Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Organizing Cultured Products and Supplies

Culturing your own dairy products isn't really difficult. It's managing them that's the challenge! It's a good thing I can take GNOWFGLINS™ Cultured Dairy Class at my own pace, because it has allowed me to master one product before moving on to another. And managing them has been my biggest challenge. But I think I've got that solved!


Because dairy cultures need to be kept separate when they are out on the counter during the culturing process, I decided to culture different products on different days. So I actually added my culturing schedule to my calendar and to my personal daily to-do list. Each day during the week, I culture something different. This has been a huge help because despite writing the re-culture date on the jar, if it's out of sight, then it's out of mind. My calendar is a much more reliable reminder although I still mark the jar with a black sharpie. This washes right off for the next use.

I also found that I was using a lot of paper towels. Hate that. so I found some scrap fabric and I feel better, plus it looks cute, too! When the cultures in the jar are finished, they get a plastic cap lid and go in the refrigerator on a shelf designated for cultures, culture products, and spouts. 


Some of the cultures and supplies are not in canning jars, but rather boxes, small jars, and bottles. Remember when I quit buying paper napkins? The baskets below are the same ones I use to keep them in, but since I don't use paper napkins anymore, now the baskets have been reclaimed to organize all my smaller cultures, yeasts, rennets, pectins, and such. Before I organized them, they were all over in the refrigerator, falling behind things and getting lost.



And since I had two of these, I used the other one to hold all my jams and jellies. When we have breakfast, I just pull the basket out and set it on the table. Why didn't I think of this years ago?



Next, there are some cultures that I keep in my freezer; they got a basket, too. You may remember this basket from my freezer organization post. These baskets do take up some room, but they make up for it by keeping me organized and preventing things getting buried in the bottom, never to be used.


Finally, I needed a cheat sheet for feeding cultures so I didn't have to go dig for the information in my notes all the time. An index card with the amounts I needed to use, clipped onto my recipe book holder is the perfect quick reference guide. Now it takes just a minute or two do feed my cultures and start a new product.


I love the money I'm saving on cultured dairy products that are easy to make and taste a whole lot better than store bought (not to mention the wonderful probiotics). Even my 12 year old is amazed. Just last week she did the math after tasting some of the sour cream and commented on how much we can save over time. It just makes sense to do this. 

But because most of us didn't grow up culturing dairy products, making yeast breads from scratch, or canning our own jams, making these things a part of our daily routine can be daunting. Getting organized can be the trick that seals the deal for success to make these old ways new again and part of a permanent lifestyle change!




This post was added to Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS™.

25 comments:

  1. I love making both yogurt and cultured buttermilk! You can also make soft cheese from the buttermilk culture. Just drain the buttermilk after it's cultured in cheesecloth until it's dry enough and has the consistency of soft cheese. Add a pinch of salt and voila! soft cheese. It's called "quark" and it's delicious! The liquid you drain off is whey. Use it to make your bread!

    I need to be more organized. I like the basket idea!

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  2. I can't culture my own dairy products at home this very point in time, but your tips on putting away the stuff really helps!

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  3. I love this. I wish we had classes on how to make dairy cultures. I am going to attempt to make yogurt this week. I have so much milk I don't know what to do with it all!

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  4. Great info.! That class sounds awesome!I need to do something like that or get a good book on it because a few other couples along with me and my husband are considering buying a cow or some shares of a Jersey Cow (with the good A2 gene) for raw milk. Sadly, we must go undercover regarding in obtaining raw milk because it is illegal in our state.

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  5. Oh how I want to DO this! In time...in time... And...can you bop on over to my place and get me organized...please? ;)

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  6. Now that was a great post! I was inspired to organize. I'm only doing raw goat milk kefir right now though.

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  7. I love the baskets for organizing. So aesthetically pleasing and homey. But I have one question. They're not easily cleaned. So how do you keep them clean?

    In my house, they'd be covered in spilled or unwiped jelly in the first use! Or they would pick up something spilled on the fridge shelf. I tend to use plastic bins for organizing because they are more easily cleaned but they're not near as pretty.

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  8. Mommaof10, you may need to go with the plastic. My kids are a bit older now (8, 12, 18) and they are actually beginning to not make so much of a mess!! But if you have younger ones, it could be an issue. That said, you could probably just wash these out occasionally or wipe them with a wash cloth. And these were very cheap to begin with. Also, I make sure I wipe out my fridge every Saturday so that it stays as clean as possible.

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  9. For several years I have had success with all my bread starters and sprouts so I have been toying with the idea of culturing my own dairy products. Your post convinced me to just do it. Thank you for the link!

    ~ Tracy

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  10. Thanks for the great post, you have inspired me to start culturing more things at home. I too struggle with staying organized, love the jelly basket int he fridge!

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  11. Love your organization! And it looks so nice, too!
    I would love to take the classes, but since they are all video and I only have dial-up internet, it isn't possible. Wish she had a book or other form of classes for backwards people like me. :~{

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  12. Lady Farmer, the notes are typically sufficient for learning, but a real bonus for visual people like me!

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  13. Good information. Not sure I will be able to take this on right now, but will def bookmark it. :) Thanks

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  14. Great post, and very timely! Just today, I made the decision to start culturing my own buttermilk after seeing the price at the store. I am going the easy route of using store bought buttermilk for the starter and just adding it to regular whole milk. Also, the store buttermilk has a LOT of other ingredients... not good! Love your organizing ideas! I have started thrifting wire/metal baskets for that sort of thing. My favorite are the plastic coated wire - very easy to clean. :)

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  15. Can certainly tell that you are a super organized person. I think this is wonderful.
    I need to do much better at this myself. Thanks for all the good information.
    shug

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  16. This is inspiring! I just started doing my own yogurt, and I've been wanting to branch out to kombucha, but was worried about keeping everything organized. I especially like that you put your culturing schedule on your calendar. That could totally make things doable for me, too. Thanks!
    http://mindofthemother.blogspot.com/

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  17. Love the basket idea for the jellies I always hate pulling all of them out...so much easier that way! Can't wait to see more about cultures!

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  18. love this post! What a great idea for baskets in the fridge! My counter looks like yours, prolly. I've got buttermilk culturing, dairy kefir culturing, and water kefir grains reviving. wheew!

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  19. I think this is the best, most practical post you've ever written. So great! Thank you!

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  20. Amy,
    Wonderful practical tips! My husband laughs at all my "brews" sitting around the kitchen, sourdough, kefir, yogurt, kombucha! And it is a challenge to keep up with it all - but SO worth it!
    Gina

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  21. Wonderful info ~ I have goats and sheep now, so I am beginning to learn how our great, great grandmothers use to do it. Would it be possible for you to blog how you make each one of these, so we can all learn how to make them? Thanks so much :)

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  22. Vee, learning to make these is an excellent skill, but I'm so new to it! I'm taking the Cultured Dairy class at GNOWFGLINS - click the link in my right sidebar that says "Free Yeast" or the "Real Cooking" link at the bottom of this page just above the truck and it will take you to where they class is hosted - very reasonable price for an outstanding course!! (As an affiliate, I receive a commission when someone takes the class through the link on my page).

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  23. Baskets in the refrigerator? Genius! And cute!

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