A few months ago (sometime in the spring) I was forced to get buttermilk in a plastic container. I didn’t really like the idea much because if there was no paper to the container, what would keep the bacteria alive? Well… I’m guessing that in the absence of paper, they feed on the milk itself, since it has been nearly 6 months since the expiration date and there has still been no spoilage or molding of the milk. A few months ago I noticed that when I tried to use the buttermilk (I use it only occasionally) that it had separated and I was getting out something that looked like 2% milk, and also something that looked like cottage cheese. That annoyed me about the plastic container and I decided that I would never use another one. Today I used more buttermilk (in making corn bread) and I decided to gently swirl the carton and sort of “fold” the curds and whey back together. It seemed to work out nicely as I had nice thick milk, almost like a yogurt, to work with. I smelled the milk, it was still fresh, quite a pleasant surprise because if I had the milk in the cardboard container, it would likely smell like the refrigerator, which in case you haven’t heard, is not exactly good eats.
So now I am faced with a dilemma, to get more buttermilk that is in cardboard and not have to worry about the container causing separation, or go with plastic and have buttermilk that I know will never truly go bad? I am having a hard time deciding and have a hard time discussing it with people, especially people who eat what I cook, as it tends to gross them out to think about the fact that I use buttermilk that is so old. I guess they don’t get the concept of aging. Buttermilk to me does not have the real buttermilk taste until it has been out of date by at least a few weeks. It tastes… dead.