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What to do with extra buttermilk? January 6, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. Supposedly, there are folks out there who just loooove to drink buttermik right out of the carton. Ewwwww. For the rest of us, it’s a crime that we can’t buy a pint or half-pint of buttermilk to go in our holiday recipes, since that’s typically the only time we ever use it.

Unfortunately, where I live, buttermilk only comes in quarts. And this presents the frugal cook, who doesn’t want to toss three cups of buttermilk after using the requisite one in the iconic Christmas corn pudding, with a dilemma. After all, one corn pudding a year is plenty. But what else can you make that will use up that buttermilk?

Cornbread might spring to mind. Lots of cornbread recipes include buttermilk. But none are as luscious as my family’s cornbread recipe, which uses sour cream. (Search for cornbread in the search bar at upper right for the super-easy, super-delicious recipe; you won’t regret it!) Why make a lesser cornbread just to get rid of buttermilk?

I suspect that pancakes would be a natural for buttermilk, but we don’t make them here at Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home our friend Ben and I share in the precise middle of nowhere, PA. I like to add a little dairy to enrich OFB’s scrambled eggs, but the amount would be so small that it would take weeks to use up the extra buttermilk. And I’ve found to my sorrow that omelettes, which would appear to be an ideal medium for milk, cream, or buttermilk, only really turn out well when you simply whisk three eggs with a whisk or fork.

Two options occurred to me: salad dressing and soup. After all, the original ranch dressing, created fresh by its owner for guests of the Hidden Valley Dude Ranch in the mid-1950s, contained buttermilk. And there just had to be a soup that buttermilk could enhance. So I turned to my good friend Google to see if I could find a solution to the buttermilk problem.

Sure enough, there was a recipe for buttermilk blue cheese dressing, courtesy of Prevention magazine. It involved sauteeing minced shallot in olive oil, then mixing the cooled shallot with 1 teaspoon of mustard, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, a cup of buttermilk, a tablespoon of chopped parsley, 2 ounces of crumbled blue cheese, and fresh-cracked black pepper and salt to taste. Sounds promising, and it uses a whole cup of that quart of buttermilk!

Celeb Brit chef Jamie Oliver’s also a buttermilk-dressing fan. His recipe calls for 9 tablespoons of buttermilk with 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard, 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill, and fresh-ground black pepper to taste.

But what about that soup? Hey, jackpot, and from Martha Stewart, of all things! This hits the jackpot because it uses 3 cups of buttermilk—exactly the amount I have left over—and adds potatoes for a hearty, soothing cold-weather soup. The ingredients are super-simple, too: Besides the 3 cups of buttermilk, you need 2 pounds of potatoes (such as Yukon Gold or your favorite), 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 4 small onions, thinly sliced, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste, fresh-cracked black pepper to taste, and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill. That’s it! Boil the potatoes, sautee the onions, herbs and spices in the butter and olive oil, cool and slice or dice the potatoes, add the other ingredients to the potatoes, and serve hot. Sounds good!

But, you know, now that I look at it, mashed Yukon Golds with buttermilk, lots of butter, and maybe some sauteed minced sweet onion, plus tons of fresh-cracked black pepper and salt (we love RealSalt and hot spiced Trocomare) might just hit the spot perfectly. Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes, especially when it’s cold outside?!

Do you have any recipes for using up extra buttermilk? I’d love to hear them!

‘Til next time,




1. Robert Duck - January 7, 2014

Drink it! BEST option. Did you ever have warm cornbread and milk? Better still How about warm Roasted corn bread (from Roasted corn) and buttermilk?

Hi Robert! Thanks for your suggestion! I have indeed heard of warm cornbread chunked into buttermilk and consumed as a treat; I think it might be a tradition here in Pennsylvania Dutch country. I use Cope’s roasted corn in my corn pudding (along with frozen white shoepeg corn) and appreciate the rich flavor it adds to the dish, but haven’t tried using it in cornbread. I’ll keep that in mind!

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