Don't Let Your Dairy Go Sour—Here's How to Use It

August  1, 2016

If one were to do a taxonomy of the contents of the average omnivore's fridge, I would wager that this is what they'd find: an unruly and wide-stretching series of pastes and condiments (miso, gochujang, anchovy paste); a couple of wild leftovers (pizza, mashed taters, egg yolks, breadcrumbs); funky things in jars (pickles, kimchi, olives); and a many-armed swath of products united by their dairy status: yogurt, buttermilk, crème fraîche...

These are arguably some of the best dregs to have. Use them in any meal, sweet or savory, as a main player or dolloped joyfully on top. But use them: They'll only stick around for so long before venturing towards the sour or funky.

Here's how to get to the bottom of whatever dairy dregs you've got:

Turn all the cream into whipped cream (you can even make it ahead of time)! Drizzle over pasta! Or throw caution to the wind and add some to the milk you're making yogurt with.

Speaking of yogurt—fold those leftovers into tuna salad, make a creamy salad dressing or pesto, or even shake it into a cocktail. (Really, really.)

More: Yogrut + green sauce = something much more versatile.

Extra-thick tzatziki, here you come. Sour cream frosting, cake batter—even fruit tossed with a little sour cream and brown sugar—are all good options, too.

Crème fraîche can make the humble lentil or mushroom positively sing, and bring buttery richness to panna cotta, cheesecake, or a coddled egg.

Uh, lucky you. Freeze it! Or turn it into semifreddo or shortbread or make yourself a stash of pie crusts.

Cheese toasts, gratins, pimento cheese, a giant, cheese-topped puff pastry appetizer—all within reach.

If you're looking for an excuse to make waffles, this is it! Alternately, marinate meat in it, dredge chicken in it, dress potato salad with it, bathe in it (just kidding...).

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What dairy dregs are taking up space in your fridge right at this moment? (Cream cheese? Me, too.) Tell us in the comments—we might give you some ideas for how to use them!

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Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.