Prepare Yourselves: Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Hi. This is Kate, Guest Blogger for the Green Gourmande. And I’m here because during an alarming percentage of my waking hours these past several weeks I’ve been pondering the fall of civilization. If it all suddenly collapsed tomorrow, or this afternoon even, could my friends and I rebuild society if we were among the only ones left alive? What skills, knowledge and psychological capacities do the members of my social circle possess? Can they tie knots? Administer emergency medical care? Identify hallucinogenic mushrooms? Build houses and tend gardens? Barbecue?

I’m conducting an ongoing survey and so far have found that all of these societal needs and then some are fulfilled (except for emergency medical care, so no one is allowed to break anything) but I’m at a loss as to where my own place will be in post-apocalyptic Geneva. I’ve finally settled on community griot, but still feel somewhat lacking. Although I will be a wealth of knowledge and information, much of it will come from interviewing other people about what they know, in a sense making me a secondary source. I want to be primary.

Thus begins my quest to be a useful, crafty do-it-yourselfer. As a first order of business, I borrowed this book off a friend:

For the moment I’m studying the chapter on patriotism and citizenship, as one can always use a refresher. Once summer hits I plan to start log cabin construction, but already I’m keen to sharpen my survival skills with something hands-on. Making ricotta cheese is not a sanctioned part of the boy scout curriculum, though it arguably should be as it has saved me from being a drain on the post-apocalyptic community living in my head.

You may be asking yourself, why bother making cheese when you can buy it? Well, it may cause some discomfort to consider the following, but consider it you must: There will be no ricotta in the Migros after the apocalypse. You will have to make it all by yourself, from scratch. In fact, you will have to make from scratch most things you once bought ready made: Bread. Vinegar. Butter. Yogurt. Alcohol. Chocolate.

Have no fear. In my multi-installment tutorial The Post-Apocalyptic Pantry, I will cover the how-tos of all these sundries and more, so that come judgement day you too will be useful.

RICOTTA CHEESE (recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen)

3 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Slowly heat the milk, cream and salt in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until it reaches just under 90*C. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, give it two or three gentle stirs and then leave it alone for five minutes. In the meantime line a colander with cheesecloth and stack it over a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the liquid drain. One hour of drainage will give you spreadable ricotta, while two hours will get you closer to a cream cheese consistency. The longer it drains, the thicker it gets. In the end you’ll be left with a hefty cup of cheese, which can be stored in the fridge for about a week.

– Kate

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2 thoughts on “Prepare Yourselves: Homemade Ricotta Cheese

  1. sarafc says:

    Nice post!
    I’ll make sure you have some kefir-ricotta this weekend — I make it sometimes too a bit differently though. save room for breakfast saturday!

  2. Suzanne says:

    I learned this wonderful and easy process while in the Bay Area last Fall. My daughter in law teaches at Martin Luther King Middle School (Alice Waters first school garden). The students made this very recipe and served it with black kale pesto on baguette. Budding gourmandes will save our world.

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