What is buttermilk?
Buttermilk is one of the most common traditional foods that we have been eating and drinking ever since we can imagine. The traditional buttermilk is the residual liquid left after butter is churned out of cream. It has a sour taste and is mostly served with some spices on top of it such as various peppers or cumin powder or ginger or green chilies and curry or coriander leaves. These are crushed and then added to the buttermilk so that the taste of it is enhanced and also these things help in keeping the health in check. However, with the passage of time, buttermilk has taken many forms.
How is buttermilk prepared?
Originally, when milk would sit out for too long, it would become sour. When butter was prepared from such sour milk, the by-product that would be generated in this process was called the buttermilk. It is now called the traditional buttermilk. Today, the buttermilk that we get has a more curd-like taste but that wasn’t the origin of it. Buttermilk is now prepared by adding micro-organisms and live lactic acid bacteria like Lactococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus to low fat milk. It helps is fermenting the milk and giving it a sour taste.
However, this is prepared in the industries that have to sell buttermilk but there a number of ways to make buttermilk at home as well.
If we have frozen yogurt or curd ready, we can just add water to it and whip and mix it till it becomes a thin semi-solid form.
If there is no curd, one can simply take milk, add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and let this mixture stand for 10 minutes at normal room temperature. The milk will become slightly thickened and there will be lots of curled layers in it.
Types of Buttermilk
Over the years, buttermilk has taken several forms and the most common ways of preparing such other types of buttermilk is as follows:
The normal buttermilk is like the one discussed above. It has equal parts water, curd and cream. It is not specific to any one such ingredient.
Full cream buttermilk
This buttermilk is prepared from the milk that has fat layers of cream in it. The curd made from such milk is churned without adding water so that the buttermilk is thick and has a lot of cream just like the milk.
Half water buttermilk
When curd is mixes with water in the ratio of 2:1, it is called half water buttermilk. It has 2 parts curd and one part water. It has little cream or no cream at all.
No cream buttermilk
This buttermilk is made from the curd that was initially made from the milk devoid of any cream. The curd usually made from pasteurized milk has no cream at all. Hence, the buttermilk made from such curd is also very skinny and has no cream at all.
No fat buttermilk
When the curd is churned till it becomes butter, the butter is removed from it and the remaining watery part that is left is called no fat buttermilk. Because it contains just water, curd and no butter at all.
Vitamins present in Buttermilk
Buttermilk is rich in vitamins and nutrients. Here is a list of vitamins and nutrients that Buttermilk contains:
Vitamin A (Retinol) helps in overcoming weakness and amnesia which is caused by vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin B complex like Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) helps in making sure that the body gets enough fat and proteins and it strengthens the membrane as well and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) converts the food into energy and helps in driving energy production. It also detoxifies the entire body.
Vitamin C (Absorbic Acid) helps in absorbing the necessary nutrients present in the food and supplying it to different parts of our body. It aids in liver function too.
Vitamin D (Ergocalciferol) that is present in the buttermilk helps in strengthening the immune system of the human body so that it can fight any number of disease causing bacteria.
Health Benefits of Buttermilk
Buttermilk maybe sour to taste but it is extremely nutriritive and has the maximum number of health benefits.
- Buttermilk is low in carbohydrates and calories as compared to milk and it helps in preventing the body from gastrointestinal disorders. The condiments added to buttermilk make it an even better digestive agent. It is known to treat acidity as well as constipation. It has a cooling effect on the gastrointestinal tract. It eases the stomach lining that causes the body to feel burnt and heated. It is known to improve the stomach reflux and decrease the burning sensation.
- Eating the wrong food can lead to diarrhea or constipation. Buttermilk has properties that go easy on such problems and treat such stomach disorders effectively.
It facilitates bowel movements. It takes the pressure off the digestive system. This also works well for the people who don’t include a lot of fibre in their diet. Buttermilk does the work of a fibre as well.
Buttermilk purifies the blood inside our body and helps in keeping our heart strong. Due to its properties, it helps in removing the impurities found in the blood.
