August 29, 2019

Photo Wrap-Up for August

A random collection of photos I took this month.

A picking of tomatoes.

Potted bee balm starting to bloom.

Pears and figs ready for the dehydrator.

Pears and figs with kefir ready for breakfast.

Canned pear sauce ready for the pantry.

Ozark Razorback cowpeas.

Marigolds with the peppers plants.

Volunteer cushaw

Fresh feta, sliced and ready to be brined.

Graceful rice heads ripening for harvest.

Garden spider at work.

Grazing beds for the chicken yard.

Ricotta gnocchi ready to be frozen.

Lone lemon. Last year I gave up on my Meyers lemon and
left it out all winter. It survived! And produced one lemon.

My first  at poutine! Thanks Rain, for the recipe !

Some of the girls grazing: River, Nova, Ellie, and Daisy.

My five bucklings wishing they were with the girls.
Three of them need new homes!

Colby and Mama Muscovy

Sam on Dan's new kitchen bench.

And that wraps up my August. How about you? Ready for September?

Photo Wrap-Up for August © August 2019

August 25, 2019

Solar Pantry Part 3: Alternatives

Continued from "Solar Pantry Part 2: Analysis."

Trying to solve my potential problem of losing refrigerated and frozen food during a prolonged power outage sent me scouring books and websites for affordable ideas. People preserved their food for millennia before they had electricity and refrigerators, but like other traditional knowledge and skills, the how-to has been forgotten, lost, or simply discarded in favor of high-tech alternatives. Unfortunately, not all of the technology we laud has been terribly smart: the processing and overuse of fossil fuels for example. The simpler the better, I say.

So while Dan and I are discussing options and forming a plan, I've been collecting ideas. This is what I've got so far, pretty much organized from lower tech to higher. Obviously, not all of them are feasable for everyone, because they depend on regional resources and conditions.

Spring house - If one is lucky enough to have a wellspring on their property, this would be an excellent option. A spring house is a small structure built over the spring to take advantage of its cold water. The water flows through shallow troughs into which food containers (usually milk cans) are placed.

Graphic from Barns, Sheds and Outbuildings by Byron D. Halsted.
Water enters under the window and drains at the ends of the troughs.

I had friends who used an old chest freezer in a similar way. Spring water flowed through it via inlet and outlet pipes. The chilly spring water kept their milk quite cool.

Ice house - For those living with long hard freezes, this is an idea. Ice is harvested in large blocks from solidly frozen lakes.

Photo: Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/resource/det.4a05655/)
There's an interesting ice harvesting photo story at A Continuous Lean.

Then it's packed in saw dust or straw in an ice house.

Indiana ice house. Photo from Library of Congress
https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/in0268.photos.065885p/

Drawing of an ice house interior. Graphic from 
Barns, Sheds and Outbuildings by Byron D. Halsted.

The saw dust or straw acts as insulation and slows melting. Some farmers made their own forms to make their own ice blocks.

Cool chamber - A variation of the simple ice house.

Graphic from Barns, Sheds and Outbuildings by Byron D. Halsted.

The ice house is built into a hillside with a room underneath for storing milk, fruits, and vegetables.

Drips through pipe in ceiling and drains through pipe in floor.
From Barns, Sheds and Outbuildings by Byron D. Halsted.

Chamber Refrigerator - Similar to the cool chamber.

Graphic from Barns, Sheds and Outbuildings by Byron D. Halsted.

The chamber is built so that top, back, and both sides are surrounded by ice. The space under the ice is for ventilation.

Ice Box - No electricity required for those with a source for ice!

Israeli, I believe. Attribution: יעקב [CC BY-SA 4.0
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

The top compartment holds a large block of ice which cools the contents in the compartment below. Note the drip pan to catch melting water underneath. Ice tongs hang on the side.

Well shaft - For those who have an old-fashioned well!

LOC, https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2017782495/

A food box or bucket is lowered and tied off just above water level, where the contents stay cool.

Silos (trenches) - These aren't the grain silos we're familiar with. The French term means "underground excavation used to preserve foods."

Illustration from Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning
by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante

This example measures 16" x 32" and is 20" deep. A lining of brick keeps rodents out. Vegetables are packed in layers of dried leaves. The wood cover is heavy and air tight. A well-drained location is important.

