Do you ever like a product so much that you are almost offended that the manufacturer itself doesn’t seem to appreciate what they have? That is the sort of relationship I have with the whole milk version of Fage greek yogurt. Oh, the skim and 2% people get all sorts of flavor and size options. I’m stuck with 16 ounce containers of …plain. Luckily, I’m never someone to shy away from taking things into his own hands. That spirit, along with a little indignation over my yogurt choices, led me to the creation of Freeze Dried Strawberry Greek Yogurt.
What I love about Fage the most as compared to other brands is the density and creamy mouthfeel. It really has the texture of cheesecake batter, which is helped along by its healthy acidic twang. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is as a “parfait” — covered in fresh berries and a few tablespoons of hemp seed for some crunch. For someone on a ketogenic diet, that is all the sugar you typically need to squelch a craving.
Still, my yogurt jealousy persisted. My berry yogurt parfaits were good, but they were still not the same as flavored yogurt you would get at the store. They are sweetness, fruit, and creamy yogurt all at once. It touches all of the bliss pressure points you would expect in a commercial food product. I felt I could make something that was superior in taste while still being healthier and less processed than its store-bought flavored yogurt counterparts.
I backburnered the idea in my mind for a while and worked on developing other recipes. I came back to it a couple of weeks ago as I sat and watched on Facebook Live as SpaceX launched satellite after satellite within the span of a few weeks. I have marveled at the technological advances of the past few years. It feels like we have all been suddenly catapulted into the future. What was once rare is now becoming routine and accessible to all.
As I watched on my laptop, a childhood memory flooded back of a family trip to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Of all the wondrous exhibits and pieces of history we got to see and touch that day, the one thing that lodged itself in my memory the most indelibly was food.
As we rode back to our hotel on the Metro, my dreams of space flight were quickly forgotten as I tore into my choice from the gift shop at the end of the tour: freeze dried astronaut food. Most of it was relatively uninteresting and dry. The one foil pack that surprised me the most was the one that I thought about as I sat there in the present day — the freeze dried strawberries.
That first freeze dried strawberry was pure flavor and the most intense thing I had tasted up to that point in my young life. It seemed to sublimate into thin air the moment it hit my tongue. There was an energetic pop of flavor with crisp acidity and just a touch of natural sweetness. It was the pure essence of strawberry.
I recalled having seen freeze dried strawberry packages for sale in the health food section of the grocery store for just a few dollars. What was once rare and precious was now becoming accessible to all.
I thought about my previous experiences with intensely flavored powders like my Dorito Dust Microwave Pork Rinds and realized that freeze dried strawberry powder was my answer. Freeze dried strawberry powder is really perfect for this task. It is pure flavor. You are not adding water to the equation along with the flavor of the berry.
Though it is technically a processed food, it is absolutely devoid of preservatives. The total lack of moisture creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria, rendering modern food preservatives unnecessary. A cheap coffee grinder will pulverize them into a fine powder that incorporates smoothly and completely into yogurt.
This is the sort of recipe development I really sink my teeth into. The modern supply chain has brought about so many changes in the types and quality of ingredients that are accessible to home cooks. That change has been so rapid that we have barely had time to assess our new situation and create new recipes that take advantage of it.
This recipe is one of the first products of my recent thinking about new directions for home cooks. It’s simple and inexpensive to make. It doesn’t require expensive kitchen tools. Most importantly, it’s better tasting and healthier than its store bought, more processed alternative in every way. That’s the standard of the future for home recipe development for those of us who will always choose a home cooked meal over pre-packaged or restaurant food.
Note: You can buy strawberries that will work in this recipe inexpensively on Amazon here. They also have a wide variety of other freeze-dried berries available (affiliate links). Experiment with them and let me know what you come up with!
Freeze Dried Strawberry Greek Yogurt
Based upon the declared mass of the contents on the bag of strawberries, measure out a half ounce of freeze dried strawberries.
Pulverize the strawberries in a bladed spice or coffee grinder. Measure two tablespoons of strawberry powder into a mixing bowl. Reserve the rest for another use in an airtight glass container.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix completely. I use a small silicone spatula for this task and not a whisk due to the thickness of the yogurt.
Remember to keep any ground strawberry powder in a sealed container, preferably glass. If you live in a humid climate, this is doubly important. It will suck moisture right out of the air and get gummy and hard to use.