Food Origins: Yogurt

Food Origins: Yogurt

Smooth, creamy, and delicious. It’s great for breakfast, as a snack, or dessert. We could eat it any time of the day. Plus, it has great nutritional value and health benefits. But who knows where yogurt originated?

Around 6000 BC, herdsmen began milking their animals and the natural enzymes in the carrying containers (animal stomachs), curdled the milk, making yogurt. The milk kept longer, and it is believed that people preferred the taste so this practice continued. Eventually, this evolved over centuries into commercial yogurt making.

The first industrialized production is linked to Isaac Carasso in Barcelona in 1919. His company, Danone, was named for his son, “Little Daniel.” In the 1940s, Carasso and a man named Juan Metzger took over a small yogurt factory in the Bronx, New York. In the U.S., the company is now called Dannon.

So, what’s the difference between regular yogurt and Greek? After the fermentation process, yogurt is strained through a cheesecloth, which allows the liquid whey part of milk to drain off. Regular yogurt is strained twice and Greek yogurt is strained three times. This removes more whey, leaving a thicker consistency. As for health benefits, they both contain roughly the same amount of calories, though Greek yogurt can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half.

One popular use for yogurt? Smoothies! Adding yogurt to your smoothie is a great “whey” to enjoy a creamy, nutritionally rich drink. Plain, nonfat yogurt has 14 grams of protein per cup. And, if you throw in some berries, it becomes packed with antioxidants!