There Was A Snow Storm, I Was Bored, Lets Make Rennet!

Living in Canada, more specifically North Central Alberta, I am used to snow storms, shovelling and finding things to do to pass the time (please insert stereotypical Canadian comment about snow etc..)  So when I woke up one morning to this, I really did not want to go out and shovel!

Oh bother, what ever should I do today?

Oh bother, what ever should I do today?

I was supposed to go on a milk run for cheese making that day, but that was out of the question, yes I was being a wimp that day.  I remembered that I had harvested some thistle heads from a neighbour’s yard during the summer and I thought why not!  There was a snow storm, I was bored, let’s make rennet!

I had thought about attempting to make vegetable rennet for some time, I kept putting it off to do other projects but now was the time.  So with my family nestled down for a winter nap I figured it was time to make my first try.  I read that you made a “tea” from the ground stamens and New England Cheese Making Supply Company has a test to see if your rennet is still good (Item 6 on this post here).  I  was good to go, what could go wrong?

Are you ready to see what two hours of set time produced…..

Really ready?

Really?  OK drum roll please…………….

Now what could have gone wrong you ask, it seems like it would have worked?  Here are some of my conclusions about what may have gone wrong.

  • First these may not have been thistles, someone on Facebook said they looked like Knapweed which are thistle like and actually considered a noxious weed in some areas
  • I did not have enough to make a proper tea.  Most directions called for 5 tablespoons worth of ground thistle I had about 1 tablespoon.
  • The water for the tea could have been too hot and killed the enzymes needed for coagulation.
  • I did not wait long enough, after looking for more information about thistle rennet I realized that I should have given it 12 hours to set.  There are a few semi-lactic cheese that are set with thistle rennet.

Of course most of those conclusions are based on the flowers being thistles in the first place.  I had a friend that tried to grow Cardoon this year, but alas the frost got to them before they could flower.  Am I deterred? No! Will I try again? Yes?  Maybe my next trip will be to a greenhouse or a butcher.

Thank you for being patient with me and my lack of posting.  Other than being sick for a few weeks I have made some cheese and I hope to have more content soon.

Until next time go and make some cheese!

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4 comments

  1. Cool! So interesting to read about this. Definitely try again. I’ve thought about attempting it, but never even tried. I have faith you’ll figure it out and teach the rest of us :-)

  2. Aaargh, how frustrating! Fascinated to see if you can get this to work. I’ve been reading about how in the UK they used to use Lady’s Bedstraw as both an annatto-sort of colouring but also because it could set cheese.

    1. If find that if I get a little cocky cheese making has a way of bringing me back down a few pegs. Interesting about the Lady’s Bedstraw. I will have to look into it as well

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