Israel (where, until recently, I spent most of my adult life) has a reputation for “optimizing cows” – blend of methods and technologies that cause cows to produce industrial (economically effective) amounts of milk – way more then they would naturally. Much of this is supposedly (I haven’t corroborated this) achieved through hormones and I am guessing some genetic engineering. I didn’t (and still don’t) want those intentions and chemicals coursing through me so I mostly stayed away from milk products and consumed soy-milk instead (even when my Yoga teacher suggested I add more milk to my diet).
Here in Romania the milk is so much better – even the industrialized milk tastes and feels better. But there is nothing like milk from the market – it is fresh, rich, tasty and alive. It does however require a bit more attention and preparation. So here’s what I’ve been able to gather so far.
It is sold in everyday plastic bottles and the first thing you need to do filter and boil it.
We filtered the milk the first couple of times we bought it and found that it was very clean – so now we skip that part and skip directly to the boiling. We spread some butter on the bottom of pot to prevent the milk from sticking and burning (though we are still playing around with this – Andreea has a hunch that the butter may be causing the milk to spoil sooner).
We pour in all the milk and leave it on a medium sized flame.
When it boils a fatty layer forms on top (this is the fat that is used to make butter and what you see are just the leftovers since most of the fat has already been removed to make cream and butter).
Soon after it will begin to rise and that’s when you need to turn off the flame and let it cool.
After it cools you can easily scoop out a substantial top layer of fat (which is really just a residue of what was originally there).
After it has cooled we filter (there’s still some fat floating around in it) it into glass bottles. We’ve been told that all milk products are better kept in glass containers instead of plastic ones. It keeps in the fridge for 5 or 6 days at best!
And even after all the removal, scopping and filtering of fat – there is still enough there to form a natural cork in the neck of the bottle.
We also make Yogurt from the fresh milk. There are two ways to do this:
- Mix an equal quantity of unboiled milk with boiled milk. The unboiled mix carries in it the bacteria which transforms the milk in Yogurt.
- Add a spoon of cream (though yogurt will probably work too) to the boiled milk and in this way introduce the bacteria which transforms the milk.
We’ve tried both. The 1st option resulted in a Yogurt that was slightly more sour and less to my liking. So we placed a spoon of cream in a 1 liter jar and mixed it together with fresh boiled milk. The jar needs to be left open and covered with a cloth.
… and after 24 hours you get Yogurt. It’s that simple (with real milk)!
I came across this really useful website on alternative energy. It looks like it’s been gathering dust and it’s design is somewhat outdated but it’s information seems timeless. Whether you want to go about doing it yourself or to use commercial solutions – their website is a great resource of information – check out Other Power.
Through their website I found two other useful links:
- One is the US Department of Energy – though the information is presented a USA context – some of it is global and useful. Specifically I found the area on eletrciticy to have useful overview explanations of eletricity generating systems and their components.
- The other is Bergey – a manufaturer of products and systems. Specifically their Packages pages provides tangible understanding of (a) the potentially high costs of commercial systems and (b) the relative costs of components that are needed to put together an entire working system.
Here is an example of a system that delivers: 400 – 1,500 Kilowatt-hours (kWh’s) per month (depending on wind resource), 24 hours to over a week of back-up power (depending on load and wind).
|7.5 kW BWC Excel-R/48 w/VCS-10||$26,870|
|100ft. guyded latice tower kit||$14,145|
|Tower wiring kit||$1,615|
|DC Power Center, 9 circuit||$850|
|84 kWh, 5 String, Battery Bank||$15,000|
|7.2 kW Inverter system||$6,676|
The most expensive elements are the turbine itself, the tower and the batteries. The price of the batteries was informative to me because they are needed regardless of how you generate electricity (wind, solar, hydro… ).