Yogurt – is Whey Worth Taking Another Look!
These days – we have more options for yogurts than we probably care to decipher. And most of us agree that yogurt is “good” for you. We eat it out of little plastic cups and think we are doing fine. But do you know that it can tenderize your grass-fed beef or that you can make “yogurt cheese”? And that all yogurts are NOT created equal.
Yogurt is an ancient food that has been produced for at least 4,000 years. It is a cultured milk product, made by adding certain “good” bacteria to milk, skim milk, and/or cream. On average in the U.S., we eat about five pounds of yogurt per person. Europeans – eat twice that amount. It is a form of milk product that is highly digestible, with calcium and its active bacterial cultures its added benefit to us humans.
Yogurt has been made basically the same way for centuries. First, milk is pasteurized to kill unwanted bacteria. Then it’s cooled to about 113 degrees
Fahrenheit, and the yogurt bacteria are added. The mixture is kept lukewarm for a number of hours, then chilled, allowing time for the bacteria to grow until the mixture becomes “pudding like”.
Some 85 percent of yogurt sold in the United States is sweetened with fruit
or flavored with other ingredients. The fat in yogurt made from whole milk makes it creamy, while the low-fat and nonfat yogurts often contain ingredients such as milk solids or gelatin to produce a creamy consistency
To make their products last longer on store shelves, manufacturers may
heat-treat their yogurts after fermentation. While this doesn’t affect the
calcium content of the yogurt, it does kill the live cultures, the very
ingredient that makes yogurt the “health food” that it is. Don’t be confused by a label that says “made with active cultures.” All yogurts are made this way, but only the brands that are not heat-treated after fermentation retain their living cultures.
Said by some to cure everything from arthritis and ulcers to digestive problems and yeast infections, yogurt may, indeed, improve our immune system defenses, helping to reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer. As its specific heath claims are being tossed around, it is a fact that yogurt is a good source of calcium, rich in protein (8 g per cup) and contains as much potassium as a banana, as well as riboflavin (vitamin B²), phosphorus, and magnesium.
There are a few good organic yogurts out there though – so if you don’t want to play with bacteria cultures and make your own, just be sure to buy a good yogurt – no fillers and with cultures that are still active. The fancy ones look attractive – but are usually so “fooled” with that it does not retain the ancient goodness that you want. Adding your own fruit and flavorings (and sweeteners if you must) to a whole milk organic yogurt is the most nutritious way to go.
I have discovered that cooking with yogurt is much more diverse than you can imagine. From mousses to marinades to yogurt cheese and beyond.
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