I grew up in the Deep South in a time and place where all tea was sweet and all sodas were called “co-colas.” I can also remember my grandmother’s answer every time I asked her for a glass of milk: “Butter or sweet?”
And as stereotypical as it sounds, it really wasn’t unusual for us to sit on her screened porch and enjoy a glass of cold buttermilk – maybe even with some leftover cornbread or biscuits crumbled in it as well.
I don’t know when I grew out of the habit of enjoying buttermilk as a beverage, but I’m guessing it was probably around the time chocolate milk hit the market. Suddenly buttermilk was nothing but sour!
Thankfully, I never gave up my appreciation for buttermilk as one of the most versatile ingredients in my cooking. From brining to baking and all points between, buttermilk adds a dimension of flavor you just can’t get from “sweet” milk.
I hope you’re already familiar with how delicious buttermilk is in biscuits and pancakes, and I really hope you’ve discovered the heaven on earth known as buttermilk pie. But next time you’re cooking, think about choosing buttermilk instead of milk in your mashed potatoes, homemade salad dressings, blueberry muffins, and even your chocolate sheet cake icing.
And just like my grandmother taught me, I always use buttermilk to soak my chicken breasts and chicken fried steak before dipping them in flour and frying them in the cast-iron pan she left to me when she passed away.
Brookshire’s Southwest Dairy makes the Food Club buttermilk you can find in our stores. Our churns may be a bit bigger than the old days, but the taste and quality is as good as it gets. From savory to sweet, our buttermilk’s slightly tangy flavor has been the secret best friend for generations of cooks ̶ and doting grandmothers ̶ across the south.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
3 large or 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, halved, and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2/3 cup Food Club buttermilk, warmed
2 green onions, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are pierced easily with a fork, about 20 minutes. Do not overcook.
Drain, reserving about a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Using a potato ricer, gently press the potatoes over a large bowl. (If you don’t have a potato ricer, use a sieve and wooden spoon. For best results, don’t use an electric mixer.) Mix in butter, 1 teaspoon salt, buttermilk and green onions and gently stir to blend. Add a tablespoon or 2 of cooking liquid if necessary to obtain desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.