Yesterday was a fun day, we got to make yogurt and mozzarella cheese with Steve, one of the chefs. We started with boiling two gallons of milk (not quite boiling temperature, but pretty high, about 190F) in separate pots, one gallon per pot. After we heated those, we took the pots over to a sink filled with ice and set them in to cool them off. We measured a cup from each (again, into separate bowls) and added a cup of yogurt into each bowl, and we stirred the mixtures around until it was all blended, then we poured them back into their respective pots. We then measured the mixtures into small, quart sized containers for storage (I'm not sure what these are going to be for exactly) and put them away. After this, we moved back over to the stove area to make the mozzarella! We started by heating some water and adding some kosher salt (a LOT of kosher salt!). While the water was heating, we broke apart the milk curd that was to be used for making the cheese. To form it into actual mozzarella, we took about a handful of the now-broken milk curd, put it in a strainer and submerged it in the hot water, stirring it around to give it shape. After about a minute or so, you take it out and stretch it around until you get a consistency you like. We rolled it out on a pan and cut circles to store for later, and any leftovers we got to eat. Hot mozzarella is salty, but it is oh-so-delicious. We repeated this process about three times or so. then we finished the day by washing some potatoes that had arrived. After that we cleaned up and went home.
Healthy Eating with Local Produce (HELP) is a Farm to School program
dedicated to bringing fresh local foods into schools and supporting local
agriculture. We have developed relationships with area farmers to provide whole fresh foods to Maplewood Richmond Heights School District through the Salus Processing Center. HELP uses the processing center to turn food into items that can be stored for year-round use in the cafeteria. In Year One, there were four primary foods used for processing: apples, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Some of our favorite processed items are tomatoes into marinara, sweet potatoes into sweet potato fries, and apples into applesauce. HELP works closely with school foodservice staff to create delicious healthy foods for students while educating them about the benefits of a more healthful diet. The HELP grant is designed to test if food processing and distribution can be fiscally sustainable for school districts.