Root cellar - A more familiar form of food storage. It is basically a handmade cave built into a hillside or of mounded earth. In modern lingo we could call it geothermal cooling.

Root cellar in Itasca County, Minnesota. Photo: LOC
https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mn0482.photos.342773p/

Root cellars tend to get damp and musty, however, so good ventilation is very important.

Windcatcher - This isn't for food storage, but rather a middle eastern house cooling system.that seems to lend itself to food preservation, providing one has wind and a qanat (underground water transportation channel). The basement would the perfect place for a root cellar.

Click to enlarge. Attribution: Wind-Tower-and-Qanat-Cooling-1.jpg:
Williamborgderivative work: Monsih [Public domain]

It's an example of evaporative cooling. The principle is that water absorbs heat in order to evaporate, cooling dry air significantly and with much less energy than refrigeration. It's best suited to dry climates, because it apparently gets very musty in humid climates, where it's earned the name "swamp cooler" because of the odor it produces.

Zeer Pot - Another ancient middle eastern technology that takes advantage of evaporative cooling. Also known as a pot-in-pot "refrigerator." A small clay pot is placed into a larger clay pot and the space between is filled with sand. The sand is kept damp and evaporation keeps the contents of the smaller pot cooler than the ambient temperature.

My experimental zeer pot.

I tried this method when I was researching off-grid eggs, cheese, and meat storage for Prepper's Livestock Handbook. Unfortunately, my experiment was a fail because of our humidity. The higher the humidity the slower the evaporation. There's a techy explanation of all that over at the Rebuilding Civilization blog. If you have a dry climate this won't actually refrigerate, but it will act as a cooler to increase longevity of some foods.

Cold shaft (a.k.a. cool cupboard or California cupboard). Heat rises and this is what the cool cupboard takes advantage of. The shaft is open at top and bottom to allow a cooling air flow. Wire shelves inside the shaft hold food items.

Illustration from How To Live Without
Electricity and Like It
by Anita Evangelista

Screens at top and bottom keep rodents out. These work best if they are built on interior rather than exterior walls. You can see a modern one in use at the Lewisham House and Farm blog.

DC (Direct Current) Refrigerators and Freezers

SunDanzer fridge or freezer.

These 12- or 24-volt appliances can be powered by solar, wind, fuel cells (hydrogen), or batteries; sources that deliver DC (direct current) electricity, as opposed to the alternating current (AC) we receive from the grid. They're pricey, however, ranging from $700 for a dorm-size 1.8-cubic-foot fridge or freezer, to $1600 for a 13-cubic-foot freezer or a 15-cubic-foot fridge. Solar panels or wind turbine and batteries not included.

Thermal mass refrigerator - From Earthship Volume 3 by Michael Reynolds.

Attribution: KVDP [CC BY-SA 4.0
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

It's designed around a DC refrigerator (above) run on solar panels. For the diagram key see the summary at Wikimedia Commons.

Solar ice maker - About ten years ago four engineering students at San Jose State University made a solar ice maker for about $100.

Solar ice maker. Photo © San Jose State University

It was an example of absorption chilling, not a new technology, but their project seemed to create a renewed interest in the process. Absorptive chillers use heat (like the sun) instead of a compressor. A refrigerant (like ammonia) is heated, cooled, and circulated to produce temperatures cold enough to make ice. Combine a solar ice maker with an ice box, and that would be a wonderful non-electric way to have refrigeration. I'm still looking for DIY plans. [UPDATE: How-to at Knowledgeable Ideas, although it's too big for an ordinary small family.]

The absorption refrigeration cycle was discovered in the mid-1800s by Ferdinand Carre. He invented and marketed the IcyBall around 1858 as a cooling device in homes.

IcaBall refrigerator. Graphic from the Crosley IcyBall Manual.

The device was sold during the 1920s and 30s, but apparently was discontinued when a number of them exploded. I suspect this was because it required the owner apply heat to activate it. Getting distracted for even a few moments could chance disaster! There's an interesting webpage on it's history here.

Solar Refrigerator - Was invented in the mid-1930s by Otto H. Mohr. It also uses absorption cooling technology, and was said to only need two hours of sunlight per day.

Source: Modern Mechanix Aug. 1935 issue. Click to enlarge.

Mr. Mohr received a patent for his design in 1940, but it doesn't seem to have ever made it into production.

Wood burning refrigerator -  Another example of absorption chilling.

