Open Jars: Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt

November 12, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)

Weck jars with fruit-on-the-bottom homemade yogurt (photo courtesy of Paige Colbert)

We’ve got our first Open Jars guest post today. This one comes from Paige from Oregon (she doesn’t have a blog, but you can follow her on Twitter here). A couple of months ago, she emailed me to ask my opinion on making fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt. I had to claim ignorance on the matter, as at heart I’m essentially a lazy cook, who simply scoops yogurt and jam together and stirs until combined. But I asked that if she decided to tackle the project that she tell me how it turned out. Well, she had great success (and used adorable Weck jars to boot). Here’s what Paige had to say.

I did it, and it worked great! After thinking about it a lot, I found myself making plain yogurt without enough time to make anything else, but remembered some half-full jars of jam in the refrigerator. I heated some strawberry-rhubarb and strawberry together, then some pear spice in a separate container until bubbly.

Then I spooned a tablespoon of jam into the bottom of a boiled jar and let cool maybe an hour. When the milk was ready, I added 1/2 cup per jar. I used a regular funnel (not a canning funnel) and kind of aimed it at the side of the jar and the jam wasn’t disturbed at all! The milk thickened up perfectly and I tried one and think the 1:8 ratio of jam to yogurt is just about perfect.

Interestingly, the 8 hours at 105 degrees made the jars seal! I’m not going to take the clips off, though, because I fear they would unseal at room temperature.

Thanks so much, Paige!

Also, thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway for Shae’s book earlier this week. There were 249 entries across the blog and Facebook and the winner is #46, the Windy City Vegan.

Update: No, homemade yogurt is not stored at room temperature. Paige was simply commenting on the fact that the jars created a seal thanks to the gentle heating period that the yogurt needs to set. Yogurt must be kept in the refrigerator. I have not done a post on homemade yogurt, but I’m planning to soon (I know, I’ve said that before. This time I mean it). However, if you’re anxious to get started, my process is very much like the one that The Frugal Girl details here.

Also, when Paige refers to the milk, she actually means the scalded milk that has been cooled and mixed with the yogurt starter. She didn’t tell me how she incubates her yogurt, but I do mine in a cooler filled with water that’s been warmed to approximately 190 degrees. The cooler keeps the heat of the water well contained and allows the yogurt a chance to set nicely.

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33 thoughts on "Open Jars: Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt"

  • So, this looks great, but when she writes “milk” is she referring to the mix of milk with yogurt starter? I must try this one, with Australia’s answer to Weck Jars… Fowlers Vacola jars!
    Thanks, look forward to more “open jars” segments!

  • I just recently started making my own yogurt, but I didn’t think it was safe to actually treat it like you were canning it. I make it and I put the lids on and put it in the fridge and so far it’s always sealed, but don’t you still have to keep it cold?

  • I’m so excited to see this post! I’ve been making my own (plain) yogurt for a few months now, and have wondered about additions like these and how one accomplishes this. I will definitely be trying this in my next batch this weekend!

  • I would love to know how she kept the jars at the required temp for 8 hours. Can we get the directions and more info?

  • I may have missed this but I’d love to see a post on making yogurt, I know it’s not technically canning but what a great idea to add the two together.

  • i’ve done this, using fruit syrup (basically jam that i mess up on purpose so it doesn’t set). i do little quarter pints that go in my boys’ lunches.

    as far as i know the yogurt still needs to be stored in the fridge, sealed or no.

  • Hi Marisa πŸ™‚ Love your blog. It has really inspired me to try canning, as I have always wanted to. I am starting my veggie garden, and hope to have a successful one in time to start canning in the Spring. Just an FYI to anyone who is thinking about using Weck jars, and maybe if Paige is reading this or you can pass it on, but I went to the Weck site and they say that it is imperative to remove the clamps. This way you can not only test that you have a good seal, but just in case something happened in the processing phase, how would you know if the seal didn’t take, from either defective seal, bacteria that wasn’t killed properly in the process, etc. Just something to pass along. Glad I read that to share, because I probably would have left the clamps on too. Plus I would like to use Weck jars when I start as well. Great job on the yogurt Paige!

    1. Joanna, it’s true that you must remove the clips when you’ve actually canned and processed preserves in the Weck jars. However Paige was using them for a refrigerated product (yogurt must be refrigerated) and so was right in leaving the clips on. My apologies for the confusion.

      1. No apologies, thanks Marisa πŸ™‚ Obviously I’m a newb to canning,lol. Thanks for clearing that up, makes perfect sense!

