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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Yogurt and the Pretty Green Jar

Ball green canning jars and yogurt
I rigged up a white background to show off the green!

If you've liked Ball® Canning and Recipes on Facebook (and you should!)- then you've seen the announcement that while the limited run of blue jars is ending, they are starting to make GREEN jars. Even better? These come in both pint and quart sizes and really are just that pretty. They are Heritage Collection jars, and inspired by the Ball Perfection Jars. The are manufactured to the normal high quality of Ball jars and absolutely gorgeous. The color is fantastic, the lid sizes are also standard so the rings, plastic caps and accessories you have will work with these jars.
Pre-order Spring Green Jars
I love the Heritage Blue jars and blue is my daughter's favorite color. Green is my favorite color, so I'm just thrilled with the new release. If you really love the blue, you have a limited window to buy more before they are gone.

The jars shown are the quart sized Heritage Collection green jar and the Ball Collection Elite half-pint. The yogurt shown is Viili.

Viili is:
mesophilic- which means that it sets at room temperature, no heat necessary
heirloom- which means that the culture itself can be reused and shared indefinitely.

Ball® pint and quart jars are perfect for making yogurt using heirloom cultures. Why? Because it makes it even easier. My son uses a Heritage blue pint jar for his yogurt. He makes a batch, puts it in a bowl, washes the jar, then puts back in two spoonfuls of yogurt. He tops that with milk and then puts a plastic cap on it to shake it up and mix in the yogurt. Takes off the cap and puts a coffee filter on top of the jar, and then adds a canning band to hold that in place. Sets it out on his counter top until it's set and fixes two 1 cup servings of yogurt for himself. He uses the yogurt both sweet with fruit or extracts, or adds savory spices to use it as a dip or topping.

Using the quart jar, you'd put in a 1/2 cup of your finished yogurt to start your next batch. When it gets low, I measure what's left in a measuring cup, wash the jar and start the next batch. I like plastic caps for jars after they are opened. It saves wear and tear on rings to store them properly, and the caps are inexpensive, washable and reusable.

There are a few kinds of mesophilic cultures, so it's about finding the one you like best. Piima is lovely in smoothies and has a cream cheese flavor that works well with cream added to the milk. Matsoni/Caspian Sea yogurt is very tart, Viili is mild with a neat ropey/jelly like texture, Filmjolk is the yogurt I recommend to people who don't really like yogurt. It's very mild, and excellent for desserts.
The piima works so well for smoothies that I've never tried thickening it, but for the rest, adding in some cream and some instant dry milk with the milk/starter mix makes a thicker yogurt without having to add anything that's not milk.

For flavoring- my family uses all sorts of stuff. Homemade jellies and jams, frozen fruit, sugar, maple syrup, homemade caramel sauce, cocoa powder- the important thing to remember is that you need to keep some yogurt completely plain to culture your next batch. We've found the easiest is just to have all the yogurt plain in the fridge then flavor individual servings.

Ball® sent me the green jars for review purposes. The Elite jar is from my personal collection and my personal choice for packed lunches and yogurt servings because of the shape of the jar and the wide mouth.

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