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Two years ago… two years ago?! Time sure flies nowadays! Back to my thought before a reality check slammed me… two years ago I shared a recipe for cashew nut yogurt at my friend Jessica's blog. While I loved the yogurt I shared in that recipe, I couldn't help but experiment with the batches I've made in the last couple of years.
This version is a great substitute for sour cream and if you double the gelatin, it's even thicker and behaves like cream cheese!
Oh – and the other big difference is now I have a Vitamix (Amazon affiliate link)! The blending time is greatly reduced with a Vitamix. Now it takes just 2-3 minutes, instead of 10 or more.
I'm still using the same yogurt starter GI ProStart™ non-dairy yogurt starter (Amazon affiliate link) which I bought in February 2011 with an expiration date of February 2012. According to the official website you can freeze it for up to one year. I'm assuming some of the bacteria has died off since my product is long expired; however, what I have left is still working and makes a nice sour product. One of the frequently asked questions is in regards to refrigeration:
11. Does GI ProStart™ need to be refrigerated? Yes, GI ProStart™ does have to stay refrigerated to keep the bacteria alive, GI ProStart™ can be left out of the refrigerator for up to a 10 days with only a 5% loss of active bacteria, after 10 days the bacteria will die off at a very rapid rate if left out of the refrigerator. GI ProStart™ should always be refrigerated to ensure maximum potency.
If the bacteria will die off quickly unrefrigerated, I'm making an assumption that freezing it will greatly reduce the die off rate so that's why I continue to use it. Plus, I just can't see tossing a bottle of product for which I paid $34.95 plus $15 shipping which seems to still be working. I don't think it can go rotten, the expiration date I believe is more geared to the bacteria dying.
I think it has been quite a good investment! GI ProStart™ is a combination of three bacteria: L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus and L. Casei and one bottle makes 80 quarts of animal milk yogurt – 1/8 of a teaspoon will culture 2 quarts of milk and non-dairy milks will need a bit more starter. It's one more way to get some good bacteria into our gut especially if you can't tolerate dairy.
Be sure to use fresh good high quality organic raw cashews. Whole are best. I've bought pieces from Azure (not organic) and the flavor is different and there's just something not right. I have to consider that a positive because to tell you the truth that's what led me to begin mixing the nogurt with other foods to mask that off flavor. I've found a few ways to use it that I totally love and want to make again and again. My favorite is a GAPS legal version of Beef Stroganoff!
PLEASE NOTE: When I make this same recipe using my food coop leader's favorite raw cashews (she prefers Wilderness Family Naturals organic, raw, whole cashews) it tastes creamy and delicious and you almost can't tell it is made from cashews.
This recipe is so simple and easy. I love having sour cream again! Bonus – if you double the gelatin, the resulting product is more like cream cheese!
Faux Sour Cream
Makes about 3 cups
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- filtered water
- 3 small dates
- 1-1/2 cups water – divided use
- 1 tablespoon gelatin
- 1/8 teaspoon yogurt starter (you may use less if yours is fresher)
- Soak raw cashews in filtered water with teaspoon of salt for 7 hours.
- Drain and then rinse the cashews.
- Heat 1/4 cup water just until it boils. Stir in gelatin to dissolve.
- Add cashews, dates, dissolved gelatin and 1-1/4 cups water to your blender or Vitamix.
- Blend until completely smooth (2-3 minutes in the Vitamix, longer in a regular blender).
- Remove 1 tablespoon of creamed cashew mixture and thoroughly mix in the 1/8 teaspoon yogurt starter.
- Pour creamed cashews into yogurt maker, and mix yogurt starter into cashews.
- Allow to ferment 18 hours.
You could taste the yogurt at 12 hours to see if it is sour enough, but I find at that point it is barely sour. For the recipes I've been using it in, I like it to be quite tart so I let it go for at least 18 hours. This longer amount of time may also be due to the fact that my starter is expired.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and don't forget to try these other recipes made using this delicious Faux Sour Cream.
If you find any other inventive ways to use this sour cream, please let me know in the comments!!