Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Freezing Buttermilk

Yesterday I posted a list of my Kitchen Goals for 2012, one of which is making my own homemade dressings. However, a lot of my favorite recipes call for either sour cream or buttermilk, but I don't always have these on hand when I need them, and when I do, it seems like such a waste to purchase a large container when I only need a small amount. (The exception to this is when I make my own cultured sour cream or buttermilk, which taste so good that I go hunting things to use them in and on!)

So I needed to come up with a way to have these two ingredients on hand at all times. In the past, I purchased Bob's Red Mill Buttermilk Powder. Although I can keep it in the freezer so it lasts longer, it only works okay; it isn't as thick and creamy as what you buy in the carton at the store (or homemade for that matter). It's fine when I'm in a pinch, but if we're going to switch to our own dressings all the time, they need to be GOOD; crowd pleasers and yet, still frugal.

Often I buy raw cow's milk in advance and freeze it since I can't get it at the grocery store. (Until Fiona Bleu has a kid and is in milk, we treat it like a rare commodity around here!) Then I got to thinking, if I freeze milk, why can't I freeze buttermilk?

Just like my extra lemon juice, I poured it up into ice cube trays and popped it in the freezer. One quart filled 3 trays with 2 T. of buttermilk in each cube. The small size should allow me to thaw just what I need for a dressing without wasting much, if any.

 A few hours later, I was in the frozen buttermilk business.

Bagged up in freezer bags, these should stay fresh for up to 3 months (be sure to date your bags). Even if I don't use them all, I can thaw the extras at the last minute and feed it to the chickens.

I decided I should thaw some and make sure it worked. So I pulled out a cube and let it come to room temperature.

Other than a few ice crystals, it seemed fine. Tasted the same. A purest probably would not approve, but until I have my own source again for making raw, cultured dairy products, this was the next best thing and the most frugal option I could come up with.

Unfortunately, sour cream does not freeze as well. When thawed it separates and isn't great in most recipes. But, few dressings call for this ingredient and I can find something to do with the left overs. I just wish it was as easy as freezing a few cubes!




58 comments:

  1. Thank you for this, I always freeze my milk and have frozen buttermilk and sour cream but never thought to put smaller portions in ice trays so always end up thawing the whole lot and wasting some....its amazing how these simple ideas bypass me :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Per my chef husband, you should never ever freeze milk, sour cream, buttermilk, half-n-half or heavy cream whether it is from a raw source or otherwise. Freezing and deforst changes the structure of the fat molecules in these dairy products and makes it harder for the digestive system to properly digest. can result in bloating, gas cramps and other under desirable stomach issues. Also, it will effect the quality of the recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting! My staff at the care home froze the milk on me once. When we needed it it took forever to thaw, so we tried drinking what we could....tasted HORRIBLE! When the whole jug thawed it was ok.

      Delete
    2. I used to buy milk in the bags from Kwik Trip and to thaw it faster, I would put the bag in the kitchen sink and cover it with COLD water.

      Delete
    3. Ice cream is frozen milk. People seem to do just fine eating that.

      Delete
    4. I can certainly understand that the taste might be altered slightly be the freezing process and I am sure that there is some separation of the fat. However, I am a mother of three and have nursed each one of my babies. There are a lot of moms out there that pump and freeze their milk and I have never had a doctor tell me this might be bad for my baby or cause any gastrointestinal issues. I can't imagine that an adult would have a more sensitive stomach than an infant.

      Delete
    5. Actually adults are much more sensitive to dairy than infants. We are designed to digest dairy when young...but are supposed to outgrow that. There's a reason why so many people are lactose intolerant/sensitive.

      Delete
    6. I think there could be some truth to this; ice cream seems to sour on my stomach, but no other dairy products bother me.

      Delete
    7. You can't compare breast milk to cow's milk... it's not a dairy. Breast milk is completely safe when frozen properly and stays good for months. I don't know for sure about cow's milk but I've read that many people freeze it without problems.

      Delete
    8. I don't have an opinion on frozen cow's milk, but I will say that although I'm sure it was safe, my daughter would refuse breastmilk that had been frozen. I tasted it once and I could see why. So I never bothered to freeze any for my other children. I think if you were freezing pasteurized, homogenized milk it would not make any difference, because that fat has already been altered. But freezing raw milk of any kind I think would result in altered flavor/texture.

