Source. Used under Creative Commons license.
Little Miss Muffet
sat on her tuffet
eating her curds and whey.
Be honest, when you were a kid, how many of you know what curds and whey actually were? Odds are that in the US, you grew up with milk which would never separate. Milk which had been heat treated and homogenized so the cream no longer raised to the surface. When milk like that goes bad, you can’t do anything with it other than toss it out. When fresh, raw milk starts to sour, you can still use it! The solids can be made into a nice cream cheese dip. The whey itself can be used for a variety of things, which you can see over here at The Prairie Homestead. I tend to use it for soaking grains and sometimes in my fermented veggies. When I was eating legumes more often I would soak them with whey as well. The soaking process breaks down anti-nutrients present in the grains and beans, making the good stuff in these foods more accessible to the gut.
Whey is in fact good for you, and is nothing like the powdered junk you find in “health” food stores. No wonder why Little Miss Muffet could run so quickly. It has some interesting history too:
Whey is the tart, golden liquid known to the Greek doctors of antiquity as “healing water.” In fact, Hippocrates and Galen, two founding fathers of medicine, frequently recommended whey to their patients. Whey from fully fermented milk no longer contains lactose, and with its dose of probiotic organisms will help maintain a synergistic balance of the inner ecosystem and encourage repair of gut dysbiosis. Whey also contains a fair number of minerals, particularly potassium, and a notable amount of vitamins, especially B2. Source
Yes raw milk is more expensive than the pasteurized sort, but it certainly has a longer life for uses.
How to Get Whey
A jar with a cover
White dish towel
1. Leave milk out to sour and separate. Tip: Don’t do what I used to do and leave it in the original container. It’s going to be hard to get the solids through that little opening.
2. When the milk has become solid, or you see the clear liquid at the bottom, it’s time to strain. Line the sieve with the towel, set it on the edge of the bowl, and pour the contents of the jar.
3. Once the majority of the whey has dripped out, tie up the towel and hang it to get the rest of the whey out. This will take a few hours. Usually I let it hang overnight.
4. Put the whey in a jar to store it in the fridge. Date the jar so you don’t forget when it went in the fridge. This whey lasts up to six months. You can also freeze it, as Prairie Homestead points out.
5. If you want to use the cream cheese (I admit I rarely do), scoop it out of the towel and put in a jar and refrigerate. This is good for about a week.
That’s it! Being able to do this will be a help with making some of the cultured recipes listed in the book Nourishing Traditions.
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