Coconut yoghurt!

There seems to be a dozen different ways to make yoghurt.  I just want one and I want it to be easy.  I have had loads of fails, but this morning I woke up to perfectly creamy greek style yoghurt!  Oh so yum!

When it comes to coconut cream, not all are equal.  Of most of the brands I looked at in the supermarket, most had a stabliser and an emulsifier.  The best one I’ve found in NZ at my local supermarkets is the AYAM blend which is 100% coconut.  You can really taste the difference.  The colour is more of a light grey than the white colour you see in other brands.  My second favourite is TradeAid coconut milk which is more like coconut cream because its so thick.

HOWEVER – Using cans and tetrapacks is not my preferred means to source coconut cream.  It goes against my whole ethos of shunning highly processed foods.  In this case, the desire for coconut yoghurt seems to have outweighed this in this moment!   My disclaimer is that doing the best with the ingredients you have and the education and budget you have is totally acceptable!

Ultra-high temperature processing (UHT), or ultra-heat treatment, sterilizes food by heating it above 135 °C (275 °F) – the temperature required to kill spores in milk – for 1 to 2 seconds. UHT is most commonly used in milk production, but the process is also used for fruit juices, cream, soy milk, yogurt, wine, soups, honey, and stews.

The second unfortunate thing about buying cans is they’re full of BPA’s.  There’s no doubt that making raw coconut yoghurt from fresh coconut meat is by far a superior method, however finding coconut meat locally is a tall order – a recipe for another day perhaps.  By the way if you’re in the Auckland area, The Kefir company sells frozen coconut flesh – just email Anita.  And you can get fresh coconuts delivered to your door from Cocoloco.

So before you get started, you might need to do a bit of a hunt around for some must have ingredients.  For the yoghurt culture, you can either use some store bought organic yoghurt or you can buy some yoghurt starter.  I used Mad Millie which you can buy from any health store.  It’s usually stored in the fridge or freezer.  You can also use probiotics (use 5), however they work out to be more expensive.

Then you need a warm place to culture the yoghurt overnight.  I used my easiyo, however you could use a slow cooker or put your yoghurt into the oven with the light on:

Coconut Yoghurt

Eziyo yoghurt maker

2 x 400ml cans Tradeaid Coconut cream

1 x satchet of Mad Millie Yoghurt culture

  1. Put your cans in the fridge overnight and use only the cream portion – use the liquid for smoothies.
  2. In many recipes its better to heat the cream.  I didn’t do this, although if you have       lumps, it does smooth them out.
  3. Blend your cream with the culture.
  4. In many recipes you’re meant to sterilize your jars for 10 minutes – I did mine for 5 mins in a pot of boiling water.
  5. Fill your easiyo with boiling water, put your jar in and leave overnight.  If your yoghurt is not ‘tangy’ enough you can refill with boiling water and leave it a further 6 hours or so until its as you like it.  At this stage its probably still quite runny.  Don’t despair!
  6. Put your yoghurt in the fridge.  It firms up remarkably well.
  7. If you want thick greek style yoghurt, put a double layer of cheesecloth over a sieve.  Place this over a bowl and put your yoghurt on top of the cheesecloth.  Put everything in the fridge overnight.  In the morning you’ll have a thick, decadent yoghurt!

PS Don’t give up if your yoghurt isn’t exactly the way you like it.  Its finnicky, dependent on the weather and the methods you use.

coconut yog

 

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The dirty dozen

When it comes to the contentious  issue of eating organically, I confess that a lot of the time I don’t.  While I was in Bali I ate ALL organic food because I went out to eat.  It was available, excellent and well priced.  Everyone around me was eating organic, plant based food.  But now I find its not as freely available, there’s less choice and its expensive.  So I want a bit of a yardstick to measure what items are FULL of pesticides that I’d be better off buying organic or growing myself.  And I also want a list of the produce that I can get away with buying despite them being grown with crap sprayed all over them.

Why would I go to all of this trouble? 

Xenoestrogens are one reason.  Pesticides and parabens mimic estrogen in the body, disrupting the endocrine system.  This can lead to a multitude of chronic conditions including hormonal imbalance which wreaks havoc, particularly for women.  Its called estrogen dominance (ED).  How many women do you know who have endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, ovarian or breast cancer or the symptoms that go with them – acne, depression, digestion problems, inability to conceive, weight gain…the list goes on.

You probably would have heard that the addition of parabens to skin care products, cosmetics, shampoo’s and moisturisers cause the same endocrine disruption as pesticides.  Well, did you know that parabens are commonly added to packaged food?  The dirty dozen of food parabens as published by EWG, list a bunch of foods that could be causing havoc in your body including:

Jellybeans, tortillas, muffins, beverages, dairy products, meats, preserved meats, chips, sausages, lard, anything with artificial colouring, microwave popcorn….anything packaged listing ingredients with strange numbers…

…I should summarise by saying that anything processed that has a shelf life is likely to be full of crap and ultimately hormone disruptors.  And all of them are contributing to sickness.  How can the body regulate itself – how can it reach homeostasis – that place where the all of the systems work together harmoniously to provide the perfect recipe for the body to operate without Dis-ease?

In a study of children living on farms, their fat contained up to 14 pesticides of which some were estrogen mimicing

The dirty dozen
This is a list of 22 foods to buy or grow organically.  These suck up pesticides and hold onto them.  There was originally a dozen, hence the name.

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Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, bell peppers, nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, chillis, kale, collard greens, zucchini, lettuce, blueberries, fatty meats, milk, coffee, wine, chocolate.

The clean 15
This is a list of foods that don’t suck up pesticides quite so much.  One tip you can use is to rinse inorganic produce in a water/vinegar solution to remove any residue.

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Onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, asparagus, frozen sweet peas, mango, papaya, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwifruit, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, mushrooms.

Pumpkins have two big problems; insects love them and they catch lots of diseases such as bacterial wilt and mildew. So what do the farmers do? Apply liberal doses of pesticides and fungicides. More bad news, pumpkins are so efficient at absorbing poisons from the soil they could be used as a filter to clean out toxins like DDT, PCBs and Dioxins.

Well I got the above quote from the green eatz site and I don’t know how true it is because my Mum has a bumper crop of pumpkins growing  without pesticides.  However pumpkin doesn’t feature in EWG’s top 50 dirty dozen so I’m not going to fret over the inorganic pumpkin I used in this soup!

Pumpkin soup

1/4 pumpkin, chopped
Stock or bone broth
Cumin
Ground coriander
Garam Masala
Turmeric
Vegetable boullion

1.  Put pumpkin in pot
2.  Cover with broth.
3.  Add in everything else to taste
4.  Bring to boil, then simmer till pumpkin is tender.
5.  Blitz in blender until silky smooth.
6.  Add in a dollop of coconut cream if you’re feeling decadent.

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My vitamix turns out the BEST silky smooth soup!

References
Good housekeeping
NCBI
Clean eats
EWG