      Delete
    9. My daughter didnt particularly like frozen breastmilk either.

      Delete
    10. I think it's individually cuz when my daughter born she couldn't drink anything and went into a surgery at 2 days old, so the hospital freeze my breast milk and after a few days she start drinking breast milk again with no complaints.

      Delete
  3. Interesting! Do you freeze your raw milk to drink for later? Or are you using it for recipes? Also, will you be sharing the dressing recipes? I never thought I could freeze milk so this intrigues me. So weeks we consume all the milk we get, other weeks we have milk that doesnt get consumed. Hmmm. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great idea! I didn't know that you could freeze buttermilk, either. That's good to know!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I like your idea. I don't like wasting and once I used what I need even out of a small carton the rest is history. Now I'll buy some more and freeze it in ice trays. I do it with eggs, so why didn't I think of that... Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Now that is a great idea! I have some in my fridge right now and I am going to give this a try.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amy - Great post. Actually, I just investigated freezing Heavy Whipping Cream. Heavy cream is something that I like (or wish) I could always have in my refrigerator for soups, coffee, sauces, etc. During the holidays my local store was selling a quart of Heavy Whipping Cream for $2.99!!! Normally priced $4.69 - $4.99! I stood there thinking... if only I could freeze this. Then it hit me. Both regular milk & breast milk can be frozen successfully in my experiences and didn't seem to hurt the quality of the milk. It turns out you can freeze Heavy Whipping Cream only you can no longer make whipping cream from the cream. Otherwise the cream remains perfectly yummy. I have determined the next sale will have me stocking my freezer with cup portions of Heavy Whipping Cream!

    Also, you can make sour cream at home with buttermilk & light cream. One recipe here: http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-make-sour-cream/

    Happy freezing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ah! What a great idea. I can't believe I've never thought of that before. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's a great idea. I bet you can't wait for your goats to kid - then you'll have lots of FABULOUS Kinder goat milk to use.

    I often substitute plain yogurt (usually Nancy's organic, if our goats are dry) for sour cream. It's a much healthier option and is more versatile too. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I freeze my buttermilk too. I freeze mine in 1 cups because that is what most baking recipes call for. If I find a good price on organic cream I will freeze it for baking or cooking. It won't make whipped cream once it's been frozen.

    ReplyDelete
  11. GREAT idea!! I don't buy buttermilk harldy ever because I never use it all up and I hate to waste. I love this idea!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I didn't know buttermilk could be frozen, but I learned the hard way with sour cream...accidently of course! Found the sour cream right next to my keys in the chest freezer...and the ice cream? In the fridge. Oops.

    This was a timely post~my husband mentioned that we have 2 quarts of buttermilk that are about to expire! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. next time, try making your own - buttermilk is the easiest fermented milk product to make - http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/cheese/buttermilk.htm

    ReplyDelete
  14. Do you suppose the same thing could be done with heavy cream? I'm never able to use all of it up before it goes bad!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love it!!! Thank you, it seems like when ever I need buttermilk there's none to be found in the fridge, or what's there has started a science experiment. What a great idea.
    Caroline

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous, He's right in that it's not ideal and it isn't the same as fresh. But it's the next best thing. And while it may bother some, it is not an issue for others. I've frozen milk for years and have no problems whatsoever. Frozen raw milk that's been thawed is better any day over store bought homogenized, pasteurized milk, IMHO. Each person must do what they think is safe and best. No one should freeze milk unless they feel it is totally safe and healthy. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to agree .. when I have extra raw milk left over I freeze it and use it in my bread recipes.

      Delete
    2. For as long asvi can remember, my mother would buy her milk in multiple 1/2 gal cartons and put most of it in the freezer to thaw as my 3 siblings., parents, and i would need it. Never had problems or noticedvany difference. Of course she would also stretch the homoginized milk by dividing it ...toping it off with water and powdered milk. We probably wouldnt have figured that one out until we noticed that iur friendscparent never shook the hell out of their mil. Lol

      Delete
  17. K2tog, I totally agree that fresh cultured is best! And I've done so several items - so yummy! But it's hard to do in small amounts - say 1/2 cup. And until I have a good reliable source that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, I must make a compromise {sigh.....}. I hope it's not for long!

