Have you been wondering what the Greek yogurt craze is all about? What is Greek yogurt? How is it made? In this article, we give you answers to this and more on how healthy it is and whether it has any probiotics. Also find out how long it lasts and the more about the ingredients.
What is Greek Yogurt?-What makes Greek Yogurt Greek?
What is Greek yogurt and what makes it Greek? Does it originate from Greece?
Greek yogurt is yogurt which has been strained to take out its whey resulting in a relatively thick consistency while preserving yogurt’s idiosyncratic or unique taste. So, what is whey? It is the watery part of milk that remains when milk is curdled. According to Wikipedia Greek yogurt also goes by the names strained yogurt, yogurt cheese and labneh (Arabic: لبنة labnah).
Greek yogurt, Greek yogurt…!! Why all the hype? In western Europe and the United States, strained yogurt has seen rapidly expanding popularity due to a much richer texture (and to a lesser extent, much higher protein content) than unstrained yogurt. The straining process is said to eliminate some of the lactose. More so, strained yogurt is lower in carbohydrates/sugar than unstrained yogurt, which may appeal to those engaged in low-carbohydrate diets.
Is Greek yogurt labeled “Greek” because it is from the country Greece? Astonishing enough, quite a number of Greeks (individuals from Greece) have never heard of Greek yogurt. In fact, the common name is basically a fluke.
“What is known abroad as ‘Greek yogurt’ is called ‘straggisto’ (strained yogurt) in Greece,” Prokopis Ploumbis, a cheesemaker in the rural outskirts of Athens, told AFP.
The word “Greek yogurt,” while it has never been used in Greece, was up for the taking when Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish entrepreneur, decided to label the yogurt from his company, Chobani, as “Greek.”
Over the course of seven years, Chobani became the best-selling yogurt brand in the United States, with Greek yogurt taking up 35% of the U.S yogurt market, up from only four percent in the year 2008.
However, Chobani was not the first brand to introduce straggisto into the U.S. and European markets. The Greek company Fage has been selling “Greek strained yogurt” in the U.S. and Europe for decades.[ Foxnews ]
Is Greek Yogurt Healthy?
Greek yogurt is considered superior than whole milk and regular yogurt. The goodness and creamy texture found in this type of yogurt is unmistaken. Most regular yogurts have a runny texture unlike Greek yogurt which does not have the liquid because of the straining process.
Depending on your dietary needs, Greek yogurt is a very healthy type of food. As a snack, it helps you cut on hunger pangs with its loads of protein, less sugar and fewer carbohydrates- Karen Roth, clinical nutritionist and founder of Karen Roth Nutrition in Los Angeles
It contains gut friendly bacteria, loads of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium and phosphorus which are very essential for increased bone density. It also has potassium which helps stabilize your blood pressure.
Healthy heart– taking low fat Greek yogurt can help you keep your heart healthy. It is an important source of calcium and potassium which stabilize the heart’s rhythm and lower blood pressure.
Strong bones– calcium, phosphorus and magnesium are very essential minerals found in Greek yogurt. Together with protein, they work together to promote strong bones. This has been proven effective for children and post menopausal women who have weak or depleted bone structures with low density.
Less sodium- A high sodium diet can cause hypertension and may increase your risk of developing heart disease. Greek yogurt has approximately 50 milligrams per 6-ounce serving which does not exceed the American Medical Association’s recommended total daily limit of 1.5 grams per day. Read more on the health benefits of Greek yogurt
Does Greek Yogurt have Probiotics
Greek yogurt does have probiotics, the friendly bacteria that reduce the presence of harmful bacteria in the gut. This is another reason why it is considered healthy. As a probiotic yogurt, it greatly improves the system’s immune response when required. By helping your digestive system absorb nutrients, it prevents gastro intestinal conditions such as constipation and lactose intolerance.
Look for the words “Contains active cultures” on the label of your Greek yogurt to assure that the brand you choose has probiotics in it. The label might also include specific probiotic names such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus casei. For optimal results, look for Greek yogurt that contains more than one probiotic strain. To add more Greek yogurt into your diet, use it in the place of ingredients like sour cream, cream cheese or mayonnaise in your favorite recipes. Unlike regular yogurt, Greek yogurt will not curdle when it is heated. (livestrong.com)
So,If you’re buying yogurt for its health benefits, no matter what its base ingredient, the key to making the right choice is being sure it contains live and active cultures. The label on the container will tell you what probiotics are in the yogurt. Some yogurts carry the National Yogurt Association’s (NYA) “Live and Active Culture” seal, but if that label is not on the container, look at the ingredient panel.