Click to enlarge. Image from Mother
Earth News. Click here for full article.

Developed by Dale Degler (in the 1970s I think), he calls it an intermittent absorption refrigerator. It only needs a 20-minute fire every 24 hours! I'm not sure he ever actually made one, however.

There are other ideas out there, like propane and LP refrigerators and freezers, but I stuck with ideas that use renewable energy sources. I don't mind buying the materials to make and set up the system, but the idea is to not rely on buying the energy or fuel to run them.

Obviously not all of these ideas are applicable to Dan and me, but they do show how it's possible to preserve food without electricity. And they have kept me from being too discouraged after my solar pantry feasibility study.

Next → Solar Pantry Part 4: The Plan

August 21, 2019

My First Rice Harvest

I can't help but take a pause from my Solar Pantry Series for my very first rice harvest. I've never grown rice before so this small patch has been an experiment; an experiment on which I've pinned great hopes.

I planted two varieties of upland rice last May (blog post here). Upland rice is different from lowland or paddy rice because it doesn't have to be flooded. It can be grown without a rice paddy.

My bed of Cho Seun Zo Saeng, a short grain brown rice.

The Cho Seun variety is said to be ready to harvest somewhere around 125 days after transplanting or whenever the heads are golden brown.

Brown rice ready to harvest.

 I cut mine at day 123 with my hand sickle.

My hand sickle is a handy tool.

The patch was small so it didn't take long. It filled my wheelbarrow.

My first ever rice harvest!

My next step is to thresh it. This variety is supposed to be relatively easy to thresh because it is awnless. We'll see!

The second bed of rice, Loto, still has a lot of green seed heads.

My bed of Loto rice, a shorter variety.

So I'm still waiting on that one.

My seed packets contained 7 grams of rice seed each, so I'm curious about my yield. We'll try some of course, but I plan to save most of it as seed for next summer's crop. Hopefully, homegrown rice can become a regular part of our diet.

My First Rice Harvest © August 2019

August 17, 2019

Solar Pantry Part 2: Analysis

Now what? In "Solar Pantry Part 1" I shared my calculations and conclusions about the feasibility of putting the fridge and freezer in my pantry on a small dedicated solar energy system.

A photo from my archives! This one of my pantry was taken in 2010
soon after we bought the freezer. The refrigerator came with the house.

The conclusion was that such as system would cost considerably more than my available funds at this time. That was not only disappointing, it also left me with a big question mark regarding my goal of minimizing food loss in the event of a prolonged power outage. I had to ask myself, are there other alternatives? How did people in my part of the country keep food before electricity? (I've mused on that topic before - see "Food Storage in the South.")

Dan and I have taken small steps toward a simpler, less complicated lifestyle, but we are still products of the 20th century. That means our solutions to problems are usually based in modern methods and technologies, simply because that's what we know. It's taken some time, but we've gradually been learning how to think outside that box. We've moved along with some of the 21st century's technological advances, and rejected others because they require more time and resources to maintain than we are interested in giving. While solar energy does take time and resources to maintain, it does seem like the best option for my goal. Now I had to ask myself, if I can't afford the technology what else can I do? Is there another way? Is there anything I can change?

As I pondered that, I had to question how I use my freezer and two refrigerators. So much of what we humans do is by habit, and habits form routines. We become so accustomed to our routines that we rarely question them. In the light of my goal, now was the time to question them. Have my routines caused me to be too dependent on my freezer and extra fridge? Have I fallen into inefficient habits? Is there anything I can do to make food processing and storage more energy efficient?

My first step was to make a list of everything I keep in these appliances. Then I asked myself why and categorized my list. Some items are listed twice because they are in more than one category.

Refrigerators

To increase longevity:
  • dairy
    • milk (up to 10 half-gallon & quart jars)
    • butter (to keep it from melting)
    • cheese: fresh, brined, & stored in olive oil
    • kefir (1/2 gallon)
    • primost
    • whey (gallon+ for leavening, lacto-fermenting)
  • brine for cheesemaking (1/2 gallon)
  • eggs (6 dozen or more)
  • bread
  • some fresh fruit such as figs and berries for immediate use
  • vegetables: lettuce, greens, cut tomatoes
  • root veggies: potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic
  • condiments
    • ketchup
    • mayo
    • mustard
    • pickles
    • lacto-fermented: kimchi, sauerkraut, sauerruben
    • salsa
    • salad dressing
  • maple syrup
  • jams and jellies (opened jars)
  • peanut butter (natural, to prevent oil separation)
  • fresh meat
  • beverages except water
  • opened jars or cans of food
  • leftovers

