Finding spoiled milk in the fridge is usually an unwelcome surprise. But the stinky beverage shouldn’t have such a bad reputation, especially if it’s based solely on the liquid’s scent. Look past the strong aroma and start using sour milk to your advantage: these 20 tips will get you started.
20. Polish silver
You can use sour milk – and its natural acidity – to your advantage if you have tarnished silver jewelry laying around. Place your baubles in a bowl and cover them in your expired beverage. Then, let it sit overnight so the milk can do its magic. In the morning, you should only have to rinse your accessories.
No need to stop with jewelry – you can do the same with other silver goods. Let the sour milk sit for a half-hour before rinsing it with soapy water. Then, you can buff away any lingering smudges with a cloth to restore utensils, trays, vases and any other silver you have in your house.
19. Dress your salads
Not all milk is created equal. Perhaps you’ve got your hands on a jug of unpasteurized milk? If that’s the case, you can make a delicious salad topping or dressing out of it. It will take some time, though, because you have to leave your milk at room temperature until it starts to thicken. After a while, clabber will form – and these cheesy chunks taste delicious.
So, add some clabber to the top of your salad. On that note, you can use plain old spoiled milk – the unpasteurized kind, of course – to your salad, too. It’s a zingy replacement for sour cream, if you like that flavor on your lettuce leaves. So, if you have fresh veggies in your fridge, think twice about throwing away your sour milk.
18. Remove limescale deposits
Hard water contains a slew of minerals so, when it flows through your faucets, showers and through your washing machine, it can leave them behind. Over time, they build up into the limescale deposits that you scrub and scrub but can’t seem to remove. That is, until your leftover milk goes sour…
Leftover milk becomes acidic, meaning it can fight back against the chalky limescale in your bathroom and kitchen sink. Pour the milk over the stains and give it a bit of time to break them down. Then, scrub them away, perhaps finishing up with another scented cleaning spray if you don’t like the smell of spoiled milk.
17. Stand-in for buttermilk
Buttermilk earns its name quite literally: it was once the milk leftover after someone churned butter, which would ferment into a zesty, thick cream. But very few people still churn butter in an old-fashioned way these days, which means we have had to come up with new ways to make buttermilk. By introducing bacteria into low-fat milk and heating it, we can now create it without any of the elbow grease.
If you still can’t get your hands on a jug of buttermilk, though, you still have options. Reach for a carton of sour milk in your fridge, and you’ll get the same tanginess you crave. After you bake your biscuits or cookies, the sour goes away – and you just get all of the fluffiness and flavor you want.
16. Repel backyard voles
Perhaps your backyard garden is your pride and joy – and then, voles move in. These tiny rodents, also known as meadow moles, subsist on a vegetarian diet. As such, they may start to munch on your prized plants, flowers and shrubs. You can get rid of them, though, so long as you have a spoiled milk supply to hand.
First, search for the vole tracks in your garden: you can use the rodents’ footsteps to your advantage. Once you locate their common footpaths, dig them open and pour in your sour milk. Then, pat the earth back into place and let the smell do the work for you. As it turns out, these vegetarian rodents hate the scent, so they’ll stay away.
15. Make cheese
Who doesn’t love cheese? Americans do – and they have grown to love it more and more in the past 40 or so years. From 1977 to 2017, the average person’s cheese consumption rose from 16 pounds per year to a whopping 37 pounds every 365 days. As such, many people will be thrilled to know that sour milk makes great homemade cheese.
Plenty of amateur cheesemakers have recipes available online. Follow them, and you can easily make use of your spoiled milk and save money on buying pre-made cheese at the store, too. On that note, if your milk has started to thicken and curdle, you can use the bits to make cottage cheese as well.
14. Fry up some donuts
It’s not every morning that you start your day with a donut. But these flaky, sweet treats can mark a special occasion, and you don’t have to run out to the bakery to get them. Instead, you can grab the carton of sour milk sitting in your fridge and get to cooking.
With just a cup of sour milk – plus ingredients you already have in your pantry – you can whip up a batch of sour milk donuts. You can prepare them in the traditional way, which is by frying them in a hot pan of oil. Or, you can go slightly healthier and bake them. Either way, you’ll have a special, sweet breakfast, thanks to your leftover milk.
13. Erase blueberry stains
Blueberry consumption in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent years. That’s because people have become privy to the many health benefits hidden within these and other berries. However, there’s one big problem when it comes to snacking on blueberries: one sloppy bite and you’ll get a serious stain on your clothing.
You can use spoiled milk to your great advantage in this situation. Put your blueberry-stained garment in a bowl, tub or another receptacle. Then, pour your dairy beverage over top and let the item soak overnight so the milk can work its magic. After that, wash it as you would normally and the fruity stain will disappear.
12. Transform it into yogurt
Yogurt has so much goodness to offer you and your body. For starters, it contains live bacteria called probiotics that bolster the immune system and may hone brain function, too. Yogurt can also help protect us from type 2 diabetes; not all dairy products have this attribute.
So, if your fresh milk goes sour, you can transform it into a body-bettering batch of yogurt. You just need to invest in packets of starter yogurt cultures, which infuse your milk with good bacteria. Then, you’ll add the bacteria to your sour milk, allowing the combination to sit and thicken up.
11. Add creaminess to a casserole
Most people would generally agree that a bit of dairy tends to make any dish taste better. However, you might not think that wisdom applies to sour milk since it’s, of course, sour. Think again – pouring it into a casserole or soup can thicken your meal and create the creaminess you crave.
