Buttermilk can help you maintain healthy bones. And yes, you can drink straight buttermilk!
Simply spice it up with ground ginger or cinnamon, or add a sweetener of your choice to make it delicious.
Finally, season it as you please to achieve a unique drink for National Milk Day (January 11). Read on to find out how nutritious milk and lemon juice are when combined and how to prepare your homemade buttermilk.
Why Milk and Lemon Juice?
When you mix milk and lemon juice, the result is buttermilk— or rather, the homemade version. Another term for it is “soured milk” because of its tart flavor.
However, “soured milk” is frequently associated with spoiled dairy.
If you’ve ever poured yourself a glass of milk only to find it looks split, it’s likely a sign of coagulation. In the dairy world, coagulation is the curdling of milk into semi-solids.
The addition of certain enzymes or acids can initiate this process, and lowering the temperature assists the reaction.
Curdled milk occurs when you introduce acid or heat. But when milk curdles on its own due to conditions that favor bacterial growth, it leads to spoiling.
You can often tell this by its foul smell; if you can’t stand it, toss it!
When you add lemon to milk, its citric acid disrupts the milk’s casein micelles. Once the milk has formed a thicker, uneven texture, it has developed acidified buttermilk properties.
Is It Good for You?
Absolutely, buttermilk is a healthy drink.
But to clear things up, we need to address the different types of buttermilk.
Buttermilk comes in three main forms: cultured, traditional, and acidified. Our recipe makes acidified buttermilk.
This means it’s a mix of milk and an acid like vinegar or, in this case, lemon juice.
Cultured buttermilk is made from live starter culture. All you need is fresh, non-/low-fat milk and the bacteria culture to ferment it into buttermilk.
Good ole traditional buttermilk is a byproduct of the churning process that produces butter (hence “buttermilk”). But to be clear, it contains no butter.
All three are made in different ways, but they possess similar nutritional properties.
Buttermilk is an excellent source of calcium. The main component in acidified buttermilk is cow’s milk, with one cup containing 28% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) on a 2000-calorie diet.
It’s also high in vitamin D, giving you 24% of the RDA.
Both calcium and vitamin D are excellent for bone health: calcium helps to build bone mass, and vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium. It’s best to consume these nutrients together, and this milk and lemon juice recipe ensures just that.
This is a huge bonus compared to cultured or store-bought buttermilk, which has very low amounts of vitamin D. Unless it’s fortified, cultured buttermilk contains only 2.5% of the vitamin D amount found in homemade buttermilk.
Vitamin C also increases bone mass density when taken with calcium and estrogen. Combining lemon juice adds a small amount of vitamin C that will help increase your total daily intake.
This makes it perfect for this milk and lemon juice recipe.
How To Make
Homemade buttermilk is a less sour option than the commercially made, and it takes less time to prepare than traditional varieties.
Note: If you’re out of lemon juice, you can use orange juice as a last-minute replacement. Our Milk and Orange Juice Recipe offers a great guide on how to prepare it.
To speed up the process, heat the milk until it’s warm, then add the lemon juice and stir. Leave it for five minutes while it curdles.
The longer you leave it, the more it splits to form a thicker texture. Give it another stir, and it’s ready to use in your recipes.
Neola Muhambi is a food and travel writer and SEO outreach specialist. Her African heritage and travels across various countries in Asia have given her a keen appreciation for cultural diversity and a sensitivity to the unique characteristics of various cuisines. Her experiences also sharpened her communication skills, which are helpful in her tasks to establish organic connections among websites.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.