A s a life-long Southerner and native Tennessean, buttermilk runs in my veins. Truthfully, I can speak for myself and possibly many others when I say that a full day’s menu could feature this beloved beverage in just about every way, shape, and form. Buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and buttermilk pie, all of which beckons to be washed down with none other than a tall glass of…you guessed it…buttermilk. While some may turn their noses to the tanginess, it is this very component that makes buttermilk so functional. The acid aids in both tenderization and leavening, resulting in the moistest fried chicken and fluffiest biscuits this side of the Mason-Dixon. In addition, the intense flavor that buttermilk exhibits serves as a beautiful contrast to sweeter flavors, such as mixed berries and honey.
As if any more convincing was necessary, buttermilk also provides many wonderful health benefits. While traditional Southern fare is far from what is deemed healthful, buttermilk itself is certainly not to blame. Contrary to what you may think, buttermilk does not contain butter. Instead, buttermilk is composed of two simple ingredients – milk and cultures. Like other types of milk, buttermilk comes in a variety of fat percentages. The cultures are able to create a unique flavor and thickness, masking any differences between fat content. By using non-fat or reduced-fat buttermilk, you’re saving fat and calories without sacrificing richness. Similar to many other cultured dairy products, buttermilk contains probiotics. Probiotics, simply put, are live microorganisms responsible for digestion and protection against harmful bacteria. Many probiotics mimic the helpful bacteria that are already present in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A healthy GI tract is linked to improved immunity, meaning that probiotics may actually help to fight off sickness (1).
Even though fall is upon us, what better marriage of ingredients than ripe, sweet berries and our cool, creamy buttermilk? Lighter than traditional ice cream, this blackberry sherbet recipe is sure to make you reconsider traditional uses for buttermilk and instead leverage its amazing health benefits.