I dragged my feet in attempting the vegan yogurt for myself. It’s been safely sitting in my fridge since this summer, awaiting the moment I’d finally have time (and the nerve) to ferment a non-dairy milk. Too many “what-ifs” also kept me from doing it.

But then, a new recipe my kids would likely enjoy came out:  Non-Dairy Orange Cream Gummies. It was time to try culturing with the vegan starter, putting my expertise and that of my colleagues to work. I can do this!

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I gathered the notes and directions on how to best be successful at culturing and thickening coconut milk. Testing the temperature of my dehydrator was next.

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I then found the stash of boxed coconut milk in my pantry. Upon opening the milk, it was separated and clumpy – so after a quick warm up on the stove, it was nice and liquid-y again. I prepared the pectin and made the calcium water so I could add both to the coconut milk. After heating/cooling the milk mixture to prepare it for the culture I carefully opened the vegan packet. Don’t spill! Don’t mess up! I mixed it in and crossed my mental fingers as I put it in the dehydrator.

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Wait. Wait. Wait. Checked at hour 5. Liquid. Checked at hour 6. Liquid. Checked at hour 7. UGH! Still liquid. 8 hours later, I declared my experiment a dismal failure.

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However, I tasted it. Hmmm, it was tangy. So, it worked, it just didn’t thicken! Well, so much for using it in the gummy recipe. I poured the yogurt into half pint jars and put them in the fridge for the night. It will not be wasted! Smoothies for breakfast! I also had this tiny voice in the back of my head saying, “It might thicken more in the fridge, Jerri….”

This morning, it had thickened! I did it!

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I see I have some experimenting to do, as it was really sour and it’s not what I would eat plain. But understanding that cultures are living organisms, dependent on the environment and conditions we provide for it, reminds me that I will figure it out and I will succeed. After all, I have the best support system at Cultures for Health!