—by Lois Braun
In the February/March issue of this newsletter I wrote about how to make your own yogurt, because that’s currently the only way to get local organic yogurt. Because shipping foods with a high water content such as yogurt is energy intensive, they are more important to source locally than other foods. By making your own you can also eliminate wasteful packaging, save money, and have more control over your recipe, to better suit your own taste and nutritional preferences.
All the reasons for making your own yogurt also apply to soy milk and other milk alternatives, such as rice, almond, and hazelnut milk, perhaps more so because the foil packs that these come in are even less recyclable and re-usable than yogurt tubs.
—by Caroline Daykin
When organic food receives media attention, produce and dairy tend to dominate the discussion.
What about organic grains? Is it worthwhile to spend extra to purchase certified organic bread, crackers, or other grain products?
According to recent USDA research, production of organic grains actually removes more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it contributes. At first glance this claim may sound too utopian to be true, but the research demonstrated that organic agriculture’s use of natural fertility sources allows it have this impact.
—by Emma Onawa
—reviewed by Kathryn Tempas
About ten years ago I decided that, rather than buying a quart of buttermilk every week for pancakes, I’d try to make it myself. After a failed attempt to reculture the store-bought buttermilk, I learned I’d need to purchase some buttermilk culture powder to get started. I’ve been making my own ever since. It’s easy.
Over the years I’ve gradually expanded my repertoire to include canning tomatoes from the garden, making granola and tortillas, yogurt and paneer (Indian cheese), even pasta and cheese crackers occasionally. It’s fun to do, saves on packaging waste, eliminates preservatives, and tastes great.
—by Anne Holzman
Once or twice a month for some 13 years now, Jay Overbaugh has set up his hummus operation in a corner of Hampden Park Co-op’s old kitchen, usually late on a Friday afternoon, and churned out two or three gallons of hummus, depending on the season.
“It takes me about two and a half hours,” Overbaugh said, although he can do it in less than two hours with volunteers to help with packaging.
He sets up a food processor and starts with tahini and lemon juice, “which forms an emulsion,” then adds chickpeas and spices.
“We use fresh chickpeas,” Overbaugh said. “The peas are started soaking the night before. Kathy [Vaughan] starts cooking them sometime around noon. Hummus production is somewhat of a coordinated effort.”