First pepper harvested from first plant. Seeds provided by Pepper Joe.
This map shows the location of The Springs clubhouse. Do not trust your GPS. It usually takes you to a locked gate off of Markham Woods Rd. Do not turn on Markham Woods. You have to visit the guard house at The Springs entrance off of Springs Blvd to gain access. From I-4, head west on SR 434 through two traffic lights. The third light is Springs Blvd, a little over a mile from I-4. Turn right onto Springs Blvd and tell them you are there for our gathering at the clubhouse. Turn right out of the guard house and take your first right onto Woodbridge Rd. This road winds a bit and crosses a bridge. On the other side and up the hill is the clubhouse. There is handicapped parking right in front and other parking around the back side of the clubhouse. If you need my address, its 1918 Lost Spring Ct, just a little further down Woodbridge.
The clubhouse has all the tables and chairs we need. It also has a full kitchen (see photo gallery). I will provide the tableware. The park has a pool, and the spring is also swimmable. The park also has some walking trails along the Little Wekiva River, and a full playground, gym/sauna/restroom, basketball and tennis courts. Bring a swim suit and towel if you want to jump in. The gym area has full showers, etc.
They are building the stage over the water for the annual Concert at the Springs. This year the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is presenting the classic rock stylings of Billy Joel and Elton John!
Making your own butter is even easier than making your own yogurt. It takes about five minutes and requires very few items to pull off. An added bonus is that you also get some buttermilk as a byproduct. A food processor is required for this method.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Food processor (big enough to hold more than two pints or 1000 ml)
- Large bowl
- 2 pints (950ml) room temperature organic whipping cream (the more fat percentage the better)
- 1-3 tsp salt (optional)
Allow the cream to come to room temperature. Pour it all into the food processor. Add salt or any other flavors you’d like. I add about 3 teaspoons of salt to this amount of cream. Most of the salt will dissolve with the buttermilk, so the butter will end up being less salty than it. If you want pure buttermilk, leave out the salt. I like the salted buttermilk because I use it fresh to marinate a bunch of chicken or other protein.
Run the food processor for about 4-5 minutes. The cream will start to separate. You will hear a noticeable difference once it starts to come together. You can also peek inside and see the buttermilk start to separate from the butter.
Once you see it look like little nuggets of butter, stop the food processor and unload it into a strainer lined with cheesecloth that’s inside a larger bowl to catch the buttermilk.
Allow to drain for a few minutes, then squeeze it into a tight ball. The more buttermilk you wring from the butter, the longer it will keep fresh because the buttermilk and moisture are what accelerate spoilage. Peel off the cheesecloth and refrigerate the finished butter in an air tight container.
Making your own yogurt is a lot simpler than you think. All you need is some milk, a starter culture and a slow cooker. The steps are easy. The biggest investment is time. The instructions below are for a half gallon (of milk) batch. You can scale this up to a gallon or more with just a slight time adjustment.
Total elapsed time for a half gallon of milk converted to yogurt and strained – 24 hours
What you’ll need:
- Small slow cooker with a cover (e.g., Crock Pot)
- Large colander/strainer
- 1/2 gallon organic, whole milk
- 6-8 oz plain yogurt starter
Rinse the slow cooker with plain water and dry. Soap residue kills the yogurt culture. Pour the milk into the slow cooker and set it to the lowest temperature (it works best if you allow the milk come to room temperature first).
Don’t add any additional flavorings (e.g., vanilla) until after the yogurt has been made. Cover the slow cooker with a lid and set the timer for 2.5 hours. Once time has elapsed, turn the slow cooker off and let it sit on the counter (at room temperature) with the lid on and let cool for another 2.5 hours.
[If you want more yogurt, use a gallon of milk and a bigger slow cooker. Cook and cool for 3 hours instead of 2.5.]
Once the milk has cooled, stir in the yogurt starter with a clean utensil (let the yogurt come to room temperature first).
[The first time you make this, use a small container of Fage plain Greek yogurt. Afterwards, set the same amount of your own yogurt aside to use as the starter. Every fifth or sixth batch, you may want to regenerate the culture with a new container of Fage.]
Place the covered slow cooker into an oven and turn on the oven light. The slight temperature rise caused by the light is ideal for culture growth. Wrap the slow cooker in a bath towel and leave it in there for 12-18 hours (the longer the better).
Once time has elapsed, you’ll have a choice. If you want Greek-style yogurt, you’ll have to strain (this is what I do). If not, you can add your own flavors and refrigerate the finished product in an air-tight container. It also makes a delicious, tenderizing marinade for all kinds of proteins.
To strain, line a large colander with two layers of cheesecloth, and ladle in the yogurt. Allow it to drain for at least an hour. Try not to disturb or press the yogurt too much, but you can stir it some to encourage drainage. Carefully ladle the finished yogurt into a sealed container and refrigerate. Make sure to set some aside for a new starter.