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Saturday, May 29, 2010

DIY Cheese and Gardening

Today, while in town, I found something I have been wanting to try for quite some time now, it's powdered whole milk. The one I found is called Nido by Nestle,  (Wikipedia link), a friend told me about this and it intrigued me. I have always known about non-fat powdered milk, but not powdered whole milk. I haven't tried it yet, well I just opened one can and gave it a try. While I'm not a fan of room tempertature milk, this isn't bad at all, it's better than the other milk powders I have tried in the past. I imagine if it were chilled, it would be even better. It should work great for cooking and baking purposes. It did dissolve in the coolish water I have in the Berkey. It does have a slight toasted flavor, I suspect it is because of the way they dried the milk. I'll have to try some chilled to see if I like it better.

I received an update to my YouTube subscriptions a while ago, and one of the videos is about making your own mozzarella cheese, I haven't tried this yet, but it looks like something good and fairly easy to do. It goes with the theme of this post, milk, cheese. I have seen other recipes for making cheese using low fat (or reconstituted dry milk) and vinegar to curdle the cheese, I think I might like this one better. It calls for raw milk, I suspect it could be made with pasteurized milk as well.

Making cheese, seems hard, it's not, at least not in this video. check it out, try it and let me know what you think.

I went to the local nursery and picked up a package of NoLo grasshopper bait, last year the grasshoppers decimated my garden, by the end of the season, there were grasshoppers big enough to ride and spraying them seemed to have little effect. This year, I'm attacking them before they have a chance to do much damage. I also found one of my favorite herbs at the nursery, it's called lemon balm. It's in the mint family, but has no mint flavor, it has a nice lemon flavor, not too strong, not too weak, perfect for making tea by itself, or adding to regular tea. It's used in cooking, though I haven't used it in cooking too much. I saw a recipe for lemon balm pesto, yum! It also has many medicinal properties, it is said to be soothing to the stomach, soothing to the nerves, it possesses antiviral and antibiotic properties. It will also repel mosquitoes if rubbed on the skin, I certainly don't mind smelling like lemon, it's much better than the chemical smell of commercial mosquito repellent.

I used to grow this when I lived back in the big city, I didn't bring it with me when I moved off grid because the containers it was growing in had been infested by fire ants. I knew there were no fire ants where I was going and I didn't want to be responsible for importing them. So I abandoned my lemon balm and hoped I could get another start later. It's been nearly 3 years now and I now have my lemon balm again, I purchased 2 plants, a habit I have always had, that way if something happens to one, I'll have a backup. I remember once, I had purchased 2 rosemary plants, PB wanted to paint the house, so he did, right on top of one of my rosemary plants. I went outside to find one of my plants had "developed" white spots, I am very glad I had another plant that didn't get spattered with paint.

The nice thing about lemon balm is it's a pretty hearty plant, it dies back in the winter, but grows back in the spring. It grows pretty fast too. I'll replant one of them in a pot immediately, for the other one, I'd like to start an herb garden somewhere, I'll have to make sure it's protected from the critters, though I think nothing much will bother the lemon balm, most animals stay away from plants in the mint family. Maybe I'll tuck it in an out of the way place and see what happens.

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  1. I will email to my sister-in-law so she can try. She and her husband are trying to grow most of their vegetables and fruit. She cans and sells excess. They rescued some blackberry and blueberry plants from a grower in the next town over who was going to plow them under as he was going out of business. It took about 3 years but this year had a nice crop of blackberries. Unfortunately, they have not had enough rainfall so blueberries are suffering. She does share some of the excess with us.

    They also maintain lots of bee hives so we get benefit of PURE natural honey!

  2. Mozzarella cheese! I love it but unfortunately, it's on my "I can't eat it" list for at least a year. I will bookmark for the future though.

  3. Cool TexasMan! I just purchased a jar of raw honey from a local source, I know how good that really is, you are lucky to have it available to you on a regular basis.

    G, it seems that this version is easier on your stomach, according to Mikey (the guy in the video), he says he's lactose intolerant, and this doesn't bother him, I realize everyone is different, that might not be what bothers you.

  4. Wretha, I wonder if I could eat it since the whey is drained off? A good raw milk source would be great. (I have a secret dream... I want a small herd of Dexters to use for meat and milking.) If you try this recipe with pasteurized milk, I hope you can post your results. Thanks!

  5. I will have to find that Powder Milk & try it out & I need to check out the Cheese Video's too we buy alot of cheese around here & I would love to learn to make my own.


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