Waste Not Want Not

Discovering ways to re-purpose discards, making items from scratch and being self-sufficient.

Don’t Throw Away Your Whey

Just as I promised, I’ve found several very good ideas for using the whey left from making cheese and yogurt.  Many recipes for homemade cheese and yogurt encourage pouring this useful by-product down the drain but having a miser mindset, I don’t throw anything away if it can be used.  I’m often accused of dividing leftover food and freezing it in ice trays.  Guilty as charged.

Substitute whey in any baking recipe that calls for water or milk.

  1. Use it in fresh yeast breads and rolls recipes
  2. Add it to your cornbread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, biscuit batters
  3. Use it to cook pasta, potatoes, oatmeal, or rice and whey will add extra flavor to the foods
  4. Add it to soups and stews
  5. Use it as an additive to fruit smoothies and shakes
  6. Mix a little in your dog’s food for extra nutrition
  7. Pour it over your compost
  8. Spray your lawn with whey

One of my favorite ideas for using leftover whey is to make ricotta cheese.  All the recipes I’ve found for this homemade yummy, call for at least one to two gallons of whey.  If you are a cheese or yogurt maker you may want to freeze your smaller batches of whey until you have a gallon and they try your hand at ricotta.



  1. You’ll need a colander lined with cheesecloth
  2. A large stock pot
  3. Candy thermometer
  4. Yield about 1 cup of fresh ricotta

Ingredients for Ricotta

  • 1 to 2 gallons fresh whey
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Heat your whey to 200°F, or a low boil
  2. Let the curds come together for 5 minutes or so, then drain the pot into your cloth-lined colander. The bulk of the whey should drain out within the first 5 minutes.
  3. When your ricotta has reached the desired balance of creaminess v. curdiness, scoop the cheese into a bowl and refrigerate until use.

Good luck! As soon as I have enough whey, I’m giving this a try.

Until next time!


I found a really neat recipe for making your own Greek yogurt in your trusty crock pot.  There are several steps to the technique and I recommend making it when you have time on your hands and in your kitchen.  In other words, make it when you’re not preparing meals.

I wanted to see the cost difference and if it was worth the time and effort.  I checked the price of Oikos Greek yogurt in my area and it sells for approximately $5.85 for 16 ounces.  A serving is half a cup and comes to $1.46 per serving. I can make this recipe for approximately $.50 per serving. It really doesn’t matter the brand of yogurt you use for your starter in this recipe.  Use a less expensive brand of plain yogurt to cut costs.  Store brand milk will also add to the savings in this recipe.

I’ve read that the milk you use can make a big difference in the consistency of your finished product.  Whole milk seems to be the preferred product for a thicker, creamer yogurt.  I’m not a big fan of low fat milk in the first place, so whole milk would be my choice.


  • 8 cups (half-gallon) of whole, 1%, 2% or skim Pasteurized Milk. Do NOT use ultra-pasteurized
  • 1/2 cup store-bought natural plain yogurt. (Once you have made your own, you can use that as a starter.


  •  Add a half gallon of milk to crock pot and cover.
  •  Cook on LOW for approximately 2 1/2 hours.
  • Using a candy thermometer, check the temperature of the milk. When the milk has reached 180 degrees, unplug the crock pot, remove the cover, and let it sit for another hour or so. You are waiting for the milk to come down in temperature to between 105 and 110 degrees.
  •  When the milk has reached that temp, scoop out 1 to 2 cups of the warmish milk and whisk in 1/2 cup of store-bought yogurt. Then pour the mixture back into the crock pot. Whisk to combine.
  • Put the lid back on your crock pot, wrap a heavy bath towel around the crock for insulation, and place in the oven with the oven light ON. Leave the yogurt undisturbed for 7 or 8 hours, or overnight.
  • In the morning, carefully take the crock out, unwrap it and remove the lid, and check to see whether the milk has turned to yogurt.  (If your batch isn’t quite thickened, return it to the oven and check on it again in an hour.)
  • Refrigerate the yogurt for at least three hours to allow it to completely cool and thicken.
  • Line a large strainer with four layers of damp cheesecloth and put inside a bowl.
  • Pour the yogurt in; refrigerate for one hour.
  • For the frugal, save the liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl, this is the whey. Return the bowl to the refrigerator for one
  • more hour, strain the liquid again. The whey can be used for making ricotta cheese, butter and other useful things.  Otherwise you can pour it out.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of finished plain yogurt for your next batch.
  • If you wish to sweeten or flavor the yogurt you can add sweetener, honey, vanilla or other flavorings to taste.  I don’t recommend adding fruit directly into the yogurt.

Store your yogurt in a covered jar or plastic container in the refrigerator.  Use it within ten days to two weeks.  I use canning jars for most homemade things I’m going to refrigerate and 1/2 pint jars provide two servings.

DON’T FORGET, save 1/2 cup of your yogurt as starter for your next batch!

Next post I’m covering uses and recipes for using the whey. It’s too useful to pour down the drain.

Until next time!


Sweetened Condensed Milk Knock-off

Make Your Own and Save!!

This is a great tip for making your own sweetened condensed milk.  The price of this product has skyrocketed lately.  I use a lot of this during the holidays so having this DIY recipe is absolutely terriff!

Sweetened Condensed Milk
3/4 cup powdered milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
In small bowl combine the powdered milk and the sugar. Set aside Put hot water into blender. Start blender. With blender going pour in the powdered milk /sugar mixture. Blend until smooth.  This recipe equals one can of store bought condensed milk.