To protect from insects:
  • pantry moths (always a problem):
    • flours
    • grains
    • bread
  • fruit flies (frequently a problem):
    • strawberries
    • blueberries
  • ants (occasionally a problem, items refrigerated as needed)

For long-term storage (such as a year's supply):
  • onions
  • garlic
  • eggs
  • rendered fat

To save until I get enough to process:
  • green beans

To stock up (because I found a deal I couldn't pass up):
  • case of organic coconut oil mayo (75¢ per pint jar!)

Livestock and garden supplies:
  • veterinary antibiotics & vaccines
  • essential oils
  • homemade insect spray
  • garden seeds
  • bulk seeds for pasture and hay

Freezer

Preservation (for hopefully a year's supply)
  • meat
  • cheese: grated mozzarella, paneer, halloumi
  • primost
  • powdered rennet
  • cream
  • goat colostrum
  • berries (for smoothies, pancakes, and oatmeal)
  • melon chunks (for smoothies)
  • pureed winter squash
  • okra
  • chopped peppers

To save until I get enough to process:
  • bones for bone broth
  • fat to be rendered
  • tomatoes
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • figs
  • fruit juices from small batches of fruit for mixed fruit jellies

Convenience foods
  • unbaked pies
  • breads, baked goods
  • jars of leftovers for winter soups

To protect from insect damage:
  • flours
  • breads and crackers
  • grains (up to 50 pounds or more of homegrown grain)
  • nuts (mostly in-shell pecans from our trees)
  • bulk seed: grain and pasture seed

It's the only way to keep:

The thing that stands out most to me is that many of these items don't actually need to be kept in the fridge or freezer. That's just been the way I've addressed my food storage challenges.

My primary challenge is our temperatures in summer, especially July and August. After we get a string of days in the mid-90s°F (35°C) outside, my kitchen and pantry temps gradually rise to about 85°F (27°C) during the day and drop to around 80°F (27°C) at night. When we get to about 100°F (38°C) in the shade outdoors, my pantry thermometer can reach 90°F (27°C). Not an ideal temp to store food.

This is why I refrigerate items that wouldn't otherwise need refrigeration. (You can find a list of these at the Farmer's Alamac website.) Unwashed eggs, for example, have their own protective coating called the bloom, which keeps them fresh without refrigeration. Even so, I know from experience that summer eggs I refrigerate immediately will keep all winter for me, whereas eggs left on my countertop in summertime will start to fail the float test before autumn arrives. That points to my temperature problem.

Until I started looking into shelf life, I didn't realize there is a formula to describe it! Called the Q10 temperature coefficient, it's defined as the measure of the rate of change in a biological or chemical system for every 10°C (18°F) change in temperature. Starting with a baseline of "room temperature" or 22°C (72°F):
  • For every 10°C (18°F) increase, shelf life is halved. 
  • For every 10°C (18°F) decrease, shelf life is doubled. 

You can see why storing even canned and dehydrated goods at cooler temperatures is important. And that makes me realize that I need to address more than just the fridge and freezer.

My other big problem is pantry moths. They infest not only grain products, but they also love dried fruit! I can't tell you how much food I had to throw away before I started dry-pack vacuum canning most of my dry goods. (How-to here). But that only covers quart and half-gallon amounts, and I also have moth problems with the bulk grains we grow and the farm seed we buy. Even the barn isn't safe from them, so bulk quantities end up in the freezer.

If you're still with me, you might have noticed was my "To save until I get enough to process" category. This is because my food production is small scale. I don't have a huge prepper's garden; in fact, I've downsized my garden quite a bit over the years to keep it one-person manageable. Besides, I don't have a crowd to feed, it's just Dan and me.

One example of this category is tomatoes. When I harvest tomatoes, I don't pick them by the bushel, I get a dozen or two at each picking. That isn't enough for a canner load of tomato sauce, so I toss my tomatoes into the freezer and then process and can later in the year. This routine works very well for me, even to the point of draining the water from my defrosted tomatoes and using it to can tastier dried beans. Plus I don't mind waiting until cooler weather to do some of my canning.

