Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Should We Talk About Buttermilk?

I love buttermilk. Really, I drink it.
When I was about 5 years old, I saw my mother drinking a glass of something unusual; it came from a milk carton but the carton was colored green, not like the blue and white carton of my childhood "normal."
She was shaking salt into her glass between sips. What? Why? This was so new to me, and I seriously wondered why I was not included in this degustation. Didn't I eat or drink everything else that crossed our kitchen table? And this was off-limits to me?
"You wouldn't like it," said mom.
Well, can I try?!
OK, sure. She let me have a few sips, and even without the salt (or especially), I knew I loved buttermilk. The rich texture, the sweet tartness, the... oddness! I drink buttermilk!
Most people, I think, take buttermilk as an ingredient. For biscuit dough, or for soaking chicken before frying. And most people don't really get finished with a quart of buttermilk before their recipes peter out.
"It keeps fine in the refrigerator for months," wrote one blogger.
Or: "How can you tell when it's gone bad? It already tastes sour."
Take it from me, the buttermilk drinker. It goes bad after its sell-by date. If you want proof, taste some rotten milk. That's not just sour you're tasting, it's garbage. And so with buttermilk; it's already tart, but rotten buttermilk tastes rotten.
OK, back to fresh buttermilk. I often have a glass of it in the morning; a quick, delicious breakfast.
Sometimes I include fruit, and that's when synergy begins.
You get the taste of creamy dairy and juicy, sweet nature.
You could go farther with this (and I will; I have a dessert I want to tell you about soon), but just buttermilk and fruit is dreamy.
The one I love to drink is Berkeley Farms Bulgarian Cultured Buttermilk. It's local to me, and I've had all the other locals. It's my favorite, so if you can get some, try it.
My point, and I have one, is: Try buttermilk.
It will completely jazz up the taste of fresh fruit in your mouth. It will make fruit popsicles. It will, of course, bathe chicken before breading and frying. And then (yawn) there are all those baking recipes that use a half cup of buttermilk, and you let the rest rot and you try tasting it and you're not sure if that's how it's supposed to taste, and it's NOT.


Zoomie said...

Remember the comedian Shelley Berman's shtick about buttermilk?

Ms Brown Mouse said...

I've read/heard about buttermilk all my life, thanks to American Cultural Imperialism :) Never tried it though, I don't recall ever seeing it in the dairy section, must take a peek.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

My my used the "you won't like it" line with me for avocados - worked for years, then I finally tasted one - O MY, love em!

Heather said...

I remember wondering aloud on my blog whether or not buttermilk ever goes bad, and I remember your reply: "yes, it does."

Hey, at least I use up all of mine on good coffeecake and soda bread recipes (I only buy pints).

Kalyn said...

I'm not big on milk at all, but I LOVE buttermilk!

Anonymous said...

Oh girl. You need to MAKE buttermilk.

Take a small glug of your fancy schmancy stuff, pour it into a quart jar of good milk (preferably from a farm), give it a shake and leave it on the counter for 24 hours. Voila. B'milk.

I use it interchangeably with kefir. Kefir is more work though. Should I go on about buttermilk cheese? Nah. One step at a time.

Greg said...

Not much of a milk drinker but the Popsicles sound fantasmo.

namastenancy said...

think that it's the best buttermilk on the market and now that you like it as well, I know that I'm right. I go through a quart a week - of course, I use it for salad dressing too. There is something just extra creamy and tangy about that particular brand.

Shira said...

Hmmm, I think you just convinced me to try buttermilk. We shall see.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: My parents had a Shelley Berman LP, and I think I listened to it, but I really don't recall buttermilk! You'd think I would.

Mouse: We, the buttermilk-drinking Americans, are superior. Let me know if you find any.
(My mom had me eating avocados from the time I was five. There were plenty to go around in Hawaii.)

Heather: I hope I wasn't snarky. (I didn't know you could buy it in pints! Cool.) (Soda bread with buttermilk? Cool.)

Kalyn: You totally caught me by surprise on that one! This is an elite club, yes?

Fast: Ack! I can make yogurt and a facsimile of creme fraiche, but it never occurred to me to make b-milk. That is NEXT on the list. Thank you, thank you! (I don't like kefir as much, so... good!)

Greg: There's really no point drinking milk if you're not a milk drinker. But the popsicles are easy and good. Sweeten the buttermilk just a little.

Nancy: You too? Yeah, it makes killer dressing. Very ranchy. Thanks for the endorsement on Berkeley Farms.

Shira: You're gonna try it, and you'll hate it, and you'll never come back here again. I'm sorry! :)

namastenancy said...

Do you think we can get a year's supply free for endorsing the product? After all, no such thing as a free lunch, etc. No money has changed hands....YET!

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: They'd be flabbergasted how much I go through in a year. I sometimes think Mollie Stone's carries it specifically for me.

namastenancy said...

Do you know about buttermilk soup? I like this version but there are versions with fruit as well or serve it Turkish style with garlic, salt and mint.


2 c. buttermilk
1 tbsp. snipped parsley
1/2 tsp. instant chicken bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. dried dillweed
1/2 c. shredded seeded cucumber
1 tbsp. sliced green onion
Dash pepper

Combine all ingredients - cover - chill 3 to 24 hours. Serve this refreshing soup icy cold. Yield: 2 servings - 1 milk - 1 fat - 1/4 vegetable.

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: Yes, I do know buttermilk soup! I'm so sorry I didn't mention it in the post, because I make it all summer long, with all kinds of vegetables (today was avocado, cukes, etc.), and even with blueberries.
Thanks for the recipe.

wwwFlossDietDotCom said...

When I was a child we made our own butter and the rest was used in cooking or drinking.
For a summer drink, my mother added a little water, vinegar and chopped green onion. It was perfect with boiled potatoes topped with fresh-made butter.

cookiecrumb said...

Floss: MADE your own butter. I'm not intimidated, but I'm impressed. And that leftover "water" was genuine buttermilk. I'm impressed.

Farmgirl Susan said...

LOL I literally just finished mixing up a batch of ranch dressing - the one based on your recipe that I'm thoroughly addicted to. So I stood there sniffing the newly opened buttermilk carton before pouring it into the dressing while Joe watched.

And then he says, "Why did you just make that face?"

And I said, "Because it's hard to tell if something that's basically already sour has gone bad, and even though it's past the expiration date, it smells pretty good to me." ;)

Tomorrow I'm hoping to try a recipe for millet cornmeal bread that calls for buttermilk. Can't wait.

Glad to hear you're back to drinking buttermilk! I know you'd had to give it up for a while, and I know how much you missed it.


cookiecrumb said...

Susan: The sniff test is to look for a rotten smell. The taste test is it's more sour than you expected, or it's just vile. You usually do get a few grace days after the expiration.
Hey, not only am I drinking milk, I'm eating gluten. It turns out alcohol was causing my heartburn and related distress. Bingo! That was easy.
Happy summer. Oy, what a summer you've been having.