Yogurt is certainly an interesting food. It’s both loved and loathed, depending on which side of the nutrition debate you subscribe to.
One thing is for certain: it sells.
And that’s why the yogurt section is growing with leaps and bounds–almost to the point where the square footage devoted to yogurt and all of its types is as large, if not larger, than that devoted to milk, juices, eggs and butter at Nino’s.
Not bad for a product that Americans knew little about not that long ago.
Just how did yogurt become so popular? The abbreviated history goes like this:
Yogurt’s popularity in the United States was enhanced in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was presented as a health food. By the late 20th century, yogurt had become a common American food item, and Colombo Yogurt was sold in 1993 to General Mills, which discontinued the brand in 2010.
So, what’s on the shelves today?
There are so many yogurt brands, styles and categories, it’s hard to keep up. It’s on TV and radio commercials, billboards and magazines. One brand, flavor or mix is on the lips of nearly everyone who is on a diet, works out, or just wants to be healthy.
Manufacturers have responded to the interest and subsequent growth in the yogurt market by introducing many different types, including Greek, Swiss, French, Middle Eastern, low fat and no fat, fruit on the top, fruit on the bottom, plain, flavored, creamy, whipped, drinking, bio-yogurt, organic, yogurt for babies, frozen, and believe it or not, even dairy-free.
And brands? Ready? At Nino’s we have:
Yoplait, Yo Crunch, Activa, Almond Dream, Dannon, Lifeway Organic, Chobani, Weight Watchers, GoGurt, Stonyfield, Fage, Emmi, The Greek Gods, Dana and Guernsey.
So, again, why so popular? Can’t be JUST the ads?
This stuff must be doing something right?
Here’s the skinny…
How do you disguise yogurt?
First, we understand that few people (who are generally healthy, so to speak) eat things for their own good. They eat things because they like the taste of them. So we’ll focus on a couple of recipes that will demystify or debunk the preconceived notion that yogurt is bad because it’s good for you. This may, however, mean that initially, you’ll have to include the proverbial spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.
So let’s start here:
Admittedly, this recipe is candy, but you have to start somewhere. The good news is that all the nutritional values are retained in this recipe since it isn’t cooked.
Yogurt Fruit Dip
Makes 4 Servings
2 TBSP Kool-Aid Strawberry Flavor Sugar-Sweetened Soft Drink Mix
1 Cup Vanilla Low-Fat Yogurt
Your Choice Fresh Melons, Pineapple or Berries
Combine drink mix and yogurt, and whisk together well.
Serve with fresh fruit for dipping.
This next recipe comes to you courtesy of Stonyfield Yogurt, and again, you’ll be happy to know that freezing yogurt doesn’t harm its live, active cultures.
Frozen Banilla Tart
Makes 6 Servings
Try this wonderful chilled soup recipe from our website recipe archive. You’d NEVER know it has yogurt in it!
Michigan Fresh Peach Soup
Garnished with a sprig of fresh mint, it’s refreshing and delicious!
This un-baked cheesecake also maintains all of yogurt’s goodness and is disguised perfectly amongst the cream cheese!
Yogurt No-Bake Cheesecake
Makes 6 servings.
1 Envelope Unflavored Gelatin
¼ Cup Cold Water
2 – 8-oz. Pkgs. Cream Cheese (room temperature)
½ Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Yogurt (vanilla, lemon or raspberry)
1 – 8” Graham Cracker Pie Crust
1. Empty the gelatin into a small, microwave-safe bowl, pour in the cold water, and stir until gelatin dissolves thoroughly. Set aside, and then microwave 30 to 60 seconds or until the mixture is hot and clear.
2. In a medium glass or ceramic bowl, use an electric mixer to blend cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
3. Fold in yogurt. Stir gelatin again, and fold into cream cheese mixture until incorporated.
4. Spoon mixture into pie crust, cover, and chill for 2 to 3 hours. Serve plain or topped with fresh fruit.
1. Somewhere back in ancient history, milk (like cheese) was stored in gourds and eventually became a curd. Depending on the type of bacteria, fermentation becomes a curd and eventually takes on a unique taste. One in particular eventually became what we know as yogurt.
2. The use of yogurt by medieval Turks is recorded in the books from the 11th century. Both texts mention the word “yogurt” (meaning to be curdled or coagulated, to thicken) in different sections and describe its use by nomadic Turks. (Their earliest yogurts were probably spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria in goat skin bags.)
3. The yogurt we enjoy in America today had its roots growing in two different places at about the same time. Isaac Carasso industrialized the production of yogurt. In 1919, Carasso started a small yogurt business in Barcelona, Spain, and named the business Danone (little Daniel) after his son. The brand later expanded to the United States under Dannon, an Americanized version of the name.
Then, in 1929, Armenian immigrants Sarkis and Rose Colombosian started Colombo and Sons Creamery in Andover, Massachusetts. Colombo Yogurt was originally delivered around New England in a horse-drawn wagon inscribed with the Armenian word “madzoon,” which was later changed to “yogurt,” the Turkish name of the product.
• Yes, since it is made from milk, yogurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, phosphorus and potassium. In fact, a small container of yogurt has as much calcium as a third of a pint of milk. In addition to these nutritional characteristics, yogurt is also thought to have other health benefits. For example, it acts as a digestive aid. It can encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These organisms help digest food more efficiently and protect against harmful organisms. Another health benefit of yogurt is for people who are lactose intolerant. These people have difficulty digesting milk products, but they can typically tolerate yogurt.
Yogurt does contain varying amounts of fat. There is non-fat (0% fat), low-fat (usually 2% fat) and plain or whole milk Yogurt (4% fat); some yogurts can be as high as 10% fat. Therefore, low-fat yogurt can promote weight loss, but whole-milk yogurts or high-fat, sweetened yogurts aren’t necessarily a ticket to a slimmer you.
Yogurt is eaten as is and can also be cooked. It is added to soups, salads, meat, poultry, fish, rice, pasta dishes, breads, cakes, pies, brioches, desserts and drinks. Yogurt is used as a basic ingredient in several hot or cold soups as well as for making cold sauces for grilled skewers. It is used to marinate and tenderize meat, poultry and game, and it’s also an important ingredient in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines.
So, what if you like yogurt but your family or loved ones don’t? How can you give them the healthful benefits of yogurt without a fight?
Satisfy your dessert craving with this Frozen Banilla Tart, with bits of chocolate and coconut.
6 Medium Bananas, sliced lengthwise and in half
¼ Cup Rum (optional)
¼ Cup Honey
1 Cup Shredded Coconut (reserve a tablespoon for garnish)
1 Cup Chocolate Chips (reserve a tablespoon for garnish)
¾ Cup Butterscotch Chips, melted
1 Each Graham Cracker Crust
4 Cups Stonyfield Farm Low-Fat Banilla Yogurt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In medium-sized bowl, drizzle bananas with rum and honey. Place on a non-stick baking sheet, and cook in oven until golden brown–about 15 minutes. Let cool.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine yogurt, coconut, and chocolate chips.
4. Melt butterscotch chips in double boiler or microwave (medium-high for 1 minute, then 15 second intervals to follow until melted).
5. Arrange caramelized bananas in ready-made pie crust.
6. Drizzle with melted butterscotch.
7. Top with yogurt mixture. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
8. Use a knife that has been run under hot water to slice. Garnish with chocolate chips and coconut.