Sunday, July 10, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #14 - Waste Not, Want Not

14.  Waste Not, Want Not (July 1 - July 14)  Good housekeeping in any historic era included making the most of your food items.  Pick a recipe that involves avoiding waste (maybe reusing leftovers, or utilizing things commonly thrown out) and show us how historically-green you can be!

After finishing the Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #13 - Pies, and making Schmierkase, it seemed such a shame to toss all that whey that was left over from the process.  Although I didn't actually measure it, it seemed that after extracting the solids from the milk I was left with just as much liquid as I had started with my 2 quarts of whole milk.

By definition whey is the watery, protein-rich liquid left behind when milk is curdled to make cheese.  It can store in the refrigerator in this state for about two weeks.  In some countries it is bottled and sold as a thirst quencher and protein drink.  In other countries it has been dumped into waterways causing quite a problem with ecosystems.  The research and information on whey is almost overwhelming but I've sorted through enough to share with you my favorite four uses for whey.

The process I used for making the cheese used vinegar which left an acid whey.  Some processes will produce a sweet whey.  All of these uses are for acid whey. 

1.  Lacto-Fermented Probiotic Lemonade

Probiotics are in the forefront of health topics these days as our processed foods tend to kill the healthy bacteria our digestive systems require.  The healthy bacteria in whey in combination with sugar, which the bacteria feed on, makes a perfect probiotic drink.


6-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (don't use bottled lemon juice as it has added preservatives)
1/2 cup Sucanat or other unrefined sugar
1/2 cup whey

Unable to find Sucanat locally I substituted turbinado sugar and the difference can be briefly studied here:

Now the beverage sits at room temperature for 2 days.  You can see a gentle fizz as the bacteria feeds on the sugar.

After 2 days put the lemonade in the refrigerator.

On the third day we filled large glasses with ice, added a few lemon slices, made cold chicken sandwiches, and had a picnic on the screen porch.

This hummingbird was enjoying our sugar water from a feeder just outside the screen porch.  We all sipped our drinks in peaceful harmony.

There has to be a better name than Lacto-Fermented Probiotic Lemonade as this beverage is delicious!  It is not overly sweet and has the crisp taste of a cider.  Heavenly and thirst quenching!  We drank it all so I can't tell you how long it would last in the refrigerator.  I did read that the taste even improves over the days of storage, that it can be bottled, and that it is also excellent using limes instead of lemons or even a combination.

2.  Whey Pancakes

This recipe came from the King Arthur Flour website.  King Arthur Flour has been produced since 1790 and it was no surprise that they would have a recipe using whey.  Easy to make and loved in our household for a leisurely breakfast!

2 cups unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat flour or a combination, 1-2 tablespoons sugar, honey, maple syrup (I used maple sugar), 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups whey, 2 large eggs, 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine dry ingredients.

Beat together eggs, whey, and oil.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and blend just until moist, about 20 seconds.  Do not overblend as this will cause the batter to not rise as nicely during cooking.

Medium heat griddle.  With the oil in the batter no additional oil on the pan is required.

Browning beautifully and rising splendidly!

Can't have too much maple flavor in our house.  Warmed syrup just before using.

A lovely stack with gobs of melting butter!

Oh yum!  Let's eat!

3.  Whey all by itself is a refreshing and wholesome drink.  The first time I tried to drink the whey created from my cheesemaking I could smell the vinegar although I couldn't taste it.  I added a bit of sugar and the vinegar odor left immediately.  A very smooth, healthy drink with just a touch of a milky flavor.

4.  Here is my fourth and last use of the whey left over from my cheesemaking.

Wondering what on earth I'm doing with whey in the bath?

Just 1/4 cup.  It's a hair rinse!  Vinegar is a wonderful hair rinse as it removes residue and makes hair shine.  It must have worked because the first thing my husband said when I came out of the bath is "Wow!  Your hair looks great today!"  He didn't know what I had been up to and my first thought was "What was wrong with my hair yesterday?".  But it was true.  The shine was definitely there and I can imagine the protein is a wonderful supplement to the hair as well.

There are hundreds of other uses for this wonderful by-product of cheesemaking and they are as useful in today's home as they would have been 100 years ago.  Please share some of your uses!


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