Ok, a bit of background. For our wedding anniversary we bought ourselves an Instant Pot. Not the cheapest thing ever, but I know several folks who have one and love it, and we decided to get one. We’ve not used it as much as we’d have liked (hello stupid PIA New Year!) but I’ve had great results from almost everything we’ve tried in it.
This also means, that since I’m running mostly one handed right now and can’t lift the thing I’ve been researching recipes and options and what not instead of actually using it much. I’ll be very likely trying yogurt in the near future (well, once I can use two hands to lift that gallon of milk with…..).
Many yogurt recipes, especially those based off of greek yogurt, call for you to strain the yogurt. The resulting liquid is whey. Specifically “acid” whey. This results in alot of FB posts from people asking what to do with this whey. The answer being use it to replace milk in many baked goods, add it to smoothies, feed it to your four legged pets…..and pour it in your garden as fertilizer.
The last suggestion results in a massive uproar EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Seems the media has made much fuss about “acid” whey. Its ACIDIC don’t you know! It’ll KILL THE FISH if it gets in the water ways!!! OMG!!!!
Lets get a few things straight.
Acid whey has an average PH of 4.3-5.1 depending on the exact process and milk used. This does certainly tip the side of the PH scale as acidic.
Apples have an average PH of 3.3-4.0. Are we going to start calling apples “acid apples”? Blueberries run 3.1-4.5. Cooking vinegar (the stuff you buy at the grocery) runs at a PH of 2.4-2.6. Vinegar is actually acidic enough to kill the green portion of most plants, but won’t actually kill the roots of most things.
Dumping large quantities of acid whey (or allowing large quantities to run off into waterways) does cause severe damage to waterways. But not because its acidic. The same damage would be caused if you dumped equal quantities of milk (PH 6.4-6.8) into the waterways, or human blood (PH 7.4), or the like. It has to do with the introduction of large quantities of biological mass into a system not prepared to deal with it. Folks who are serious fish tank keepers understand this concept even if they haven’t generalized it.
The small amounts of whey produced by the average home yogurt maker isn’t going to harm things if its poured into the garden. Pouring it directly into a stream or the like might cause some damage, for the reasons stated above, but even there, in a moving water system its going to be diluted fast. So don’t pour it into your fish pond, but the garden is fine.
If you actually pay attention to the above articles you’ll note that several of them state that farmers use it for fertilizer and the only limit on how much they use is avoiding run off of large quantities.
Its not going to kill your garden. Well, I suppose if you poured all of your whey in the exact same spot, every day, for weeks on end and didn’t do any watering and it didn’t rain the plant in question might not be happy with you, but really….
So can we stop the fear mongering scare tactics yet??