Stemmlers 2016-17
Stemmlers 2016-17

Yogurt

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Available

January 1 - December 31

Harvest Period

N/A - N/A

Yogurt is a cultured milk product, which means that milk has been fermented through contact with specific kinds of bacteria. These bacteria ingest natural milk sugars and release lactic acid as a waste product.  The increased acidity in the milk causes the milk proteins to tangle together into curd, while at the same time preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.

Spelling

There are probably more variations on the English spelling of yogurt than any other food!  In Canada, “yogourt” and sometimes “yogurt” are commonly used, the former because it is a bilingual term.  In the US and Britain, yogurt and yoghurt are the norm. In France, look for "yaourt" on containers.

Types of Yogurt

Plain yogurt is unsweetened and unflavoured. Firm style is packaged as soon as the milk and bacteria coagulate while Swiss-style or stirred yogurt has fruit mixed into the yogurt, breaking up the firmness. Fruit bottom yogurts have a dollop of jam-like mixture at the bottom of the container with sweetened yogurt on top.  Greek-style or Balkan yogurt is strained through cloth to produce a thicker, richer product.

What to Look For

Look for yogurt with live bacterial cultures of acidophilus and bifidobacteria, as these are more stable in stomach acid and will get through in sufficient numbers to the intestines. When large populations of healthy bacteria exist in the intestine, the numbers of harmful bacteria are kept in check. The friendly bacteria help boost our digestive system, allowing it to absorb and process healthy nutrients.

Flavoured yogurts often contain additional ingredients - as well as sugar and fruit, they may contain artificial dyes, preservatives, sweeteners, and flavour enhancers. Thickeners or stabilizers such as gelatin are commonly added to create a thicker texture and increase shelf life. While not harmful, thickeners and stabilizers are used instead of more nutritious (and costly) dairy ingredients such as milk powder, which can also thicken yogurt and increase its shelf life. The most nutritious yogurts will be those with the least amount of added ingredients.

Storage

Check the expiration date on the side of the yogurt container to make sure that it is still fresh. If unopened, it will stay fresh for about one week past the expiration date. Store yogurt in the fridge in its original container and eat it soon after opening.

Nutritional Information

Yogurt is rich in calcium, and its absorption is aided by live bacterial cultures found within the product.  It is also high in protein, B vitamins and essential minerals while being low in fat (if non fat or low fat versions are chosen).

The amount of fat, carbohydrates and calories will differ depending on the brand and particular additives in the yogurt.

¾ cup (175g) of plain, 1% fat yogurt provides 90 calories, 2g fat, 11g carbohydrate, 0g dietary fibre, and 8g protein.

¾ cup (175g) of plain 2.5% yogurt provides 110 calories, 4g fat, 8 g carbohydrate, 0g dietary fibre, and 8g protein.

How to Use

Delicious eaten on its own or mixed with cereal and fruit, yogurt is a versatile breakfast, snack or dessert option. It can be used in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. Add garlic and grated cucumber for a refreshing dip (raita) for vegetables and meat. Pour into smoothies, layer with fruit in parfaits, or add to baked goods for increased moistness.

Yogurt cheese is a great alternative to cream cheese, and a fun and easy experiment in the kitchen. Drain the yogurt over a bowl for two hours in the refrigerator in a sieve lined with cheesecloth or layers of paper towels. The end result is a thick and tangy spread. It can be sweetened with honey or maple syrup, or flavoured with vanilla, liqueurs or grated orange peel and used on desserts. Try mixing it with garlic and herbs; smoked salmon cubes and dill; or diced veggies and black pepper for a great bagel topper. Don’t throw away the liquid as it can be used for cooking rice or baking bread.