Making Farm Cheese
It seems like I say this a lot, "My favorite food storage recipe. . . ." What I really mean to say is that feeding your family is only as far away as your recipe book or your imagination! It is comforting to know that you can create food for your family from what you have laying around in the kitchen.
Another of my favorite recipes is for what I have always been taught to call “Farm Cheese." It is very simple, and yet so very versatile. It starts with simple ingredients of milk and vinegar, and only takes a little bit of your time.
You will also need a heavy bottom, non-aluminum pot and a candy thermometer. A very fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth. An old, clean linen napkin also works very well. The rest is very simple.
8 Cups Milk - whole milk preferred, but any will work. Even 8 cups of mixed up powdered milk
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Vinegar
Place the 8 Cups of Milk in a heavy bottom pot and heat on medium heat until the milk reaches 180 degrees F. Watch the milk carefully during heating so that it does not burn to the bottom. Turn off the heat and add your vinegar. Stir gently, then allow to sit until milk and whey separate. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or so.
Strain through the strainer or cloth, saving the whey liquid to use in other recipes. If you want the cheese to be softer, don’t press it and don’t let it sit and drain. For a drier cheese, allow it to strain for additional time, checking occasionally to check consistency. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can vary the softness and hardness of this cheese by changing up the type or amount of vinegar. In my experience, rice vinegar seems to make a softer cheese, while white vinegar makes a very hard cheese. Mine was more crumbly with white vinegar. This made it good for ravioli and sprinkling in quiche, but not so great in lasagna. It was horrid as a pizza topping.
I find that Farm Cheese never melts like mozzarella cheese does on pizza, but if made softer, it can be similar to ricotta on the pizza, and goes great in other pasta dishes like lasagna or baked ziti.
One very yummy vinegar to use is the leftover vinegar brine from a jar of jalepenos or banana peppers. We have used this and it is wonderful. It tends to make a much softer cheese with a nice pickled-pepper flavor. It goes great on top of Southwestern Quinoa bowls and even sprinkled on top of a taco salad.
Experiment with red wine vinegar and others to see what you enjoy. Make sure to write down how much vinegar you use and your results. This will help you develop favorite recipes to use with your meals.
One of the items a lot of families store in their home storage for bulk and nutrition is dried beans. Beans are a great source for protein, fiber, and several other minerals and nutrients that your body needs just to get by from day to day. A nutrient-dense whole food, dried beans are great for long term as well, because they can be packed away for years and years. Some people aren't up for storing too many beans, though, as they tend to produce a lot of intestinal gas that can make home storage, shall we say, uncomfortable.
One of our favorite beans to keep in our home store are the pretty burgundy and white Anasazi beans. These beans have also been called Cave Beans or Appaloosa Beans, and have been identified as a “cousin” of the pinto bean. The Anasazi Beans, though, can help a bit with the intestinal disturbance mentioned previously, because they tend to have less of the gas producing ingredients than typical beans kept in food storage. In some claims, there is as much as an 80% reduction in the amount of gas producing irritant in the Anasazi beans.
My favorite reason for keeping them, though, is actually because they take a lot less prep time and a lot less water than standard beans like pinto, kidney, black, and white beans do. Anasazi beans take between 30 and 60 minutes to cook tender for use in any recipe that usually calls for canned or cooked beans. We have used them in our kitchen to make everything from refried beans to Chili, and from casseroles to baked beans. Although they are a bit bigger than the standard white bean or navy bean used to make baked beans, the flavor in the recipe was just as good as if I had used Navy beans. Making the Anasazi bean the most versatile bean in our storage and kitchen.
Another great benefit of Anasazi beans are that they are an heirloom variety of beans which can be planted in your vegetable garden and grown for additional food for the future. Although legend has it that archaeologists discovered ancient beans, hundreds of years old and sprouted some, which allowed the ancient bean to be rediscovered, it is unlikely that this is their true history. It is more likely that they have been grown and preserved over centuries then regrown. Even “seed viability specialists” are known to have stated that it is likely that seeds of this type cannot be stored for growth for more than 50 years as that seems to be the “outside edge” for growing seeds that have been stored. This is good encouragement, though, for someone to grow their own vegetable garden because you can easily reproduce your crop year after year as well as set up some for future food storage. This is a great rotating crop for extending your food storage for years to come.
If you are looking for a great addition to your dry bean storage, grab some Anasazi beans and give them a try. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of their flexibility, flavor, and versatility. Enjoy!!!
Judith has over 30 years experience in food storage, herbs, essential oils, and prepping. She was a captain in the USAF-AUX, FEMA trained, Community Emergency Response Team member and NRA marksmanship award recipient. She shares her experiences with her readers offering tips and recipes.
The information shared is our personal opinion and should NEVER be considered a substitute for professional medical, nutritional, or other expert advice. Information contained is not for the purposes of diagnosing, or treating any disease or medical condition. Any endorsement of products should not be considered an un-biased review since we are paid and compensated when you purchase products from this site.