- Buttermilk acts like a coolant. Every time we eat spicy food, our body feels a burning sensation that can really harm us. However, it is substances like buttermilk that help us wash down such spicy foodstuffs. It soothes our body after we consume such meals. That is why buttermilk is mostly taken with curry leaves or cumin powder or ginger on top, because these things also fight the body heat and reduces the irritating that is caused when we eat the wrong food. It is a very commonly used food to treat hot flashes and reduce the body heat. It cools the digestive system to a great extent.
- When we over-eat or feel bloated, buttermilk cools us down. It has such properties that make us feel less over-stuffed and it also aids in improving the digestive system of our body. It washes down the unnecessary oils; fats and carbs that we eat that make us lazy and complacent. Buttermilk is known to rejuvenate the body and fill it with energy that refreshes us. It makes us more active.
- Buttermilk treats dehydration in the best way possible. Since, it is already so effective, if it is consumed by someone suffering from dehydrations, it helps in gaining the loss of heat and water from the body in no time. It is the best drink to drink in summer as it treats the prickly heat as well as the uneasiness that is caused by sweat and the heat.
- It is known to have properties that reduce cholesterol and help increase the metabolism of the body. It is therefore considered the best drink that is used for reducing blood pressure. It keeps the cholesterol in check.
- Buttermilk counterattacks the attacks that are caused by milk poisoning. It treats dysentery and food poisoning.
- Buttermilk helps a great deal in losing weight. Often when we try to lose weight, we try to starve ourselves. Due to this we devoid ourselves of the necessary nutrients and hence, end up being dehydrated. Buttermilk ensures that we get the necessary vitamins and nutrients that we lose when we don’t eat anything and the best part is that it also doesn’t provide us with any fats or carbs. Milk or curd consists of fats but buttermilk has the best nutrients that do not promote fat. Hence, it is useful in losing weight or keeping it in check too. It satisfies our hunger and makes sure we feel full enough to not start binge-eating.
- When eaten with a crushed ginger or garlic on top, it is also known to fight the cold. Buttermilk has the properties that kill the bacteria that cause us fever and cold.
- Buttermilk’s most effective treatment till date is that it is known to treat hemorrhoids. If consumed with a mixture of rice and banana twice a day, hemorrhoids can be treated away. Something as simple as including buttermilk in our diet can make us so healthy and fit.
- Buttermilk can not only be consumed for benefits but also applied on the body. If you have sunburns, you can apply a mixture of buttermilk and tomato juice over the burnt parts and see it go away in no time. It also reduces the pain the sun-burnt part causes when stretched. It cools the texture of the skin and smoothes it down.
- Buttermilk is known to cure ulcers and mouth problems. You can either swallow it by gargling it in the mouth with a mint, use it as a mouthwash or directly drink it by ballooning it inside the mouth. It has healing properties and treats any kinds of thrush and sores. It doesn’t support the growth of yeast and hence, it can always be used to treat a bad mouth-infection.
- Buttermilk is used for increasing the body mass. It helps in increasing the protein intake which helps in strengthening the muscles and building them.
- Buttermilk increases the calcium content in our body. The minimum requirement is up to 1100 – 1400 milligrams of calcium and it is the best for the people who have low calcium intake. It doesn’t contain as much fats and carbs as regular milk or curd which makes it even better. It wouldn’t increase our fat intake just to increase or calcium intake.
- Buttermilk has such properties in it which is known to fight stress and depression. It contains electrolytes that cool the body down and refreshes it. It acts as a coolant for the body as well as the mind.
- Buttermilk has also benefitted the food industry as it doesn’t go bad as quickly as milk does. The importance if it has increased and now buttermilk is used in the condensed form as well as in the powdered form. The powdered form of buttermilk is used in baked goods in the absence of vinegar as they both have a sour taste and help in tightening of the food substances.
- Buttermilk is used in making skin care cosmetics too. Since it contains no toxin at all, it can be used on the skin for a glow. The companies that make skin care cosmetics use buttermilk as their component because it
- Heals the marks
- Makes the skin shinier
- Smoothens the surface of the skin
- Improves elasticity of the skin
- Keeps it wrinkle free
- Rich in lactic acids that work best for peel off masks
- Tightens the skin
These are just amongst the few benefits that buttermilk can cause to the skin. Also, it is a great component for smoothening of hair. If mixed with honey and egg and applies to the hair, the hair becomes shinier, stronger and smoother.