Tag Archives: cheese making

Ricotta cheese

There is simply nothing like home made Ricotta cheese. There are so many things you can do with it: eat it from a spoon, put it in lasagna, stuff cannelloni, piggies in blankets, make bread with it, and so on.  I have even found a flavourful ricotta doughnut recipe. The list is long and distinguished and every  growing thanks to inventive minds. It is easy-peasy to make and provides and almost instant treat when complete. My favourite thing to do with it is eat it like the Greeks do: with strong espresso coffee and a drizzle of honey–it is simply divine!

Here’s how:

Two gallons of milk heating on stove.

Two gallons of milk heating on stove.

Put a gallon of milk (fresh from the cow if you have access, but store-bought will work) in a large pot.

Heat until the milk reaches 200 degrees F, do not let it boil (it will be very close to boiling as it approaches this temperature).

Having added the lemon juice, the curds begin to form immediately.

Having added the lemon juice, the curds begin to form immediately.

Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar (apple cider or white, both work fine) and stir gently for two minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for 10 minutes while the milk curdles into cheese (what will be in the pot is actually Little Miss Muffet’s curds and whey).

Gently remove curds from pot and place in strainer or jelly bag.
Gently remove curds from pot and place in strainer or jelly bag.

Strain through a jelly bag or cheese cloth catching all the curds. Save the whey and make bread, muffins, or pancakes with it. I always use it to make Italian Whey bread–it is fantastic bread!

Ricotta curds hanging in jelly bag draining out the whey.
Ricotta curds hanging in jelly bag draining out the whey.

Let it strain until it stops dripping, about a half an hour. I tie an elastic band around the jelly bag and hook it over a cupboard handle. While not high-tech, it works! Viola, you have ‘cottage industry’ or ‘artisan made’ ricotta cheese.

Whenever I make ricotta, I reward myself with the special Greek treat: Spoon some in to a bowl immediately and pour a couple of tablespoons of strong espresso coffee over it, drizzle over some honey and sprinkle cinnamon and enjoy!


Filed under cheese making, How to..., Preserving the harvest

Feeding Goldilocks

To date we have produced and processed from our own garden the following:

canned, dried and fermented.

Some of this years preserved food: canned, dried and fermented.

PICKLES: Sauerkraut, Dilly beans, Beets, Dill pickles
RELISHES: Zucchini, Coney Island, Spicy gooseberry chutney, Chili piccalilli
JAMS: Raspberry, Lavender, Strawberry, Tayberry, Blackberry, Apricot butter
JELLIES: Red currant, Blackcurrant, Lavender, Grape
CANNING: Pears, Apricots, Peaches, Rhubarb, Apple pie filling, Apple sauce, Salmon, Chicken, Beef, Basil pesto
FROZEN: Cherries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Red currants, Blackberries, Cherry pie filling, Basil, Dill, Cilantro, Peas, Snow peas
SCHNAPPS: Red currant, Blackcurrant, Rhubarb /lemon juice concentrate
WILD Crafted: Red/blue huckleberries, Salmonberries, Stinging nettle, Fiddle head ferns.
DRYING: Dill, Zucchini, Carrots, Apples, Pears, Cherries, Mint, Oregano
DAIRY: Yoghurt, Ice cream, Sour cream, Cheese (Leicester, cheddar, cumin-gouda, gouda, parmesan,  ricotta, haloumi, mozzarella, feta), Whey bread (bread made from the whey left-over from cheese-making).


I have been making cheeses, but a day’s kitchen labour produces maybe 2 lb of cheese. It then has to be brined, salted, cured, flipped, for months—it’s like raising Goldilocks.


Looking at our chicken shed, I wonder: “How many chickens/eggs do we two need for a year?” This, like all the other predictions about food consumption, was difficult to answer, and still is. At present, we are relying on the remnants of last year’s harvest. I managed to can a bunch of our chickens, and we’ve traded for quite a bit of fish this year. We need to make it till about Thanksgiving before we can butcher our own chickens.

I estimated I’d need at least 52 roosters for culling, and more hens to step up the egg sales. I also want new blood. My hens set regularly, and it’s certainly the easiest way to increase a flock, but the results are also fluctuating. So I incubated 36 but hatched only 5. From the second batch I had two live hatchings but only one survived. Clearly, my one darling rooster was not doing his job democratically. Third time round, I ordered 50 chickens from Rochester Hatchery in Alberta. At present, we have more people wanting our eggs than we can supply, so I often don’t have any for my needs. We tend to rely on the infrequency of the duck eggs to meet our needs.

I was contemplating milking the goats, which would require investment in milking equipment, not to mention a potent buck (all my males are wethers), not to mention the will to kill and eat the kids. Being new to this life-style, I’m not sure I could do in the baby goats. I’m not able to stay home when the turkeys get done in as it is. Over and above this problem, what has rapidly dawned on me is my lack of time: between expanding and maintaining the garden and animals, there is simply no time for regular milking. So I get cow’s milk from a local person; on my first visit he observed that he had no time to raise chickens, so the solution is obvious to us: he is happy to trade his milk for my eggs and value added products such as jams and jellies. It’s a huge time relief.

This list may seem exhaustive as well as exhausting. It is. This is partly because we in the pampered West have grown accustomed to a global diet. I enjoy cooking Mexican, Greek, and both east and west Indian foods, and I want things to taste just right.

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Filed under Food Security, Sustainable Farming