The Truth About Buttermilk

So is buttermilk good or not? I never could reconcile the stories my mother told of churning milk to separate the butter from the buttermilk with the ghastly-tasting buttermilk available at the grocery. How could milk go sour just by taking the fat out of it? L.V. Anderson explains with the history of buttermilk, or rather, the different things that have been called buttermilk.
My mistake was assuming that the buttermilk I had ordered would be the same kind of buttery buttermilk that Laura Ingalls Wilder had drunk in the late 19th century. This was a bad assumption. What we call buttermilk today has nothing at all to do with butter. In fact, the stuff known as cultured buttermilk at your local supermarket—i.e. milk that has been deliberately soured—is a 20th-century invention, and the product of a health-food diet craze dating back to the flapper era.

The distinction has to do with the lack of refrigeration in the days when people made their own butter. Sometimes the milk would be good; other times it had soured over the time it took to churn, or maybe it started out sour. Read the rest of the story at Slate. Link -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Organic Valley)

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