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Volume III
March 30, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Healthy Substitute for Sour Cream

By Alice Osborne

We've had more than one reader ask if there's a substitute for sour cream. I'm happy to report there is - and a healthy one at that! It's plain, unflavored yogurt.

Well, as healthy as it can be, considering it is DAIRY. But with yogurt you get a healthy dose of protein and calcium, plus live, active cultures, which are good for intestinal health. So from that angle, we'll say "Yup, plain yogurt is healthy."

The one thing to keep in mind when substituting with yogurt is that it is thinner in texture. It can be thickened, though, by draining it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. A coffee filter or good grade paper towel will even work. As the picture shows, securing the cloth to your bowl with a rubber band is a smart idea. (And don't throw away the liquid you strain out - put it in your green smoothie or the soup pot or something.)

OR, you can try nonfat Greek yogurt, which is naturally thick and creamy, since the liquids are already strained away.

Now here are a few more substitution ideas that I found on (off the subject, but by the way - how'd we live so long without all the information we find on the Internet?). You might want to substitute one of the following for each 1 cup of sour cream:

•  7/8 cup buttermilk or sour milk plus 3 tablespoons butter.
•  1 cup yogurt plus 1 teaspoon baking soda.
•  3/4 cup sour milk plus 1/3 cup butter. Sour milk is made by adding 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup milk.
•  3/4 cup buttermilk plus 1/3 cup butter.

•  1 cup yogurt plus 1 tablespoon flour plus 2 teaspoons water.
•  1 cup evaporated milk plus 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.

•  1 cup yogurt (drain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve for 30 minutes in the refrigerator for a thicker texture).
•  1 cup cottage cheese plus 1/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk, briefly whirled in a blender.
•  6 ounces cream cheese plus 3 tablespoons milk, briefly whirled in a blender.

And if your goal is to LOWER THE FAT:
•  1 cup low-fat cottage cheese plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus 2 tablespoons skim milk, whipped until smooth in a blender.
•  1 can chilled evaporated milk whipped with 1 teaspoon lemon juice. I add stevia to taste and this makes a great topping for desserts.

In closing, here's our thanks to those readers that ask specific food- and cooking-related questions. Cook'n is here to meet your needs and concerns, so we pay close attention to your comments, and as you can see, they often drive our articles!

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