Some folks tell me I'm overly analytical, but identifying the factors involved and closely examining them is the only way I know to problem solve. In looking over my list, one thing that stands out to me is that of all the items listed under "refrigerator," all but the dairy category could be stored elsewhere. And actually, that could be too if we had the right resources. For now, I'm researching and collecting ideas. Some old, some new, but all with a view to develop a plan for better food storage. I'll share what I come up with soon → Solar Pantry Part 3: Alternatives

August 13, 2019

Solar Pantry Part 1: Feasibility

One of our goals for 2019 is solar back-up for the refrigerator and freezer in my pantry. If we ever lost power for more than several days, I'd have to scramble to save what I could and lose the rest. In summer, a lengthy power outage would likely be due to hurricane damage or an intense lightning storm. In winter it would be from an ice storm. So far, we haven't lost power for long enough to worry about food stored in these appliances, but these scenarios are very real possibilities.

I got the idea for a solar pantry from a book I reviewed awhile back, Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook. (An excellent book; you can read my review here.) The authors bring solar energy down to a small-scale, realistic level for someone like me. My thinking has been that if I can at least have solar energy for my fridge and freezer, I won't have to worry about losing the food I have stored in them.

My first step was to measure how much electricity these appliances use. From that I would be able to calculate how many solar panels I'd need and how big to make my battery bank. To find that information I used a Kill-A-Watt meter.

Recording watts used by my 400-watt food dehydrator.
Obviously it's a good idea to check wattage for yourself

Recording kilowatt hours.

I measured each appliance separately and added them together. From that I learned:
  • Refrigerator uses 2.6 kilowatt hours per day
  • Freezer uses 1.6 kWh / day
  • Total for both appliances is 4.2 kWh / day

Well, compared to my monthly electrical usage that didn't sound too bad. Then I started running the numbers.

We already have the solar panels. I found them on Craigslist about the time I reviewed Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook. They were leftover from a larger job, and we were able to get several new 345-watt Sunpower brand panels for $240 each. What I needed to know was how many panels I'd need and how to size a battery bank for several days of no sun. For that, I looked for an online calculator.

There are a number of online calculators for this, but I found that most of them are developed by businesses geared toward the brands and services they sell. They may give results as packages they offer, or want you to contact them to get the results. Wholesale Solar has one that I thought quite straightforward to use and gave me a ballpark estimate online. The most helpful step-by-step guide was at Preparedness Advice blog. I used both and my results from each were similar. However, what I discovered was quite dismaying.

Assuming I receive at least five hours of sunlight daily, here's what I'd need to make and store enough energy for three days of cloudy day use:
  • 1.32 kilowatt size system
  • 4, 345 watt solar panels
  • 11, 200 amp-hour 12-volt batteries
  • Or 8, 260 AH 12-volt batteries.

[NOTE: Batteries used for solar battery banks are deep cycle batteries, not cranking (starting) batteries. Deep cycle batteries are measured in amp hours (AH). This doesn't refer to actual time, because performance varies with conditions (such as temperature). Rather, AH is a way to compare the relative storage capacity of deep cycle batteries. The greater the amp hours, the longer they last before needing recharging.]

Back to my results. Discouraging because I would need more batteries than I assumed! Considering that 200 AH deep cycle batteries start at $350 for the cheaper ones (and 260 AH start at about $500), I have a budget problem. I only have $1500 for this project, and besides batteries I still need to get a charge controller and an inverter, plus all the miscellaneous items like racks, wiring, etc.

The pantry refrigerator, however, is an old one. Out of curiosity, I ran the numbers again with an Energy Star fridge. The following is based on the advertised energy rating and not my actual usage, which of course, could vary. I used an average estimate for low-end energy efficient refrigerators, and here's how the numbers changed:
  • Energy★ fridge 0.94 kWh / day (Quite a significant drop!)
  • Same freezer, 1.6 kWh / day
  • Total for both appliances is roughly 2.6 kWh / day
Total usage for both is the same as my current fridge uses in one day!

For three day's electricity storage with that fridge I'd need:
  • 0.8 kilowatt size system
  • 3, 345 watt solar panels
  • 7, 200 AH 12-volt batteries
  • Or 5, 260 AH 12-volt batteries. 

