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Homemade Frozen Yogurt

Make your own tasty frozen yogurt.

Making homemade frozen yogurt is easy business. No need to buy it already prepared, full of sugar, additives, and what-not. Just fresh fruit and yogurt is all you need, and a decent food processor. You get all the healthy qualities of yogurt, and in such a tasty way!

The recipe, as written, is a quite tasty snack, but after eating them quite regularly I decided they needed something more. I wanted it creamier and I wanted it to be more filling. I wanted to make my own homemade plain yogurt, but instead of using plain whole milk, I wanted to use non-ultra-pasteurized cream. Ultra-pasteurized (UP) or ultra high temperature (UHT) pasteurized milk has been so altered as to be nutritionless (some say toxic) and it doesn't support the growth of the micro-organisms needed for yogurt-making. But finding cream that hasn't been subjected to this treatment is difficult.

What I found at the health food store was an organic, low-temperature pasteurized half and half. If I can't have cream, half and half will do. It made the most beautiful, creamy yogurt that turned out to be great for all kinds of dishes, including my frozen yogurt.

An interesting thing happened, though, when I started adding this extra cream to my frozen yogurt -- I no longer needed any sweetener. Is there something in milkfat (butterfat) that brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit? Is it the pleasant mouth-feel of the cream that negates the desire for the added boost of sweetness? Perhaps the natural sweetness of cream contributes enough extra sweetness?

In considering these questions, I'm reminded of the quandry they say the food manufacturers were in as they tried to eliminate the fats from their foods in response to the public outcry against high fat contents. They had to jam the foods full of sweeteners and flavor enhancers. Without the fats, foods lose their taste, appeal, and satisfying nature.

In any case, I know I prefer a milk product over a sugar product. And I know the satiated feeling I get after eating these cream-flled frozen yogurts. My belly is happy. My psyche is happy. And I don't unconsciously reach for tidbits of food; I stay full til the next meal time.

You may be wondering about now, how I can talk so casually about adding a saturated fat to my diet. This site is about healthy food, right? Right. It's about nourishing your body with nutrient-dense and satisfying whole foods that are appropriate for each of our individual bodies and lifestyles, and NATURAL high-quality saturated fats are, for many of us, such a food.

If you're not ready to delve right into saturated fats -- and I understand, I too had a fear of fat to overcome -- then just start with the basic frozen yogurt recipe. For help in choosing a quality brand of yogurt, see Choosing the Best Yogurt.

Frozen bananas are the backbone of this recipe, providing their own special creaminess. And don't use green bananas, they create a "snotty" consistency.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt
Homemade Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
1 frozen fully-ripe banana (peel bananas
    and place in a zip lock bag in the
    freezer several hours ahead)
1/3-2/3 cup whole plain yogurt
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
small handful fresh or frozen fruit of your
    choice, chopped (approximately 3-5
    whole strawberries or 1/2 a peach or
    1/2 a pear, etc.)

Slice the frozen banana at 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch intervals. Place in food processor along with the yogurt and honey. Pulse until almost smooth. Depending on your processor, this can take anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Add chopped fruit, and pulse til banana looks smooth and other fruit is reduced to fairly small pieces.

Or, you can pulse til the fruit is completely pureed, if that's your preference (l personally like to have pieces of fruit to chew; it adds to my feeling of satisfaction to have chewed something solid).

Over-processing will turn it into a "smoothie", so stop just when the big chunks of banana disappear.

The more yogurt you use, the less frozen-y it will be, and the more smoothie-like it will become. Use less yogurt for a very thick, ice cream-like, consistency - or add more banana if your processor can handle it.

When you're ready to experience unparallelled satisfaction, replace the honey with 1 or 2 tablespoons cream or crème fraîche. Or replace the regular yogurt and the honey with homemade yogurt made from cream or half and half. Heaven!

This is my rundown of fruits I've tried. All were quite edible, some were just better than others:

blackberries - contribute a hardness, or grainy-ness, to the mouthfeel,
    I didn't care for it
blueberries- the skins produce an unsatisfactory mouthfeel, there's not
    enough to chew, but enough to be bothersome
nectarines - good
peaches - good if skinned first
pears - when fully ripe and juicy, work well
raspberries - really good
strawberries - my absolute favorite

2 moderate servings, but don't get me wrong, I eat the whole thing myself!

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