The Farmer's Wife
Why making yogurt *could* save your life. (Recipe below)
Quarantine Truth: How many of us have realized we wouldn’t make it 3 days as pioneers?
For real - between refrigeration, the freezer, the pantry, and running water, I think Laura Ingalls would have LAUGHED at my quarantine. “You mean, you don’t even go outside to use the bathroom and that large machine WASHES your clothes?”
Ironically, between typing that last sentence and this sentence, I left my cozy, temperature controlled house and walked a whole 60 yards to the barn to dip a gallon of fresh delicious from the milk tank. If only Laura Ingalls could taste the breakfast smoothie I’m going to make in about 60 seconds.
I almost feel like apologizing to Laura for this ease. Can you imagine her face?
”So…. the milk is already icy cold and you just pour that creamy deliciousness directly into another machine which blends everything perfectly to make breakfast in seconds?... ...”
Innocence interrupted my pioneering thoughts on my ‘trek’ to the barn... “Mommy, do you even know HOW to get milk?,” my 4 year old skipped beside me. What shame that just because my husband usually dips the morning milk, my daughter thinks I’m inept.
I laughed at her comment, but it gave me great pause. Isn’t this exactly the beast we feed within? The voice inside that doubts you can.
“Do you even know HOW to (insert life task you doubt you can do).... Bake bread? …. Cook something new?..... Play Guitar?.... Clean the House…? …. Raise kids? ….. Work out?...... Organize your life?...... Home educate your kids?
And far too often, I’ve agreed with that beast.
I’ve let it stop me from so many things.
But agreeing with a lie makes me live under its thumb.
So why do I agree with something I know isn’t true?
Maybe because the gap between Instagram and my home is laughable -- but it isn’t funny.
Just after my husband and I moved from the ‘big city’ to the farm, I met a lovely lady who was basically Instagram with legs. She seemed to be the perfect homemaker. Her house was sunny. Her pace was calm. Her voice was sweet. Her kids were kind.
This lady was the closest I’ve come to a modern pioneer. She grew her own starter plants from her own gathered and dried seeds, she homemade everything from bread to ice cream, and she even had a few sheep whose wool was destined for sweaters.
I remember sitting at her magazine-worthy butcher block island in a puddle of sun, watching her cut up veggies. Equal parts of jealousy and awe gripped me as I marveled at the beauty of her mulch: Fresh, crisp, veggie scraps with sun poured all over them. Framed by the earthy wooden cutting board and bathed in the perfect tinge of essential oils lingering in the air, the scene transfixed me.
I was befuddled.
How come my farm wife mulch made me gag (Maybe take it out before it rots genius) and hers felt romantic?
Mulch is not romantic.
...Or is it?
The ‘beauty’ of her mulch was in the thing it represented. This woman, who later became my friend, was simply living life with an unashamed smile and a voracious wonder for trying new things. Some would balk at the life she made - judging a cluttered house or a difficult way to run a home. I saw her choice to love her life though. She wasn’t bound by a doubting beast within.
How often are we bound by the doubting beast within?
How often does that binding make us miss out on our lives?
In college, my motto was that if I can’t do something perfectly, I don’t want to do it at all = Worst. Motto. Ever.
Because perfection is messier than Instagram lets on.
We can lose our lives waiting for the pinhole perspective of perfection while ignoring the room full of life that went into making the perfect shot. Don’t believe me? Cooking always makes dishes. Life always makes messes. Kids always get dirty. Crafts make ‘disasters’. It’s just how life works.
We can miss our lives if we’re waiting for perfection. ....But what does that have to do with you and yogurt?...Everything.
That same friend made her own yogurt.
I didn’t even know making yogurt was even possible. Being a dairy farmer’s wife, making yogurt seemed like a requirement. But the beast was alive and well - “Do you even know HOW…..” Nope - I didn’t. I had no clue.
But guess what? Just beyond intimidation, was a really simple, very rewarding, money saving process that isn’t scary at all!
If I can do it - anyone can do it.
Here’s the point: Let’s not miss out on life just because we’re listening to the doubting voices in our head. Let’s not be scared. Let’s make yogurt instead :)
The problem is, If you Google ‘yogurt making’, brace for the overwhelm.
Some recipes have so much detail, we might as well be defusing a nuclear reactor.
I promise it isn’t rocket science. I used to get so stressed out that I was going to mess something up but it is ok. You can do this.
Here’s the snapshot version:
Get the milk
Turn off stove
Whisk in starter & sugar
Keep it Warm(ish) for 24 hrs.
Here’s the Farmer’s Wife Yogurt Recipe that anyone can do :)
1. Milk: I start with a gallon of fresh milk. A gallon of milk will make a gallon of yogurt!
This means that making your own yogurt saves money. Yogurt at Walmart is $1.74-$4.48 per quart. Making yogurt with Gerdes Fresh Farm milk is only $1.50 a quart, and it tastes amazing!
2. Heat it up: Heat milk on stove to about 160 Degrees
Don’t stress if you don’t have a thermometer. 160 is about the temp when you stick your finger in the milk for a split second and it hurts.
Farm Wife Hack: If you have a metal bowl with a rim that fits inside your pot without touching the bottom, put an inch of water in the pot and then pour your milk into the metal bowl in the pot. This makes a double-boiler and your milk will not burn!
3. Turn off the stove and let milk cool until it is a bit warmer than bathwater
Tip: If you used the double boiler above, you can actually take the bowl out of the pot with hot pads (carefully! It’s Hot!) and set it in a sink of cold water to cool it faster. Just keep an eye on it because you want it to stay warm.
4. Whisk in a 1 cup sugar (OR we like only 1/3 cup of sugar and eat the yogurt with honey) and ⅓ cup room temperature “starter” yogurt (This is any yogurt you have at home. I’ve used all different kinds and flavors.) Tip: The starter will mix in MUCH better if you put it in a separate bowl and whisk a bit of warm milk into the starter before dumping it into the large bowl of warm milk.
5. Pour into Jars
Pour warm milk mixture in jars & cover with lids
6. Keep it warm: Set jars in a regular picnic cooler and fill it with hot water up to the neck of the jar. Close the cooler. This is going to keep your yogurt warm and happy while the magic happens.
7. Set your cooler somewhere undisturbed for 24 hours
8. Walk away feeling majorly accomplished
There you have it friends!
Not only is this not scary, it saves money, tastes amazing, and saves a trip to the store :)
So take THAT doubting beast!
No longer will we lose our lives to your lies. We’re making yogurt instead.
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