    ReplyDelete
  18. LOVE this idea! So simple, yet so smart! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great idea! I freeze raw milk all the time without any issues, considering I have to smuggle it across state lines! We go one a month and buy it! ;)

    In a pinch you can make your own buttermilk.
    1C Milk
    1T lemon juice

    Let sit about 5 mins. Wallah... Buttermilk! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have a recipe to make buttermilk by 1 cup milk and 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Is that a bad way to make it? Is that only ok for baking maybe?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Kathryn, when adding buttermilk to a recipe, it's more about what you need for that particular recipe. The thickest, creamiest, and best flavor is from raw cultured buttermilk - this is the kind people really like to drink, at least for me. If you just need soured milk for flavor, then what you're doing should be fine, especially in baking. In a salad dressing recipe, the flavor will be more noticeable as well as the texture/consistency of the buttermilk, so something that lends itself to a thicker consistency might be a better choice. It's up to you. Does this make sense? I'm afraid I'm probably not too good at explaining it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I read somewhere (and so that is what I now do) that you can use yogurt in place of sour cream and that was you get the good stuff that is in yogurt. Plus, I make ranch dressing and the recipe calls for mayo and sour cream, but I put yogurt in it. You can't tell the difference. Of course this is the plain yogurt. I have also made my own yogurt. Just a thought I wanted to pass along to you. Thanks for your awesome website.
    Trudy

    ReplyDelete
  23. Amy, thanks for this post I am thrilled to know that this can be done. I can not tell you how many pints of buttermilk I have thrown away because I simply can't use it fast enough....Dolly

    ReplyDelete
  24. I don't know if it has been mentioned before, but if you store your sour cream or cottage cheese in their respective containers up side down it makes a better seal and lasts longer in your fridge than if you would store it right side up. Can't tell you how much longer because we do use it up before it goes bad.

    Aloha Hui Hou!

    Me

    ReplyDelete
  25. good idea! I never use all my buttermilk at once. then it just goes bad. :) thanks for the tip!

    http://munchtalk.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for the explanation Amy. Yes that does make sense. I know as a child we always had buttermilk in the house because my father drank it regularly. I will use your idea of freezing - I'll bet my family will enjoy the dressing more! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Awesome idea! I hate hate hate to let buttermilk go bad....perfect solution. Thank you! Found this post via pinterest and I am definitely repinning!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is BRILLIANT! Seriously, why isn't everyone already doing this?? Thank you for saving me from throwing away buttermilk. (Althought I was pouring it down the drain for the septic system.) I'm going to do this with the 1/4 carton in the fridge tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I too know what you mean when you say, I can't use up all that buttermilk when a recipe only calls for a cup or so. Freezing it is a great idea, thank you for trying that out for us...wow. Okay now for how I keep sour cream, your not going to believe this one, I don't think the dairy people would like this but guess what....if you store your sour cream "upside down" it will keep for months. I am eating sour cream from a container I bought in FEBRUARY, yes I said February! By turning the container upside down the water gathers at the base and the cream rises to the top of the container sealing it. A lady in the grocery store told me this trick years ago and I have been doing it ever since. There is only the two of us, me being the only one that eats sour cream this works out great. This also lets me stock up on it when its on sale...saving even more. Try it, it does work

    ReplyDelete
  30. We tried freezing buttermilk to make buttermilk pancakes and they didn't turn out well at all and the milk was all separated after thawing.

    ReplyDelete
  31. great idea, I just poured some out yesterday! thanks for the very practical and helpful idea!

    Tamika @ www.notimefortea.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. HINT: After you have frozen your raw cows milk (or any milk for that matter) make sure it thaws completely before you use any of it or drink it! Otherwise you'll never want it again!

