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!


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