what the whey? honeyed apple mint whey cooler

thirsty thursday
notes from maggie's farm

A refreshing, thrifty, and even healthy use for the byproduct of cheesemaking, this honeyed apple mint whey cooler is a perfect mid-morning pick me up boasting calcium, phosphorous, b-vitamins, protein, enzymes, and more.  Don't toss that whey!

honeyed apple mint whey cooler

3 large apples
1 bunch mint (equal to roughly 1/4 cup leaves, well-packed)
approximately 16 ounces acid milk whey*
1 T honey (make it local, for help with those seasonal allergies!)

*Acid, or sour whey, is the byproduct of cheese made with the addition of an acid, such as vinegar, lemon juice, or powdered citric acid to the milk.  Sweet whey is derived from dairy products made without the addition of these ingredients, and can be substituted.

3 Methods of Preparation

1.  In a Juicer
Wash apples and mint well.  Cut apples into chute-sized chunks.  Process 1/2 apples, then mint, stems and all, then remaining half of apples.  In a quart jar, add resultant juice to (about 16 ounces) of whey to yield 32 oz.  Sweeten with 1 Tablespoon honey, to taste.  Cover jar, and shake well.  Serve at room temperature, or over ice, if desired.

2. In a Blender
Wash apples and mint well.  Peel, core, and cube (about 1 inch) apples.  Destem mint.  Process apples, mint, honey, and one pint (16 ounces) of whey until smooth and well blended.  Serve as is, thinned with additional whey, if desired, or frozen, by adding a cup of ice to blender during processing.

3. On a Stovetop
Wash apples and mint well.  Peel, core, and cube (about 1 inch) apples.  In a medium saucepan, add apple to mint, whey, and honey.  Allow to steep over low heat until apples are tender and falling apart.  Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature.  Strain into a pitcher, pressing against solids to remove as much liquid as possible.  Serve at room temperature, or over ice, if desired.

Garnish with mint, apple slices, or, as shown, with culinary (untreated) lavender.

Yields four 8oz servings.

What is Whey?

Whey is a by-product of cheese making, formed when the cheese curds separate from the milk or cream. After the curds are formed, the remaining liquid is called whey; it is typically thin and watery and will sometimes have a bluish tinge, but this depends on the quality and type of milk used. Whey can be made from any type of milk — cow's milk is the most popular in the United States. Goat's milk is commonly used in the Middle East, and in some desert areas camel's milk is used. The by-product can also be formed during the making of yogurt; it is the thin liquid that forms on top of the yogurt when it has settled.


Most commonly known as an excellent source of protein, whey also offers high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and lactose. It is the base of many protein drinks for athletes or others wishing to build or repair muscle tissues; when offered as a protein drink, it is usually found in powder form. The by-product is also an important supplement for those who have limited mobility in the limbs, as it contributes to the prevention of atrophy, or wasting away, of muscular cells. When used in pet foods as a source of protein and fats, it helps contribute to a healthy coat and proper muscle development for animals.

When formed during yogurt making, whey can be drained off and added to shakes, smoothies, or other liquid drinks for added protein. The by-product is often used in the making of ricotta cheese where it is heated, and vinegar or another acidic liquid is added. The addition of the acid causes the fats in the whey to solidify into the curds that create the cheese, forming a cooking staple for many dishes.

Whey can be an important addition to one's diet. Those who have difficulty finding the time to eat right or who have other dietary concerns, such as protein needs in a vegetarian diet, will find it to be an excellent supplement. Most people incorporate the powder form into their diet because it is easy to cook with and offers a quicker solution over making it from scratch.

How it's Made

There are numerous methods to making this cheese by-product, and the methods and materials used do vary. It is possible to find "recipes" on the Internet that explain the process in great detail. Most methods include heating water, organic milk, and vinegar in a pot over very low heat until it forms curds. Once it is done curdling, the mixture should be refrigerated and left to cool. The leftover liquid is whey and can be refrigerated for several weeks to be used at a later date.

Source: Wise Geek: What is Whey?

Read more:
Live Strong: The Nutritional Benefits of Whey
The Prairie Homestead: Ways to Use Your Whey
Dairy Business Innovation Center: Uses of Whey in the Farmstead Setting
Cheesemaking.com: Using That Leftover Whey


  1. Can I just tell you that the left over whey I brought home from Saturday's cheese class is just about gone. You would have thought I gave the pups liquid bacon. They lap that up faster than water. Anyway I still have a bit left over and I do have apples and mint so I think I will give this a whirl in the blender thanks.

    1. Dogs LOVE it. I wonder why? Mine won't stop until the bowl is empty. They growl at each other to move and let them have a turn! I just finished the last of my cooler and I'm going to want more! Thanks for dropping by.

  2. Found you via cook can read. I just started a pinboard yesterday for uses for whey and this is on it! Will be poking around this site a bit more...looks great!

    1. Hey there, Sara. Thanks for dropping by and thanks so much for including me in your pinboard! (Verrrry cool!) I'll be looking that up, myself. Sure am flattered you stopped in.

  3. your ability to photograph food is amazing. Simply amazing.

    1. Thank you, Deb! I am so flattered. I've only been doing it about a year, and it always makes my heart soar to hear such sweet compliments. Thank you, again!!

  4. Amazing. I have heard of curds and whey but not this. I feel so enlightened now. Thank you. I think your pictures are pretty awesome too.


    1. Hey, thanks, Kathy! I'm happy to see your smiling face today. Have a great weekend!

  5. Replies
    1. No whey! Whey? (there can be no end to this.)


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