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Whey: What It Is and How to Get It

Whey, also called milk plasma, is the watery part of milk remaining after the separation of the casein. The liquid is a by product of cheese making and contains lactose, vitamins, protein and minerals along with some traces of fat.

Some Good Uses for Whey

Whey is a good addition to shakes and smoothies to give a protein and mineral boost. Whey also helps in the culturing, or lacto-fermentation of vegetables/fruits to ensure consistently satisfactory results, as discussed by Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.

How to Obtain Whey

The best whey is fresh whey that you get at home (and fresh whey is a must in some applications, such as lacto-fermentation). Their are multiple ways to obtain whey yourself…….one of the easiest is from yogurt, either homemade or good-quality store-bought. See the instructions below on the easy process of obtaining whey from yogurt.

Fresh Homemade Whey

You Will Need:

  • homemade plain yogurt OR good-quality plain store-bought yogurt
  • bowl
  • strainer
  • coffee filter OR clean kitchen towel OR double-lined cheesecloth/muslin

The Process:

  1. Line the strainer with coffee filter or kitchen towel/cheesecloth. I use the coffee filter because it is easiest for me, and I only strain a couple of cups of yogurt at a time. So if you would like to strain a larger amount, simply use the kitchen towel or cheesecloth and a larger strainer/bowl.
  2. Place strainer over the bowl. It should be sized so that the strainer sits on the lip of the bowl and does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Pour the yogurt into the lined strainer and allow to drain for several hours, to overnight. I place mine in the refrigerator and allow it to drain all night long.

The liquid remaining in the bowl is your whey. Pour this whey into a jar, cover with lid, and keep in fridge for upto 6 months.

The thickened yogurt left in the strainer makes a good cream-cheese type substitute. Simply sweeten with a little stevia, maple syrup, or raw honey and use as a dip for fruit or spread on some homemade sourdough bread.