Dawna Ara, L.Ac.

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Homemade Coconut-Cashew Yogurt Recipe

It may sound intimidating to make your own delicious and healthy dairy free yogurt but it’s actually pretty easy!

All you need are a few yummy ingredients, an oven with a light or insulated cooler, and a couple glass jars with tight fitting lids.

Why make your own yogurt? Well, it’s good for you! It can help keep your immune system working so you don’t get sick and it keeps your bowels regular.

New research suggest that having healthy microflora can keep your brain healthy as well. Plus, it’s much cheaper to make your own yogurt than it is to buy it in the store. Homemade yogurt guarantees high quality ingredients and yields a higher beneficial bacteria count than store bought yogurt. There are no additives and no waste of plastic containers. You will win all around when making your own yogurt.

The Ingredients
  • 2 young coconuts (meat and juice)
  • 1 cup of cashews
  • 1/8 cup of agar agar flakes (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon of Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Complete Powder or 1 tablespoon of store bought organic plain yogurt with live cultures.

Agar agar is a gelatinous substance derived from red algae. Coconut yogurt is thinner in texture than store bought yogurt so I use agar agar to thicken it. You can omit the agar if you prefer a thinner yogurt.

Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Complete Powder is a top notch high quality full spectrum probiotic. It really is the best of the best. It can be pricy but the good news is, if you make yogurt out of it, the cultures will multiply, meaning you don’t have to use as much on a daily basis. This will make your container last longer. Of course you can use your own favorite probiotic, just make sure to call the manufacture and ask if it can be used to make yogurt. The probiotic has to have the right balance of beneficial bacteria in order for your yogurt to turn out right. You can also just use 1 tablespoon of organic plain yogurt from the store. Just make sure the container says it contains “live” cultures.

The Process

Ah, let the fun begin! You can buy young coconuts from Whole Foods and Asian markets that are already cut open for you! How amazing is that? If you happen to buy one that’s not cut open, then you will need to cut it open yourself. I recommend watching this video to learn how to do that. Just be careful!

Once your coconut is open, poor the liquid into a blender then scrape out the meat and add it in as well.

Next, add 1 cup of cashews and 1/8th cup of agar into the blender. Blend the ingredients for a couple of minutes until the blender feels warm. Using a thermometer, check to see if your concoction has reached 110°F or 43°C. If so, you are done blending.

Once done, add in ¼ teaspoon of probiotic powder or 1 tablespoon of your store bought yogurt and blend on low for a couple of seconds. More does not equal better so don’t overdo it! If you add in too much probiotic then your final product may be a bit too sour for your taste buds.

Next pour the mixture into a clean quart sized glass jar and screw the lid on tightly.

Fermentation

Now, for the next step there are a couple of ways you can do this. You can just put your jar full of potential yogurt into the oven and leave it in there with the light on for 8-12 hours or you can use an insulated cooler. If you go the oven route be sure the oven is off. Personally, I like the insulated cooler route better. I just wrap my jar in a kitchen towel, add a bottle of warm water into the cooler, put in another towel or two to keep the yogurt cozy, zip up the cooler, and leave it in a closet overnight. When I wake up, I have a jar of tangy dairy free goodness!

I recommend opening it up and tasting it. If it tastes a bit sour and less sweet than when you started 12 hours ago, you’ve done a wonderful job! Now it’s time to put it in the refrigerator. If not, you can let it go a couple more hours until it tastes just right to you.

*Note, your yogurt may separate with solid contents on the top and watery substance on the bottom. If you were using dairy this may be a problem but it’s ok with coconut yogurt. Just gently shake the jar before placing it in the fridge.

Now that your yogurt is done you can add any flavoring you like to it! Be creative and enjoy your dairy free creamy yogurt!

References

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23474283

About Dawna Ara
Dawna is an acupuncturist, herbalist, functional medicine practitioner, a mom, wife, writer, nature lover, chef and whole foods advocate. She teaches how to live a healthy lifestyle through her website Eat Play Work Sleep.