Garden spillover? Tomato Powder!

Tomato preservation options

Tomato preservation options

We’ve all done it. Planted two or three tomato plants and then suddenly, mid-summer, we have tomatoes coming out of our ears! Here’s another method of preserving your herculean grow efforts – Tomato Powder!
At the height of ripeness dehydrate thinly sliced tomatoes in large batches. The pictured tomato products were made from Amish Paste tomatoes; a super-tasty heirloom variety. The tomato slices need to be particularly dried. On their own they can later be reconstituted in water or oil for various applications.

Dehydrated slices of Amish Paste tomatoes

Dehydrated slices of Amish Paste tomatoes


With a blender, food-processor or (in this case) a Magic Bullet process the dried slices into powder. Reconstitute small amounts of the power for sauces, pastes or just to add rich tomato flavors to other dishes.
The variegated shades of powder in the jar pictured below is caused from the variety of dried tomato batches used in the powdering process.
Tomato Powder made from multiple batches of dried tomatoes

Tomato Powder made from multiple batches of dried tomatoes


A jar of home-grown tomato powder makes a nice gift as well…

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You Can Do It – Raw Chèvre

Homemade Raw Chèvre

Homemade Raw Chèvre

For many, many years I have half joked that my lifelong ambition was to be a goat farmer and grow to 300 lbs by subsisting off my own artisan goat cheese. Today I became a few steps closer to making that dream a reality…HA! I made my own raw goat cheese. After a few weeks of my family going through the raw goat’s milk from our herdshare like Grant took Richmond I purchased another share of milk from Willow-Witt Ranch. Then I went out looking for some do-able small-batch cheese recipes. After scouring the web for recipes and techniques, I settled on a very simple chèvre recipe. And me being me, I had to tweak the recipe a little – because (God forbid) I just can’t follow directions exactly.
I bought my culture, rennet and cheesecloth at our local supply store, Grains, Beans & Things.

Here’s the ingredients you need:
1 quart of raw goat’s milk
1/4 cup sterilized water
1 drop of single strength Animal Rennet
1/16 teaspoon Mesophilic Culture
1/4 Sea Salt

Rennet & Culture

Rennet & Culture

Here’s the equipment you need:
2 medium squares of fine cheesecloth
Stainless steel colander
Stainless steel bowl
Wooden spoon
Large glass bowl
small glass bowl or cup
– You want the colander to be able to be suspended over stainless steel bowl

Firstly, make sure all your equipment is sterilized. Wash it with soap, rinse, pour boiling water over it all and then thoroughly dry it all.

Sterilized equipment

Sterilized equipment


– this includes the cheesecloth.
Sterilizing cheesecloth

Sterilizing cheesecloth


Pour quart of raw milk into the large glass bowl and sprinkle culture on the top of the milk. Give the culture a few minutes to re-hydrate and then mix gently but thoroughly with a wooden spoon. In the small glass bowl combine sterilized water with one drop of rennet. Add 2 tablespoons of rennet solution to milk mixture, mixing with the wooden spoon.
Combine ingredients

Combine ingredients


Cover bowl of milk with a towel and allow to culture at room temperature for 24 hours.
Place colander inside of stainless steel bowl and line with cheesecloth.
Pour cultured milk into cheese cloth – it should be a mixture of curds and whey at this point.
Cultured milk

Cultured milk


Tie up the ends of the cheesecloth to make a little bag for the cheese. The whey will drain through the cheesecloth and colander and be caught in the bottom of the stainless steel bowl. I slipped the wooden handle of a spatula through the top knot to further suspend the draining cheese.
Draining the cheese

Draining the cheese


Let drain for 24 hours for moist cheese – longer for dryer cheese. Even though many recipes said to allow the cheese to drain in the kitchen, I – being a paranoid first-time-raw-goat-cheese-maker – let my cheese drain in the ‘fridge.
When the cheese has drained, free it from it’s cheesecloth shroud.
Drained cheese

Drained cheese


I saved the drained whey in a jar to be used in another project and scraped the new cheese from the cheesecloth into the stainless steel bowl.
Add the sea salt.
Seasoning cheese with sea salt

Seasoning cheese with sea salt


Mix in the sea salt with a wooden spoon.
Store the finished raw cheese in clean (preferably glass) container.
Delicious Raw Chèvre

Delicious Raw Chèvre


This chèvre is seriously good stuff! I am SO excited to try new cultures for different cheese. If I can do this, anyone can do this.

Our Herdshare – Raw Goat’s Milk

Raw Goat's Milk...Mmm

Raw Goat’s Milk…Mmm

This year I decided to treat the family to a raw goat’s milk herdshare. Essentially, for about thirty bucks a month (no pun intended) my family receives 1/100th of the milk produced by ten Alpine dairy goats at the Willow-Witt Ranch of Ashland, Oregon. That translates to an average of a half gallon a week. Buying into a herdshare gets around the ridiculous red tape of purchasing raw milk.
The ranch brings the milk to central location in Medford once a week for pick up. It’s super convenient.
I have loved goat’s milk and goat’s cheese since I was a kid and it looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in regards to Bean’s affinity for the stuff. I had originally planned to turn the majority of our weekly milk into yogurt but we just keep drinking through it too fast – we may have to buy another share to meet our yogurt and cheese needs!
Raw goat’s milk is a wonderfully alive and nutrient dense food. Natural news published a great to-the-point article on beneficial properties of the milk. And if you live in the Southern Oregon area and are interested in raw goat’s milk, please check out Willow-Witt Ranch!