And then when I was finished, I was faced with a half gallon of whole milk I did not need. I decided to try a recipe I had found on-line to make my own ricotta cheese.
First, I sterilized my big dutch oven by boiling water in it (with the lid on, actually!) for five minutes.
Then I dumped out the water and heated that half gallon of milk until it reached 180 degrees. At that point, I stirred in 1/8th cup of white vinegar. Wow!
The whey separated and the clumps of cheese formed.
I ladeled the clumps of cheese onto several layers of sterilized cheesecloth I had placed over a sterilized can. The remaining liquid drained away, and I was left with the fresh cheese.
Never one to leave well enough alone, to that, I added garlic and Italian sausage spices, salt, and parsley for color. I tasted it and even before it cooled, I knew I had a winner!
I stored it in a sterilized container that once held ricotta (easy on my elderly brain later when I need to find it!!) That half gallon of milk made almost a half of a 3 pound container full.
So, I figure a whole gallon of milk, next time, would net me about 2 to 2-1/2 pounds of ricotta. I just priced 15 ounces of Precious Whole Milk Ricotta at my grocery store for $3.99. A gallon of the house brand milk is currently $3.59 at the same store. Even if I get just two pounds of ricotta from a gallon of milk, I've saved more than half! Whoo hoo!
And I'm already planning a vegetable lasagne! Yum!