Don’t worry about using expired milk in your recipes, so long as you cook it at a high temperature. Heat will kill off any harmful bacteria, leaving you with a tasty, creamy addition to just about any recipe. So, you can pour your milk into soups and casseroles, as well as potato dishes, omelettes and pasta, too.
10. Feed your pets
Milk is jam-packed with nutrients, and for good reason: it’s meant to nourish baby animals and help them grow. Still, regardless of who’s drinking it, milk provides a healthy dose of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. And sour milk doesn’t lose hold of its best assets.
The only problem is, you have no interest in drinking sour milk – the taste is too much. But your pets’ palates aren’t as discerning, and they can benefit from lapping it up. So, splash some onto their food to add fresh calcium and protein to their kibble. Some animals might even drink it on its own, and it’s perfectly healthy for them to do so.
9. Better your baked goods
Long before Louis Pasteur invented his eponymous beverage-purifying process in the 19th century, people drank raw milk. Indeed, his advancement has helped reduce the number of illnesses caused by bad milk. But the all-natural stuff has probiotics and enzymes that disappear after pasteurization, so some people still opt for raw milk instead.
And, because raw milk has been around since ancient times, people have uncovered a slew of culinary uses for it. This includes making food with the bottles that have gone bad. As it turns out, you can find sour-milk-specific recipes for your favorite confections, from cookies to muffins to cornbread to cake.
8. Run a milk bath
At the end of a long day, there’s nothing quite like a bath to help you relax. Still, you don’t need to buy expensive bubbles or bath bombs to make the experience even more soothing: instead just make a grab for your sour milk as you run the water and pour in the dairy drink. Then, hop in, soak and reap the benefits.
Milk’s soothing properties help smooth your skin, which is why those with eczema, dry skin or psoriasis swear by baths with the beverage. Add one to two cups of sour milk for the full effect. And, if you can’t handle the strong smell, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the water, too.
7. Helm a kid-friendly craft or experiment
Creative grown-ups have found ways to make art or teach science with a bit of spoiled milk. For one thing, you can pour a bit of it on a plate, then drop some food coloring into the liquid. Your child can then swirl the dyes around to create psychedelic art. Just make sure they play outside to make clean-up simple.
A bit of soured milk can teach science, as well. In the 20th century, Queen Mary of England donned jewelry made from milk. As it turns out, the beverage contains a protein called casein, which can be used to create plastic – a project that you can do at home with your little ones.
6. Protect your intestinal tract
Naturopathic healers maintain that good gut health is vital to a person’s overall well-being. And, because they aim to uncover the root cause behind someone’s discomfort or illness, they tend to look at the digestive tract. Interestingly, if you’ve been plagued by appendix inflammation, colitis or typhoid fever, it could be down to your intestines.
Specifically, harmful bacteria can grow in the intestines, which can manifest as any one of the aforementioned conditions. To fight them, you might want to try sipping on (a little) curdled milk, especially if you seek an all-natural remedy. The beverage creates lactic acid in your digestive tract, which is inimical to these harmful bacteria.
5. Marinate tonight’s dinner
We’ve already mentioned that sour milk tastes very similar to buttermilk. And, on that note, we pointed out that you could use your expired bottle to whip up baked goods, yogurt and cheese, among other goodies. You might also want to consider pouring some over chicken before it’s time to serve dinner.
Sour milk also makes a great substitute for buttermilk if you want to make fried chicken. So, soak your breasts, wings and drumsticks in outdated dairy for a little extra zing. Beyond that, though, you’ll follow a pretty traditional prep process: coat your chicken and then fry it to create the crunch you crave.
4. Flip the perfect pancake
Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook author Dana Gunders spoke to radio station NPR in 2015 about cutting down on food waste. Of course, the topic of milk came up – and the writer had nothing but good things to say. In fact, she claimed that a bit of sour milk made the best pancakes out there.
In fact, Gunders was full of nothing but praise for the seemingly bad ingredient. She said, “Cooking with sour milk is delicious. […] You can [use it] in pancake or biscuit batter. And you can’t taste the sour! I’ve pushed it, and let the milk get really old. The pancakes turned out fluffy, and really good.” Time to heat up the griddle.
3. Tenderize a steak
Not all cuts of meat are created equal. Some come tender and ready to eat, while others need a little bit of help getting to that point. You could grab a mallet and get to work, slowly breaking down the fibers that bind together and keep your meat tough. Or, you could rely on your supply of sour milk to do the work for you.
Once again, we have sour milk’s lactic acid supply to thank for this possibility. All you have to do is soak the meat in your outdated dairy before you cook it and it’ll loosen things up. Try marinating your steak in it for a buttermilky flavor with just the right amount of zing.
2. Strengthen your garden
If you’re a millennial, chances are your interest was piqued by this use for spoiled milk. Your group has been given another nickname: ”the wellness generation.” One of the many ways to improve your health is to cultivate houseplants, and young adults partake because they want to feel good.
If you’ve already got an indoor or outdoor garden going, then sour milk is your friend. Dilute it with a bit of water before pouring it over your plants. After that, they’ll have a healthy dose of calcium to help them grow and build strength. And you’ll have gorgeous, healthy plants that’ll grow back year after year.
1. Mix up a face mask
The same lactic acid that can help keep bacteria at bay in your intestines? If applied externally, it can improve your skin, too. Specifically, lactic acid simultaneously firms and smooths – two side-effects that any skincare guru can get behind. So, grab a bottle of spoiled milk and get started on a little face mask project.
You only need spoiled milk and a bit of water to dilute it. Splash the resulting mixture onto your visage, then rub it into the skin. When you’re done letting it soak in, be sure to rinse off your face. Otherwise, you’ll look glowy and smoother, but you’ll also smell of old milk, and no one wants that.