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™.