    ReplyDelete
  33. You can also buy dry buttermilk. My grandmother recommended it to me since we only use buttermilk for her waffle recipe and we usually end up feeding the rest to the wild hogs on my husband's deer lease. I might try the frozen version sometime and see if it taste the same. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Just a comment, I buy the powdered buttermilk and just add water. It lasts forever and you can buy it in the grocery store

    ReplyDelete
  35. Good to put in mashed potatoes too, I add buttermilk to my potatoes instead of sour cream.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you for this post. I too freeze buttermilk in 1 cup measurements, put it in a freezer bag and lay it flat, then I stack them, saves room! I let it thaw completely and then squish the baggie to remix it (it separates a little). I have never had an issue with my food turning out...homemade buttermilk pancakes, waffles & southern style buttermilk biscuits are still awesome! I LOVE the idea of putting some in ice cube trays as well for my buttermilk ranch recipe! Thank you for addressing this. I've actually seen in magazines NOT to ever freeze it. Those people are likely not as frugal as us ;) Can this be done with heavy cream as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No clue on the heavy cream. Not sure why they say NOT to freeze buttermilk. Perhaps there is something I don't know??? I'm not a food scientist, but just doing this on my own and it seems fine to me. It may loose some of it's tartness, but that's a matter of taste, not safety.

      Delete
  37. My heavy cream got pushed to the back of the fridge and froze (on accident). never did become anything but a wasted clunky/chunky mess when I tried to defrost. I'm not sure why. any ideas? If you can freeze buttermilk & thaw why not cream?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angela,
      a true chef would probably say you can't freeze either one because it changes the texture of the product. Personally, I don't find it a problem with buttermilk since the things I use it in aren't affected in such a way that we notice a difference. However... I'm guessing here, but I would suspect the amount of butter fat in cream might be more proportionally and thus makes for a less than desirable product when thawed. Just guessing.

      Delete
  38. I grew up on frozen milk (I am 55). My mom would buy half-gallon cartons at the Army Post grocery store (she would only go about once a month) and freeze several of them, and would just thaw one as we needed it. Never noticed a problem with it.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Frozen sour cream works well when making Sour Cream Pound Cakes.

    ReplyDelete
  40. We lived in Wyoming for 13 years the grocery was fifty miles from home we bought gallons of milk and froze them all the time all you had to do was defrost in the fridge then shake well as it will separate. No one in the family from kid to adult ever had stomach issues. When we lived there we had so many blizzards that locked us in for days at a time we'd have nothing if it wasn't for the freezer. Some people just think they know it all and won't budge when someone tells them something new.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have frozen lots of dairy. Milk, even whole raw milk, works well. If the carton has that little round indention in it, I stick it straight in the freezer. If it doesn't have that indention, I pour a little out and then freeze. To defrost, leave on the counter for the first day and shake periodically. It will stay cold on the counter because it is essentially a big ice cube. Move to fridge when there's hardly any ice crystals to be heard when shaking. I have frozen buttermilk in the carton and in ice cubes and have used for baking, no problems. I haven't drank it straight after freezing, so if that's your plan, maybe freezing will affect buttermilk. But for practical purposes like baking, it does not. I have also frozen heavy cream in ice cubes, once in a while in the container. After defrost, you have to work to make sure you are remixing the butter fat into the liquids. Adding some sugar, you should be able to whip it. I have been able to. You can also whip the cream and put it in a container or baking sheet, and then freeze. It will defrost and keep it's shape as whipped cream after defrosting. This is my experience.

    ReplyDelete
  42. My refrigerator is notorious for freezing items on the top self, sitting in the back. I have taken buttermilk out and the entire carton be frozen! I just sit it in the sink, in cool water until enough thaws for my recipe. Give it a good shake and it's good to go, even if there are some ice crystals in it. I have used buttermilk way past it's expire date..it is soured milk? We have never gotten sick from it, maybe I should be more careful? Thanks for the tip! I look forward to freezing it in the freezer vs. the top shelf of the fridge :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. I've found that measuring a 1/4 cup into muffin tins, then freezing gives me a good size that handles most recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I spoke with the dairy employee where we buy our raw milk and he said we could freeze our raw cream, and if we freeze our raw whole milk to shake it every 30 minutes until it is solid to ensure the cream is frozen throughout. Obviously thaw a jug completely, shake then drink. My mom always froze milk, but don't use it before it's fully thawed since the cream and milk thaw at different rates. The shaking every 30 minutes will definitely help with this.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting Homestead Revival™! Please feel free to contribute to the conversation by leaving your comments. "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." Eph. 4:29

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails