Thursday, 9 June 2011

yogurt making and alfalfa sprouting

well hello lovely readers!

by now i'm sure you are all aware of how much of a DIY sort of person i am - no not in the home department, no siree, i mean, i'd rather learn to make butter than buy butter, and i'd rather make homemade granola than pay for it. and i even grow my own vegetables and berries up at the allotment.

but now i've taken one step further in becoming more self sufficient - i've learnt how to make my own yogurt and sprout my own seeds! not inherently complicated things, but have taken a while for me to attempt because my skepticism got in the way (which is unusual for me).

i started out with yogurt making by trying out easiyo - the title makes it sound so simple to do, and i knew that yogurt making should be a more cost effective way of getting a regular portion of yogurt to eat. so i succumbed to the advertising (which is again unusual). and boy, did i regret it! easiyo is simple, once you've found and purchased a packet of the dry mix at great expense, and then regret doing so because you're concerned about the possible health un-benefits a dry mix is (probiotics only survive when chilled, so what's the point?)

anway, fast forward 2 years, and we have a vintage yogurt maker by Bel. my mum used to have one when she was younger, and recalled their simple and efficient wonderfulness. all you have to do is use one pot of live yoghurt (froma  previous batch, or from the supermarket), add a little milk powder for thickness and then add some organic UHT milk (i love the one's by Moo). mix it together, pour in the glass cups, switch on and wait for hours. then you have perfectly portioned, delicious set yoghurt. every time. wunderbar! 

the wonderful bel yogurt all her glory!

the next thing was sprouting. which is inherently very simple, but seemed tricky to me a few months ago. i've had this one packet of alfalfa sprouts for years, and i've always thought i had to wait until i purchased a 'sprouting kit' before i could use them. and they are always so expensive i never have... ergo, no sprouts.

until, a few months ago when i figured that people have been sprouting for centuries, and it probably wasn't common to have a plastic strainer lid 100 years ago. it must be possible! and of course, all you actually have to do is soak the alfalfa seeds for 8 hours (it's different with other beans and seeds, so be sure to check), then drain and rinse them twice a day until you want to eat them.

well, though the draining is a bit tricky, it can totally be done with just a steady hand. and then you just need to cover it to stop any pests eating the delicious sprouts. i just sit them on my side, turning occasionally and rinsing occasionally, until they look perfectly green.

you only need one tablespoon of seeds for one big jar, because they grow so large... 

and they taste wonderful with everything, giving a fresh texture and lots of important nutrients and minerals - check out this 'why sprout?' article from the nourishing gourmet for details on the health benefits of sprouting.

i've also figured out a way to grow my own salad leaves successfully! all it takes is 3 large tubs with lots of compost, some packet seed and then every 2 weeks you sprinkle some seeds out to grow. they need watering every day too.

and they save money, taste awesome and are so full of nutrients because they are so fresh!

it's funny how some things that are actually really simple to do and have great health benefits can get forgotten about because they are portrayed as wacky or hippie or only what health nuts do. perhaps i've reached a point where i'm happy to be labeled in that way, or perhaps i'd rather save money than worry about how i'm judged. 

but i'm so happy to have got all these things in my routine, and am pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to fit in! in the morning, all i do is rinse the sprouts and water the salad leaves and take out a pot of yogurt from the fridge. it's simple, and it's an awesome way to remind me of the simplicity of life (aka, how does all that come from a tiny seed?!?) - it's inspiring and connecting, and a pleasure not a chore.

so, i want to know, how many of you sprout, grow your own salad leaves or make your own yogurt? have you got any extra tips? what are your thoughts?

currently reading: sense and sensibility by jane austen (yes, still)


  1. I really want to try sprouting my own seeds / nuts / beans etc especially as its so easy to just do in a jar. You have inspired me!

  2. I make yogurt all the time! It started years ago when my brother was off dairy but was allowed goats milk so mum went about making our own yogurt. This was long before soy yogurts/goatsmilk yogurt was available in Ireland! We don't use a thermometer or special flask - just a milk pan, a spoon of natural yogurt and a thermo flask! It's definiately worth it!

  3. My mum has the same yogurt maker! In fact almost all of her kitchen appliances are at least 20 years old and still going strong.

    I've tried sprouting but didn't read the instructions and put the whole packet in the jar which resulted in a sprout explosion at the top and ones that didn't grow at the bottom.

  4. By boyfriend just recently tried sprouting alfalfa and he loved it! So easy and then a delicious and healthy addition to his salads. :)

  5. I am planning to do this with something else. The yogurt maker is from yogormet, that has only one HUGE container. Hence, I have to stick with it. I wonder, if you can use the same container (post washing) for making yogurt. In other words, have you tried making yogurt in same containers you sprouted alfalfa in?


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