WHEY’da minute! The best jumping off point for traditional food preparation

Whey is most commonly known as the powdered mix body builders use to bulk up commonly referred to as protein powder. Sadly many people, particularly guys, drink this mix while trying to loose fat and gain muscle. This stuff is NOT real food. (For more detail about the dangers of protein powder, read this article.) Real liquid whey is so super-duper easy to produce yourself, and it has a number of great uses in the kitchen and many benefits for your health.

If you currently buy yogurt, you are already half way there. To get whey, all you have to do is strain good quality organic yogurt through a cheese cloth.

You will need a clean thin dish towel, a medium bowl, rubber band, a plastic strainer and good quality yogurt. Check the label of your favorite yogurt brand; how many stains of beneficial bacteria are listed? Store bought yogurt will only have 5 to 6 strains of beneficial bacteria. This is the good stuff you need in your daily diet, but yogurt does not have very much of it. Kefir milk has upwards of 30 good strains that will colonize the gut to keep everything hunky dory!  Yogurt is more of a temporary helper that requires constant replenishment. (We’ll talk more about Kefir some other time, but Kefir grains can be purchased through Cultures for Health http://www.culturesforhealth.com/.)

To get some whey, set up your cheese cloth or never before bleached dish towel so that the towel is draped over the strainer evenly. Set the strainer on top of your medium sized bowl. The bowl will catch the dripping whey and the cloth will hold back the separated yogurt. This separated yogurt will turn into a soft cheese which goes by many names. A couple names are farmer’s cheese or curds. Poor the yogurt into the cloth that is draped over the strainer. Tie up the sides of the cloth with the rubber band.

After about an hour, place everything under a kitchen cabinet door pull. Using the rubber band, hang the cloth bundle above the bowl and allow to drip for another hour or two. The longer you allow it to drip, the dryer your cheese will be. I find that Kefir milk can strain for a much longer period of time than store bought yogurt.

Store your whey in a sealed container. I re-purposed an olive jar.  Store your cheese as well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. You now have two great things- Whey and fresh healthy cream cheese! How awesome is that!

The Weston A. Price Foundation website has many articles for reference on traditional cooking and extensive research on all things diet. Here is an excerpt from one of those articles concerning curds and whey:

Ways to Use Whey

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. So what do you do with all your nourishing whey?

  • Drink it! Drink it straight or mix it in with a fermented beverage or hot tea.
  • Freeze whey into ice cubes and blend them into smoothies for a more slushy texture or cool-down a beverage on a hot day.
  • Replace a portion of the water used to cook grains.
  • Include in soaking water in legumes and grains to improve digestibility (see Nourishing Traditions for details).
  • Lacto-ferment almost anything – apples, zucchini, cabbage, cherry chutney, ginger carrots—see Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
  • Feed to pets – chickens, dogs, cats, they all can benefit from this nourishing liquid.

Inspiring Ideas for Using Curd Cheese

Homemade, fresh curd cheese is the perfect complement or even replacement for sour cream in soups or dips and commercial cream cheese in spreads or desserts. It even does a fine job replacing mayonnaise on occasion. Best of all, curd cheese will take on any flavor, whether it be savory, salty, or sweet, so the sky is the limit when it comes to the possibilities with this ingredient. Heating homemade curd cheese will destroy the good bacteria, so I opt to keep mine raw as much as possible; however, there are times when it is the ideal choice for a certain soup or casserole—or you just have an excess supply. Below are some ideas to help inspire your creativity when it comes to using your delectable homemade cheese.

Herby dip: Blend salt, garlic (maybe roasted), diced onion (white, red or green), a little olive oil and your favorite herbs (dried or fresh) with your curd cheese. Maybe toss in a few pieces of nitrate-free bacon or a dash of Worcestershire sauce for an added kick. Complements vegetables and crackers nicely.

Sweet deliciousness: Blend maple syrup or stevia, vanilla and perhaps a little cinnamon, nutmeg or jam into your curd cheese. Use as a topping on pancakes or waffles, filling for crêpes, frosting or fruit dip.

Cashew honey dip: Grind crispy cashews (see Nourishing Traditions) in the food processor until a fine powder results, add a similar amount of cheese curd. Toss in a scoop of honey and a dash of vanilla to taste and blend again. Add cheese curd until your desired consistency is reached and honey to taste. This makes a yummy apple dip, but can also be used on top of pancakes or in crêpes.

Mexican dip: Mix cheese curd with salsa, chopped green onions, shredded Cheddar cheese, and some Mexican spice mix (chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic and onion powder) and a sprinkle of salt. Enjoy with homemade corn chips.

Cream soup: Make a simple batch of tomato or broccoli soup and once cooled, stir in some velvety cheese curd to add another dimension.

For the full article, go to http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/enjoying-little-miss-muffets-curds-and-whey

I use whey regularly to soak my rice, oats and beans prior to cooking. This process increases the assimilation of nutrients into your body that are inhibited when eating unsoaked version of grains and legume. How do you use whey?

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