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Adventures in Whey Pickling

Throughout history we have always found ways to preserve foods in a natural way. You need a way to get through winter and early spring when food is sparse. In cultures such as the Viking's where dairy played a large role and cheese making took place there was whey available and many things including meat were pickled in whey and there is evidence of this that has been found at Birka and other sites. Jars have been found still containing evidence of it as well as bees wax being used to seal the jars. In some places it is even still being practiced to this day. The lactic acid in the whey would produce the right environment and in the case of meat even tenderize it. 

 

So I had to try my hand at it and used whey that I saved from cheese making. Don't worry I will share my first adventures in cheese making once it is finished. But I digress, so back to pickling with whey. In spring ramps (wild leeks) are abundant but only have a small season and I had turnips that were coming to an end after being wintered over which makes a bit of a perfect combination and both would have also been accessible in Scandinavia and so pickled ramps and turnips took shape.

 

After slicing and then salting them to start leeching out some of there own water content, I added whey to cover and let them sit at room temperature for a week and then in cooler temperatures for two weeks. The turnips are softer and take on a pickle like texture and the ramps add a great bouquet and heat to the pickles. 

 

A very simple way to preserve flavor and food that if sealed would make it shelf stable in a larder for months to come. And I still have whey left over so who knows what I will do with it next. 

 

 

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