cheesemaking: local milk is not terribly expensive, is organic and delicious.
Rainbow grocery sells mozzarella and ricotta-making kits. mozzarella
stretches like taffy and takes under an hour to make. why the hell not??
yogurt: I posted yogurt instructions a few months ago, but laziness and
budget have stopped me from continuing to make it. Upon reevaluation, it
looks like strained yogurt is the only one that does not save you cash. a
quart of organic yogurt is comparable in price to a gallon of organic milk,
which can make a gallon of organic yogurt. It's too much yogurt for me, but
if four of us split a gallon of yogurt, that saves us all money and extra plastic.
Maybe there are some trades in order?
pickles: I have never pickled or jarred anything, and I am very intrigued.
Some cursory research has told me that it's risky to can your own higher
pH (low acidity) foods, with tomato products at the cusp of edible and full-
of-Botulism. So vinegary pickles are fair game, and sound easy. This is a
great way to both experiment with new flavor combinations, stock up your
pantry for the winter, and use up your extra produce. I'll try to find some
way to trade for or obtain slightly damaged produce as I make the farmers
market rounds on Sunday.
vinegar: Of course, there's the question of the best place to obtain gallons
of vinegar. I know of at least one apple tree that needs harvesting, and
probably would not be hard-pressed (get it?) to find more. Once you juice
the apples and add some type of brewer's yeast, you can let your vinegar
ferment for a couple months. so maybe pickles will have to wait...
dehydrated foods: Another great way to use up damaged or extra produce
is to dehydrate it. I don't own a dehydrator, but an oven works just as well.
There is a tray of bananas in my oven as I write this, with the temperature
set to "warm," which is somewhere between room temperature and 200
degrees, the oven's lowest setting. Make sure to leave a note on your stove
if you do this, so your roommates don't accidentally scald your bounty. Not
only is it a bummer, but the cleanup can be ridiculous.
I'll add photos and recipes to the project queue as they happen. Thanks for
the comments on the last post, and keep them coming!