Monday, July 30, 2012

Homemade Ketchup and Yogurt Cheese

For the past couple years, I've been making ketchup at home instead of buying the store-bought version of ketchup.  I started because I wanted to avoid the amount of sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) in regular ketchup (and the preservatives, etc.) and just basically to eat high-quality food.  Since then, however, I've found that making a fermented recipe means my ketchup has probiotics in it!  What an easy way to get probiotics into my kids daily, while cutting out the sugar they were getting in the store-bought ketchup!  Beyond that, I've heard store-bought yogurt has hidden gluten in it.  Basically, it keeps making more sense to make my own, as I learn more.  As an added bonus, I get  yogurt cheese out of the experience, too!

Originally, I had tried a recipe from DIY Delicious by Vanessa Barrington, but then I found the fermented ketchup recipe from Nourished Kitchen.  I had been on a learn-to-ferment kick, anyway, so I dove right in.

Don't be surprised, if you taste it pre-fermentation, that it's NASTY.  That was my experience, anyway.  I tasted it thinking "hm, wonder what to expect" and it was not at all appealing.  So, since I had made it already anyway, I figured there was no harm done in letting it sit in a cabinet for a few days and then seeing if it had gotten any better.  And WOW!  After fermenting it was fantastic!  Now, I will admit, I am not generally a huge ketchup person, and neither is my husband.  This was mostly for my kids. After making this fermented ketchup, though, we were both curious so we tried it out.  My husband now uses it as his go-to condiment!  Totally worth the time and effort.

I make a double batch each time, because we go through it pretty fast.  Also, I use canned [organic] tomato paste (oh the shame!) for the convenience factor, and it generally needs a LOT of thinning out from the raw apple cider vinegar, so when I make it, it has a lot more vinegar than what the nourished kitchen recipe calls for... and it's still not really thin enough that I could reasonably put it in a squirt bottle.  I tried that... it was a fail.  I'd also like to highly recommend using wide mouthed mason jars for this because it can be a bit difficult to get into a narrower mouthed jar.

The bonus is that in the process of making ketchup, I get some yogurt cheese.  Why?  Well, I use yogurt to make the whey for the recipe.  If you're sensitive to dairy, you can try using goat yogurt to make whey - that worked pretty well when my son was dairy sensitive.  Alternatively, you can buy "vegetable starter culture" and avoid the milk all together.

Making whey is very, very easy.  Simply line a colander with some cheese cloth, then dump in some yogurt.  I used a store-bought grassfed yogurt that we really like, but you can certainly use homemade or whatever else.  I wouldn't recommend greek yogurt because it's already been strained, which is why it's so thick and creamy.  Then just cover it, put the colander into a bowl and stick it in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, take it out and in the bowl you'll have whey (a yellowish looking liquid) and inside the cheesecloth, in the colander, you'll have yogurt cheese (also known as labneh).  Depending on how long you strain it, it'll be thicker or thinner.  Greek yogurt is obviously not strained too long because otherwise it'd be a lot thicker and more cream cheese-like.

Now, what do you do with yogurt cheese?  You can add it to recipes to make it creamy.  I like to make boursin with it in place of the cream cheese.  You could simply spread it on a bagel or something as if it is cream cheese.  You can make veggie dip with it.  I basically use it in place of sour cream or cream cheese (depending on the recipe).  Delicious!


Carmen said...

Oooooh. I might have to try this myself :)

Jenna said...

Totally worth it :)