Yogurt Drops Are Wonderful Snacking Treats for Both Young and Old Alike
These are like the yogurt snacks you see sold in the stores. Making your own with plain yogurt allows you to control the ingredients—especially the sugar content—of your snacks. I prefer this over buying the flavored yogurt.
This procedure was taken from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, a US-based testing facility. Normally yogurt (being a dairy product) is not safe for home dehydration. Because the yogurt is acificied by the fruit that is added to it, these test as safe for home dehydration.
- Get the yogurt with live and active cultures so that you can enjoy the healthful benefits.
- Greek yogurt has less liquid content so it is actually more bang for the buck.
- I also prefer full-fat yogurt as they have less in the way of additives. Don’t believe me? Read the labels!
- Dried yogurt is pretty tangy. Like most foods, the flavors are all concentrated once dehydrated, so the sourness of yogurt is very evident. If you don’t eat unsweetened yogurt, you won’t like dried yogurt without adding sweetener.
- Simply sweetening it with stevia drops, raw honey, maple syrup, or other sweetener of your choice to taste before dehydrating will help with the tanginess. If you like this taste before drying, chances are you’ll probably like it afterward.
A Word About Live, Active Cultured Yogurt
Live and active cultures refer to the living organisms Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which convert pasteurized milk to yogurt during fermentation. All yogurts are required to be made with these two cultures. In addition, some yogurts contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus and other cultures. In heat-treated yogurt, these cultures are killed during post-fermentation heating which lengthens the storage times, but kills the probiotics.
Researchers around the world are studying the potential attributes of live and active culture yogurt in preventing gastrointestinal infections, boosting the body’s immune system, fighting certain types of cancer and preventing osteoporosis. More research must be done to establish a definitive link between live and active culture yogurt and these health effects, but the results to date are encouraging.
Additionally, the live and active cultures found in yogurt break down lactose in milk. This allows lactose intolerant individuals who commonly experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they consume milk products to eat yogurt and receive the nutrients contained in the milk product without the side effects of abdominal cramping, bloating and diarrhea.
Yield: 2 cups, about 32 (1 tablespoon-sized) yogurt drops
1-1/3 cups Greek yogurt or regular yogurt with live cultures, drained of liquids*
2/3 cup fruit, fresh or previously frozen, drained
Sweetener to taste (optional)
Any other additive as described below (optional)
- Line trays with parchment or use roll-up trays.
- Chop up fruit and mix with yogurt. Drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheets.
- You can also load mixture into a Ziploc bag, cut off a small tip of the bottom, and pipe the yogurt onto your cookie sheets.
- Place the cookie sheets into the freezer until yogurt drops a firmly frozen, about an hour or so. This allows the yogurt to “set up” and hold a bit of shape. The freezer does NOT kill the healthy bacteria.
- Load the frozen yogurt drops onto dehydrator paraflexx (fruit leather) or parchment-lined trays leaving room around each drop.
- Dehydrate at 110°F/43-45°C, rotating trays as needed. This temperature, while lengthening the drying process, allows you to keep the good stuff in your live yogurt cultures.
- You want the resulting yogurt drops to be totally dry, so that nothing comes off on your fingers when you touch the very center. If you place two pieces together, they should easily come apart.
- Store refrigerated for 7-14 days. Yogurt Drops can be frozen for up to 2 months.
To Drain Yogurt:
- Line strainer (or colander) with double layer of cheese cloth (or a paper towel or coffee filter).
- Place strainer over a large bowl, making sure there is space between the bottom of the strainer and the bottom of the bowl to catch drips.
- Pour yogurt into strainer. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until liquid has dripped out to desired consistency.
- Drain for 1 hour to remove 20% of the liquid.
- Drain for 3-4 hours to remove half of the liquid.
- Drain overnight (8 hours or so) to remove all of the liquid. (closest to consistency of sour cream). This is the best consistency for yogurt drops.
You can use drained yogurt as full or partial substitute for sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, or as Greek yogurt.
- You may use coconut milk yogurt or any other milk-free product you like. It will all work as long as you drain the yogurt.
- Draining the yogurt of its liquids really goes a long way to keeping the shape of your yogurt. Otherwise, you run the risk of having the yogurt drops run together. This is not a loss though because you can always treat these batches as “yogurt roll ups”!
- Flavoring with dehydrated powders is an excellent way to make these drops. Add powder to taste and increase drained yogurt amount to 2 cups.
- Savory yogurt drops are also quite delicious. Just add pureed vegetables or vegetable powders instead of fruit. I especially like cucumber-dill flavor.
Spices, Flavors, and Garnishes
To add interest to your yogurt drops, try adding spices, flavorings or garnishes.
Spices–Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice. Use sparingly, start with 1/8 teaspoon for each 2 cups of yogurt mix.
Flavorings–Almond extract, lemon juice, lemon peel, lime juice, lime peel, orange extract, orange juice, orange peel cocoa powder, or vanilla extract. Use sparingly, try 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for each 2 cups of yogurt mix.
Other Additions–Shredded coconut, chopped dates, other dried chopped fruits, granola, miniature marshmallows, chopped nuts, chopped raisins, poppy seeds, sesame seeds or sunflower seeds. Nut butters may be added also, but will need to be incorporated well throughout.
Store in refrigerator. Not for long-term storage.
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