Buttermilk is hard to come by in the smaller quantities usually required in baking and cooking recipes. This means that you will generally be left with half a container of buttermilk that won’t last long even when refrigerated. So, how can you avoid wasting the leftover buttermilk?
Dairy products don’t usually have a good reputation when it comes to freezing, however, since buttermilk is mostly used for cooking and in baking recipes, it can successfully be stored in the freezer to prolong its shelf life.
Now you can measure out the quantities required in your recipes, freeze them and simply pull out the amount you need without wasting a single drop.
Here is everything you need to know about freezing buttermilk.
Types of Buttermilk
Buttermilk first originated as a by-product after churning butter out of cultured cream. Modern-day buttermilk, however, is a fermented, or cultured milk product.
Although some populations enjoy buttermilk as a drink, it is often used in baking and marinating meat due to its acidic quality.
The acid in buttermilk reacts with raising agents in baked products such as sour-dough bread and scones to create an airy, well-risen dough. The acid also helps to tenderize meat, retain moisture, and enhance added flavorings when cooking meat.
Buttermilk may seem like just a sour milk product, but it adds great quality and enhances both sweet and savory cooked, baked, battered- and fried dishes.
Can Buttermilk Be Frozen?
Buttermilk is suitable for freezing only if you are planning to use it for baking or adding to a cooked dish after freezing.
The consistency of buttermilk changes on freezing appearing separated once thawed. By whisking the thawed buttermilk, you can reconstitute its smoother consistency.
It is important to keep buttermilk in air-tight packaging in the freezer to prevent it from absorbing odors from surrounding items. The last thing you want is buttermilk with a slightly fishy or oniony flavor.
Buttermilk needs to be frozen while it is still fresh. Placing it in the freezer will not revive old buttermilk, so keep in mind that if it is already off, it is best to throw it away. Buttermilk that has been in the refrigerator for more than 2 weeks should not be frozen.
How To Freeze Buttermilk
Step 1: Quality Check
Check that the buttermilk you are going to freeze has not gone bad. If it has a strong sour odor, has mold, or is too chunky to pour, it needs to be discarded.
Step 2: Portion and Pack
It is best to portion the buttermilk into the quantity you will be needing once thawed. You can either do this by freezing it in an ice cubes tray or by measuring out ½ to one cup portions into freezer bags.
To freeze the buttermilk in small portions, pour it into an ice-cube tray and place it in the freezer until fully frozen. Remove the frozen buttermilk cubes from the tray and transfer them into a resealable freezer bag.
Before sealing the freezer bag, press out all the air to avoid freezer burn and the absorption of surrounding odors.
Alternatively, measure out the desired quantity and pour the buttermilk into a resealable freezer bag. Press out the air, seal the bags, and lie them flat on a baking tray.
Place the level baking tray in the freezer to allow the buttermilk sachets to freeze evenly making for easy storage, no spillage, and even thawing.
Once frozen, you can remove the baking tray and conveniently stack the bags.
Step 3: Label
Label the freezer bags with the content and date of freezing. No matter how good your memory is, chances are you will either forget what the product is or for how long it has been in the freezer as the weeks tick by.
Place the labeled bag of cubes, or flat-frozen freezer bags into the freezer until needed.
How To Thaw Frozen Buttermilk
Method 1: Refrigerator
Remove the portion of buttermilk you would like to defrost from the freezer and place it directly into the fridge to thaw for a few hours.
On thawing, the buttermilk would have split and become watery. Mix it well with a whisk to reconstitute a smooth consistency.
Method 2: Water Bath
If you do not have time to wait for the buttermilk to defrost in the refrigerator, you can also place the sealed zip lock bag in a bowl of water for 20 to 30 minutes to defrost.
See more: How to tell if buttermilk is bad
Since freezing buttermilk does not affect its taste or acidic quality, it is the perfect way to preserve this dairy ingredient to save money and prevent food wastage.
It won’t be suitable to drink as is after freezing, however, you can use it for any baking, cooking, and marinating meat. Buttermilk is also a popular ingredient in making batters for deep-fried items. If you run out of this ingredient, you can always find a buttermilk substitute for your recipe.
Just remember, if you want the best out of your frozen buttermilk long-term, it needs to be kept in an air-tight freezer bag or container. Once thawed, give it a good whisk to reconstitute its creamy consistency, and get baking!
*image by udra/depositphotos