What is that and why is it in your fridge?

I hate wasting things, especially food. I save the smallest amounts of sauces, wrap up tiny nubbins of ginger and freeze leftover shrimp tails. My roommates have to put up with a lot of random things in the communal storage areas, but it’s all for a good cause. To tell you about different uses for what would otherwise go to waste, I give you a new He Cooks, She Cooks feature: What Is That and Why Is It in Your Fridge/Freezer/Pantry?


Sure, this liquid is a little greenish and smells like cheese, but it’s not sour milk. What is it and why is it in my fridge?

It’s whey left from homemade cheese! You use two quarts of milk and a pint of buttermilk to get two cups of cheese, and then you have all this whey still. I couldn’t bear to pour it down the drain so I looked up ideas for using it.

Turns out whey can be substituted for water in baking recipes. I used it last time I made no-knead bread.

I also tried to make homemade ginger ale with it, as I read at An Hour in the Kitchen. The levels seem a little off in that recipe. It was a little watery. Maybe even salty? But I added some more lime juice and some frozen orange concentrate, and now it’s like very gingery juice. I kinda like it, but I love fresh ginger more than other people.

You could also probably use whey in your Persian rice. The recipe calls for a little yogurt to be added to the boiling water, but it also suggests using the water that accumulates in the yogurt container. That’s whey isn’t it?

Another thing you can do is make more cheese. Technically, ricotta is recooked whey left over from previous cheese making. I’m not sure why this didn’t work when I tried it. Maybe it’s because I let the whey sit for too long in the fridge. Or maybe I just didn’t have enough. (I had less than half a gallon.) If anyone has done this successfully before, let me know how you did it.

Anyway, I’m sure there are more ways to avoid wasting whey. Any ideas?

3 Replies to “What is that and why is it in your fridge?”

  1. I’ve made mozzarella and ricotta one time each. The latter was okay, the ricotta turned out better – perhaps because I started out with raw milk. Anyway, you do end up with a lot of whey, and like you, it pains me to toss it. Some people freeze it, but that’s going to take a LOT of freezer space. This blogger simmered it down, dried it, and crushed it into powder: http://elaichietcetera.wordpress.com/2007/12/20/make-wheyand-use-it-too/

    I haven’t tried that, but it’s on the list.

    As far as uses go, I’ve dumped some into soups, replacing a portion of the stock.

  2. Hi there, if you know anyone who likes to lift weights they might be intersted in having the whey?

  3. Whey can be used in practically any recipe calling for water as an ingredient; it is especially useful (and nutritious) for making bread!

    Goatsbeard Farm’s Jenn Muno says Ken drinks whey (they end up with LOTS!) like Gatorade in the summertime…

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