  • This certainly would make using my homemade yogurt easier. I make mine in a crock pot even through the cooling period and initial refrigeration. I usually mix it then pour it into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and add flavoring when I want however my husband won’t eat it “because it takes too much work” and because he rather likes strawberry banana flavored which isn’t easy to make ahead.

  • Hey all – I just saw this. Thanks for posting!

    Yep, all of Marisa’s corrections are right. I’m definitely storing the yogurt in the refrigerator and I’m using milk that has been scalded.

    My method goes:

    I take my big pot (a 7 quart stainless one), fill it with an inch of water, cover and boil for about 10 minutes to sanitize the inside. Then I pour the water out and let the pot cool enough just so that the milk won’t hiss when it hits the pot. I add the milk (I always use whole), heat slowly to 180 degrees, keep at 180 for 30 minutes, then cool to about 110, add the culture (I use ABY-2C from The Dairy Connection. It produces a thick, mild yogurt. I’ve done it with pre-made yogurt but find that I like this better and it’s actually cheaper over time because I found that re-culturing one batch from the previous always resulted in yogurt that was much too tart for my tastes.), put in jars and process in my Excalibur dehydrator at 105 degrees for 8 hours. I had tried a bunch of different methods when I read about someone using their dehydrator to keep the yogurt perfectly warm. It’s probably not mentioned often because who is going to go out and buy an expensive dehydrator just to make yogurt but as it turned out I already had one collecting dust in storage! It works great!

    As for the jars, I love them! They’re really the perfect size for a single serving of yogurt. Right now I’ve got 3 dozen of them. I have about 15 of the plastic (BPA-free) snap-on lids which I really like and am going to get more of. They’re slightly less cute than the full canning assembly, but they’re so much easier to put on and wash and there aren’t so many pieces. So at some point I’ll order more so I can do all of my yogurt in them. They’re also really sturdy and they seal well, whether with the plastic lids or the glass. The other day I was at work and had forgotten my lunch, so my fiance packed me a cloth bag with an orange, a yogurt, and a tub of granola. The yogurt was just rolling around in the bag and didn’t leak one bit.

  • Those look delicious! I would love a post from you on homemade yogurt, it’s something I’ve been wanting to try but have yet to get up the gumption for.

    1. You always scald milk when making yogurt with it, to ensure a blank slate upon which the yogurt cultures can work. Even if milk has been pasturized, it can pick up yeasts and bacteria that can screw up your yogurt.

  • I’ll also add that the temperature at which you scald yogurt (180) is higher than the temperature at which milk is generally pasteurized. Flash pasteurized milk is only heated to around 160 degrees. I believe this not only kills any competing bacteria, but also changes the chemical composition of the milk a bit, making it happier to thicken up.

    You can also make raw milk yogurt, but I haven’t had great results with that.

  • I make yogurt in half gallon batches about once a week, haven’t purchased yogurt in almost 3 months now. I applaud her ambition, but that is something that I probably wouldn’t do – I tire of single flavors quickly and like to change it up often.

  • I’m late to the party, but Paige, I’ve made yogurt with raw milk before and it’s usually turned out thicker than yogurt made with milk from the store.

    As a general note, I put my yogurt into glass quart Mason jars, and those work great for me. I’ve also used smaller Mason jars and smaller plastic containers as well.

    1. Interesting! I tried it a few times, then went to the cheesemaking forum I frequent for advice and everyone said they’d had the same runny results. I wonder what is up!

      1. How strange! I used my raw milk unskimmed, so maybe the heavy fat content made a difference. Our raw whole milk had a lot more cream than commercial whole milk.

        1. That probably has a lot to do with it! I was using raw goat’s milk which has a higher fat content than whole cow’s milk, but not by much. I’ll have to try it with cow’s milk should I ever have access to it.

          1. I just read your discussion…….18th month’s late I know.
            Do you think the homogenisation of the raw goat’s milk makes a difference to the result?

  • Just a side note to you all that are curious how to keep the incubation temperature at the correct temp for an extended period. Obviously the cooler method works with some baby sitting and the oven with a pilot or the light on might work if it stays at the right temp with out any help, but here is what I do and it is “set it and forget it till morning.
    I use a simple immersion tank I have made from a cooler, a small fountain pump and a aquarium heater.
    Fill the cooler with warm water (even cold if you want…) turn on the pump and heater, get the heater set so it holds the water temp at 100F, and “voila”, it will go as long as you want, even multiple batches. I already had the parts laying around but if you do this often it would be worth the small cost.

  • I have a question: what is the advantage of making fruit-on-the-bottom over simply serving your homemade yogurt and jam together?

    1. It just makes it more convenient for the eater, particularly if they typically pack their breakfast or lunch in a hurry.