How is Greek Yogurt made?-What makes Yogurt Greek?
With common knowledge that Greek yogurt is made by straining off the whey, many would still want to know how this delicacy is made. The procedure is easy and basically entails the straining part.
Just about any type of dairy can, make yogurt. Pasteurized milk is preferred over raw milk. However, avoid using UHT milk. All you need is a clean cloth and some hours to allow your delicacy sometime in the fridge.
What makes Greek Yogurt –Ingredients
The main ingredients in Greek yogurt should be milk and live cultures. This is specifically so for the traditional made yogurt. Since there are no rules on what and what cannot be added, different companies have come up additional ingredients or a different process of making the end product. To ensure you’re eating a true Greek yogurt, read the ingredient label. Stay away from those with added protein like “whey concentrates” and added thickeners like “modified corn starch.”
How to make Greek Yogurt
Making your own yogurt is quite some fun because you get to dictate what you want to include in the ingredients and add flavors to your taste. Making Greek yogurt is quite simple just as it is to make regular yogurt. The procedure is easy and the requirements are basic kitchen commodities and about two hours. This will however depend on your preferences. Make good use of the whey after sieving it off.
Here is how Greek yogurt is made;
- Prepare the milk. Boil the milk to a temperature of about 80 degrees
- Let it cool down to a temperature of about 45 degrees
- Add yogurt or culture- read label on how much to use
- Let it rest overnight for 4 to 12 hours
- Strain off the yogurt using cheesecloth or muslin cloth(See below on how to strain off whey)
- Serve plain or with fruit toppings
How to strain off the whey
Take the cloth that you have designated for the straining–cheese cloth or muslin cloth and stretch it over top of a bowl. Keep the cloth in place with several rubber bands stretched around the outside of the bowl. Then pour your yogurt onto the strainer you’ve created. Place the bowl and suspended yogurt into the refrigerator. Let the yogurt drain for a couple of hours. The longer you let it drain the thicker the yogurt. Read more on how to your own homemade Greek yogurt recipes
How long does Greek Yogurt last, opened,Unrefrigerated or Sell by Date?
How long does Greek yogurt last after you open it, unrefrigerated or outside of the fridge?
How long is Greek yogurt good for after the sell by date? How long does yogurt keep or how long can i keep yogurt? These are the most popular questions on on greek yogurt shelf life.
This greatly depends on the storage conditions; yogurt can last for at least 7 to 10 days after the sell by date. However, if its home made, change in every 7 days to keep the cultures active. Keep yogurt refrigerated and tightly covered at all times.
Opened yogurt lasts for 5-7 days after opening. Provided it is properly stored, it will remain safe for consumption until the sell by date time. Fit Day has a view that most yogurt is pasteurized which implies that it should be good for several hours outside the fridge. However, if your yogurt is not pasteurized, discard it after one hour outside of the refrigerator. Check on the expiration date to know more about the shelflife of your yogurt out of the fridge.
If concerned about the safety of yogurt and whether spoiled, first check point is the expiration date as mention above. Also, look for signs of spoilage such as watery consistency, clumps and smell for any sour tangy smell. If any sign of mould, discard the yogurt.
Most of the gone-bad signs may not be true always but checking for mold is the most surefire way to know that your yogurt is not good for consumption. Consuming yogurt that has gone bad gone bad can lead to digestive issues and diarrhea.
Suggested Further Reading -more Greek Yogurt Information
- How to make your own Homemade Greek Yogurt- Recipes & what to Cook with Tips
- Best Tasting & Healthiest Greek Yogurt Brands – Comparison & Reviews
- Why is Greek Yogurt Good for you? Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt, Uses & Possible Side Effects.
- Greek Yogurt Nutrition Facts –Calories, Protein, Carbs, Minerals & Vitamins
- Best Whole /Full Fat & High Protein Greek Yogurt Brands & Nutrition
- Vegan Yogurt- How to make, Diy Homemade Recipe & Best Brands
- What Is the Difference between Greek Yogurt and Regular Yogurt? Is Greek Yogurt better & Healthier for you?
- Lactose, Sugar, Gluten, Fat, Gmo Free & Plain Greek Yogurt Brands
- Yogurt and Weight Loss -Best Greek Yogurt for Weight Loss, Diet plan & Tips