So Cultured! Our Seventh and Final Eat Drink Local Ingredient of the Week is DIY Yogurt

Back in the winter when we were picking out our Seven Eat Drink Local Ingredients of the Week, we asked you for your favorite locally procured foods, especially those that you felt were undersung or beneath the radar. One…

Back in the winter when we were picking out our Seven Eat Drink Local Ingredients of the Week, we asked you for your favorite locally procured foods, especially those that you felt were undersung or beneath the radar. One of the more unique suggestions was yogurt.

Great idea, we thought: For starters, there’s more great product to be found lately, thanks to the increase of local dairies producing smaller batch products and more local shepherds raising goat and lamb (Monday’s ingredient of the week, by the way).

Yogurt is also multi-cultural, just like this city: Russians and Ukrainians, Middle Easterners, Arabs, Albanians, Icelanders, Greeks … so many of of the world’s cultures make  yogurt, whether it’s from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk or cow’s milk. It’s strained and blended with cream in Reykjavik, added to soups and sauces in Crete, used to top meat or spinach-stuffed pastries called burek in Tirana, tossed with beets in Moscow, eaten with fruit and granola everywhere else.

And perhaps more importantly, yogurt is also one of those DIY foods you can try your hand at home: Like spaghetti sauce or pie or homemade pasta or chicken stock, it’s one of those tasks that pays off in flavor far beyond what you can buy, as well as with the joy of doing something yourself, preferably with friends and family.

It’s also easy: Buy good quality milk (we list a few great vendors right here), buy some great yogurt, and then make it from scratch. All you have to do is heat it up, add the yogurt and let it sit.

These are all points made by Greek chef Michael Psilakis in our most recent segment on NY1, which was all about making Greek yogurt from scratch. You can watch the segment and read his very eloquent ode to what yogurt means to his family right here. We hope you do, since for our seventh and final ingredient of the week, what we’d really like to do is encourage you to make it yourself.

And if you do it by the end of the day and photograph your handiwork, you can enter yourself in the Eat Drink Local Challenge to win a gift for yourself, to boot.

 

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.