dairy products, besides the 15 minutes of hands on time, was approximately $6.50. The cost for these items, if bought in a store on sale, would be about $10.50. It actually would likely be more, because I have never really seen kefir for sale here in the usual venues - so when I added up the costs, I just counted it the same as an equivalent amount of yogurt. In actuality, if it were available, it would probably be more expensive. So paying a little more for our milk in light of that doesn't cause me undue concern. Especially since it's better for us. And it just tastes better, too, which is definitely worth the few extra cents!
Mmmmmmm, Elk Stroganoff. Dang, I wish now I hadn't promised myself I'd do a meatless meal for my next Dark Day Challenge meal. Oh, well, it'll keep!