Get sweet on sour cream
Could you live without sour cream? I can't, and neither apparently can a lot of other Americans. According to dairy industry statistics, consumption of sour cream is constantly on the rise, despite the introduction of hardly any new products. But...
Could you live without sour cream?
I can't, and neither apparently can a lot of other Americans.
According to dairy industry statistics, consumption of sour cream is constantly on the rise, despite the introduction of hardly any new products.
But it didn't always used to be that way. Many people, especially those older than 50 who grew up on a dairy farm, used sour cream only out of necessity (when it soured whether intentionally or not).
Now, a lot of those people and a majority of others consider sour cream a gourmet food. A lot has to do with the growing popularity of Mexican foods. (Can you imagine burritos, tortillas and such without sour cream?)
People also are using it to thicken sauces, make quick dips and, of course, to top baked potatoes. Like its relative, yogurt, sour cream also tenderizes and softens baked goods.
Sour cream long has been a traditional ingredient of savory Eastern European dishes such as beef stroganoff and Hungarian goulash because of its rich taste. (Arabs and Bulgars also value sour cream in their cooking.)
Nutritionally, sour cream is lower in calories than comparable amounts of salad oils and most salad dressings and is loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, phosphorous and Vitamin D.
And a diet that is heavy with calcium-rich dairy foods, including sour cream, stimulates the body to burn more fat and inhibits the formation of new fat cells. This altered fat metabolism has been shown to result in fat and weight reduction.
By definition, traditional sour cream must contain at least 18 percent milk fat by weight, while the light version contains about 40 percent less fat than regular (It is made from a mixture of milk and cream rather than just cream.) Nonfat sour cream is thickened with stabilizers and thickeners such as corn starch, gelatin, carrageen and guar gum.
Over the years, I've used all three types of sour cream, depending on the recipe. (If most of the food is low in fat, I'll use regular sour cream; and if it's high, the nonfat type.)
The shelf life of sour cream is about four weeks. After a container is opened, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Should it separate, just stir to regain a smooth consistency. And do not freeze it.
Sour cream has been a staple in my kitchen since before I got married. Besides using it as a topping for my baked potatoes, I like to mix sour cream with homemade hot sauce for a tasty chip dip. Onions and cucumbers in a sour cream sauce also is hard to beat.
But perhaps my favorite way to use sour cream is in stroganoff. I recently made a variation using nonfat sour cream in the sauce, which was combined with pheasant, carrots and peas, along with the traditional ingredients (onions, mushrooms, red wine and Worcestershire sauce).
I served the stroganoff over homemade egg noodles from Hosmer, S.D. (courtesy of co-worker, Paulette Tobin).
It's truly a dish I can't live without.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, ext. 136, or email@example.com .