Heirloom Yogurt Starters from Cultures for Health

You've heard of heirloom tomatoes and maybe beans, but what about yogurt cultures? We recently picked up some yogurt starters from Cultures for Health and can't wait to try these varieties that originated in places like Finland, Bulgaria, and Georgia.

Making homemade yogurt requires culturing milk with bacteria; many people use a commercial yogurt to get started. These heirloom-variety, dehydrated yogurt starters from Cultures for Health might be a fun alternative. The starters contain bacterial cultures propagated in different regions of the world, each bringing unique qualities of taste and consistency. Check out this assortment:

Viili – Sourced from Finland, it has "mild flavor" and "moderately thick, jelly-like consistency"

Filmjölk – Sourced from Sweden, it has a "different, non-yogurt taste sometimes described as slightly cheesy"

Matsoni – Sourced from Georgia (Caucasus), it is "somewhat tart, more strongly flavored than many yogurts"

Piimä – Sourced from Finland, it is "similar to buttermilk" and "an excellent base for salad dressing, cultured butter or for making Piimä cream"

Greek – Sourced from Greece, it is "slightly tangy, rich and decadent"

Bulgarian – Sourced from Bulgaria, it is "smooth" with a "classic yogurt taste"

To use the yogurt starter culture, you must first activate it for a day or two. It can then be used to make larger batches of yogurt and continually re-propagated to make new batches (at least once every five to seven days, or you risk weakening or killing the culture).

We found these starters at Mr. Green Beans in Portland, Oregon, but they can also be purchased online. Unfortunately, we're going out of town for a few weeks and must hold off on trying our cultures. We look forward to reporting back!

Have you tried any heirloom yogurt starters from Cultures for Health (or somewhere else)? What did you think?

Learn more & buy online: Cultures for Health

Related: How to Make Yogurt at Home

(Images: Emily Ho; Emma Christensen)

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Emily Ho is a Los Angeles-based writer, recipe developer, and educator on topics such as food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. She is a Master Food Preserver and founder of Food Swap Network. Learn more at Roots & Marvel and Miss Chiffonade

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