Sunday, February 26, 2012

Skyr

I first encountered skyr when the parents of one of my Icelandic friends arrived at my house to spend the night while traveling on a tour of the US.  They had carefully carried a liter of skyr from Iceland and for a week of travel in the US until they got to another relative who was homesick for Iceland.

Skyr is a very thick yogurt, closer to cheese rather than what we think of as yogurt.  Knowledge of making skyr travelled with the Vikings from Norway to Iceland but knowledge of how to make skyr has been lost in Scandanavia.  Jules Verne in his novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth described lunch at a farmhouse in the 1800s which included lichen soup, fish served with sour butter, biscuits, juniper berry juice, and “skyr.”  Let’s face it, you have be born in Iceland or have visited Iceland or know a homesick Islander to know about “skyr.”  

Recently a local grocery store started carrying Siggi's Skyr, made the traditional Icelandic way.  The method of preparation is different from making yogurt.  I really liked the taste of skyr.  It is much tarter than most commercially prepared yoghurt in the US so I added a little agave syrup to sweeten it to my taste.

What is quite amazing is the difference in calories, fat, protein, and sugar content between the two types of "yogurt."  

The pomegranate & passion fruit skyr contains skim milk, agave nectar, passion fruit, pomegranate, live active cultures, and vegetable rennet.  The commercial yogurt contains lowfat milk, sugar, fruit, corn starch, tricalcium phosphate, gelatin, citric acid, pectin, beet juice, natural flavor, vitamin A and D.  Skyr contains different and more types of active cultures.


Here is a nutritional comparison: 

                                Skyr                                     Commercial Yogurt
Weight                     5.3 oz                                    6 oz
Fat                            0 gram                                  1.5 gram
Cholesterol               0 mg                                     10 mg
Sodium                    60 mg                                    85 mg
Carbohydrate           11 grams                               33 grams
Protein                     14 grams                                 5 grams 
vitamin a, d             none                                       15% and 50% daily requirement
calcium                     15%                                      50%


When you compare the two, skyr is much lower in sugars, fat, and sodium but higher in protein. Skyr does not contain the added vitamins A and D.  Skyr is about double the price of commercial yogurt.  I am going to dust off my yogurt maker and try to make my own.  I'll let you know how that goes.

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