One of the most versatile, extremely-healthy super foods that is very easy to make is good old fashioned yogurt. Yogurt makers are very affordable, and do take a little of guess work out of it, but making at home with nothing more than mason jars is simple.
Most of us think of yogurt as something we have at breakfast with some granola or fruit, but it is used extensively in many culture’s cuisines. One of the best foods for digestion, yogurt offers more health benefits than meets the eye.
Health Benefits of Homemade Yogurt
Boosts the Immune System
Loaded with protein
Lowers the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Helps with digestion, specifically with lowering chance of colon cancer, IBS, constipation, diarrhea and lactose intolerance
Increases bone density
Lowers risk of Osteoporosis
Reduces high blood pressure
Supports weight loss and increases fat loss
Reduces bad cholesterol
How to Make Yogurt using Mason Jars
What you will need:
This is very simple, and very cheap. You will need 4 mason jars, quart sized, large stock pot, thermometer, milk, starter yogurt, large cooler.
Fill the mason jars with milk (don’t use skin or reduced fat), approximately 2 inches from the top
Place the mason jars in a large stock pot.
Fill the stockpot up with water, up to about 3 inches from the top edge of the mason jars (don’t have to be exact on this)
Place a thermometer in one of the mason jars filled with milk.
Bring the stockpot to a boil, and then reduce heat so that the water is simmering, and wait until the thermometer reads 180ºF (a little skin will develop on the top of the milk at this point)
While wearing an oven mit, remove the mason jars now and place them on a counter or table, and loosely cover them so that no dust or anything from the air can get into them. Keep a thermometer in one of the jars.
Let them cool (will take perhaps up to an hour) to 110ºF to 115ºF.
Once they have cooled to this temperature, mix in 2 Tablespoons of normal yogurt that works as the starter yogurt. Mix in thoroughly and screw on the caps loosely.
Two options for incubation: you will need to let them rest, with no disturbance for about 8 to 12 hours. Three suggestions that work well for this:
You can have a slow cooker ready that you poured in a tea kettle full of hot water into, and place the mason jars in there and put the lid on the slow cooker. You never turn on the slow cooker during this time. Cover the slowcooker with a towel to better insulate it.
-or- if you have a good cooler, you can add some very warm water in the cooler and then add the mason jars and secure the cover. With a cooler, you might have to add hot water about half way through to keep the temperature up.
-or- place the mason jars in an oven, turn the light on, and close the door
However you store, you will just need a method where you can store the jars at 110ºF to 120ºF for 8-12 hours undisturbed.
Secure the lids and place in the fridge, will be good for about 2 weeks.
Homemade Yogurt Serving Suggestions
Add a little vanilla or sugar when you add the starter yogurt for added flavor
Add a little powdered milk when adding the starter yogurt to make a thicker yogurt
After you make the yogurt as per the instructions above, you can take a sauce pan, place a strainer on top of that, line it with paper towels or coffee filters, pour the yogurt into that and put in the fridge for several hours. This will strain out the whey, giving you a very thick yogurt. The whey is excellent for cooking.
Enjoy with granola, fruit, honey, or maple syrup
Homemade Yogurt Video
A similar process, but in this video she heats up the milk separately, and then adds to the mason jars, whereas our recipe calls for adding the milk to the jars before heating. Both methods work easily as well, all a matter of preference.