A few days ago, as we were doing out weekly grocery shopping, I overheard a young homemaker say, “A half gallon of buttermilk! Are you kidding me? I’d never use that much buttermilk. I’ll just make something else.”
Since my new motto is “Just be a good listener…your ears will never get you in trouble.” I smiled to myself, put a half-gallon of buttermilk in my cart and went on with the task at hand. But…
here’s what I could have told her–
Granted, when you’re cooking for two people eight cups of buttermilk seems like a LOT. Dairy products don’t keep well over long periods of time and most recipes don’t call for more than one or, at best two cups, of buttermilk. But go ahead and buy that big ole carton of the stuff
cause it freezes like a champ and you’ll always have it on hand when you need it.
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing is the best on salads and as a dip. I always keep it on hand. One packet of dry mix uses 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 cup of mayo. Tastes great and has fewer fat calories than some other salad dressings. Okay…now I have seven cups of buttermilk left…
My secret ingredient? Vanilla! Not just any vanilla mind you My very own, very special, homemade brand. A tasty trick learned in mama’s kitchen. Purchase a pint of good quality dark rum, open and insert two whole vanilla beans. Cap it up tight. Put it in the back of the cupboard and forget about it for several months. When you open it again, it has turned into a dark, rich extract of vanilla, with just the slightest punch of rum.
To make 8 pancakes:
1 beaten egg
Add 1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. Sugar
Measure 1 cup buttermilk
Add 1 Tbls. Vanilla (see above)
2 Tbls. Vegetable oil
Whisk the buttermilk into the flour mixture
Add enough water (about 1/4 cup) to bring the mixture to the consistency of heavy cream. Serve with real maple syrup.
Sunday evenings in autumn and winter are a fine time to serve Waffles… same mixture. Leave the water out and cook until crispy.
That’s two cups gone, easy-peasy!
Now comes the smart part. Measure any left-over buttermilk, cup by cup, into quart size freezer bags. Lay each bag flat on a sheet pan, pressing out as much air as possible. Freeze ’em flat and store ’em for months if need be. When you’re ready to make a recipe that calls for buttermilk, just lay a bag in a couple inches of cold water while you measure ingredients, and viola! Done deal…no waste, no trip to the store for too much buttermilk and a great breakfast to boot.
Maybe the young homemaker from the grocery store will read this post and realize there’s not really too much buttermilk in that big ole carton after all.