As you can see, energy efficient appliances make a big difference! The cost of such a low-end fridge is about the same as a 260 AH battery, so if I had a bigger budget I could buy a new fridge and still save over $1500 on the batteries. But the budget is what it is, so at this point, feasibility is near impossible. However, that doesn't mean that the mental wheels stop turning. More on that in Solar Pantry Part 2: Analysis.

August 9, 2019

Cheesemaking: Halloumi

My daughter had the opportunity to visit Israel earlier this summer. When she got home she invited me over for an Israeli style lunch and to see her photographs. One of the items she served was a delicious sliced cheese. I asked what it was and learned it was halloumi. Because of my interest in Mediterranean cheeses, I wanted to give it a try. I didn't find it in my cheese books, so I turned to YouTube where I found several videos by traditional cheese makers, fortunately with English subtitles!

Halloumi is a traditional cottage industry cheese of Cyprus, made with a combination of goat and sheep milk. What I found especially unique is that it contains no starter culture. That intrigued me even more.

In looking for a recipe, I noted slight variations depending on the cheese maker. My first try was somewhat successful, except the cheese was a little stiff rather than pliable. The second time I modified the recipe a bit and paid close attention to the temperatures and times. That batch turned out much better! That's the recipe I'm recording here. Any amount of milk can be used; adjust the amount of rennet accordingly.

Halloumi

Ingredients:
  • milk (sheep or goat milk recommended but folks make it with cows milk too)
  • regular dose of rennet for the amount of milk used
  • NOTE: calcium chloride if using pasteurized cow milk

To Make:
  • Slowly heat milk to 90°F (32°C).


  • Add rennet and let set for 40 minutes.
  • Cut curd into half-inch cubes.

I read a suggestion to use a whisk instead of a knife to break up the curd.
Since I never get uniformly small pieces with a knife, the whisk was fine.

  • Let the curds rest about 5 minutes.
  • Slowly stir and heat to 104°F (40°C) over 40 minutes.

The consistency will look like scrambled eggs when properly cooked. 

  • Scoop out the curds, mold, and weight to press.
  • Meanwhile, use the whey to make ricotta (how-to here).

NOTES ON MOLDING & PRESSING: Halloumi makers vary in the ways they mold and press the curd. For my first batch I tried something similar to one of the videos. I pressed the curd out flat and weighted it with a cutting board and jug of vinegar. This makes it easy for the next step, cutting the curd into slabs.

1st try at halloumi

I wasn't entirely satisfied with this method, so the next time I used one of my round cheese molds. A rectangular mold could be used too.

2nd batch, which I sliced into round slabs & then halved the slices.

  • After pressing, cut into approximately 4x4x1-inch slabs.

My first flat halloumi curd. 

  • Remove the ricotta curds from the whey and strain.
  • Reheat the whey to 185°F (85°C).
  • Place the pieces of halloumi in the hot ricotta whey.


  • Cook at least 20 to 40 minutes

At some point the slabs will float. Continue cooking for the full time.

  • Cool cheeses in cold water after removing from the pot.
  • Rub them with a mixture of salt and dried peppermint.


  • Fold in half.

Ready for the brine solution.

  • Mix brine of 1 tbsp salt per cup of whey. Different halloumi makers recommend different brining times, anywhere from 3 to 40 days or until eaten. 
  • I brined mine for three days, then wrapped individually to store in the freezer. This was the right saltiness for us. 

My daughter said that in general foods tend to be saltier in Israel because of the climate. It's so hot they need to replace the salt they lose from sweating.

To Eat: I read halloumi is enjoyed fresh with watermelon in Cyprus. It doesn't melt, so it can be baked, grilled, boiled, grated, or as stuffing for another dish. Our first taste was hickory smoked on Dan's grill.

Grilled, smoked halloumi. A keeper!

We really like this cheese so I plan to make and freeze several batches. Because it has so many extra steps, it makes sense to make larger batches with larger quantities of milk. I plan to experiment with other herbs, even sesame seeds as I saw on another video.

Speaking of videos, here are some I watched:

This last one is more of a documentary, but it was still helpful. I was especially interested in how these traditional cheesemakers handled and worked with their milk and curds.

I'm delighted to find another cheese well-suited to the cheesemaking limitations of my own climate! My cheeses aren't typical to what's sold on the cheese aisle of the grocery store, but they are well adapted to where and how we live, and that's what's important.