Because of our experimentation with fermentation, namely making kefir and Caspian Sea Yogurt frequently in the last couple of months, we've had a lot of whey collecting.
I've not yet ventured further into lacto-fermentation, and so have not yet begun making pickles and sauerkraut using whey as an agent. I've been meaning to toy around with whey in breads as well, but haven't gotten that far along my To Do list.
So what to do with it? I wasn't sure.
And when I'm not sure, I experiment a bit.
I'm not sure what the PH needs of my plants are(remember, the ones in all the buckets? ..Bucketville?), but I do remember hearing that whey might be good diluted with water and used on some kinds of plants. Which sorts of plants? It is there my science abruptly ends...I really don't know.
But I knew our two fig trees in pots were looking a little peaked, and I decided to begin emptying the whey from the yogurts/kefir on one of them, and to compare the two plants after some time passed.
I don't know if mine are deficient in nutrients, since we don't have a regular source of compost or rotted manure as soil amendments for Bucketville, so I figured as long as it was well watered-in, it probably wouldn't be doing anything but adding micronutrients and healthy bacteria to the soil much as the yogurt it had come from boosts our own human nutrition. If anything, I hoped it would feed and promote microbial growth and give a gentle boost to the rather plain potting soil.
Again, pardon the picture quality...it's my fault, not my camera's. For some reason, I'm putting it on a setting that blurs the foreground and highlights the background...argggh :) But do notice the colors of these photos... They were taken on the same day, at the same time and in the same lighting.
Here is the fig tree (in a pot) that regularly was fed the kefir and Caspian Sea Yogurt whey, and even leftover bits of the actual kefir and yogurt. I watered it in each time I applied it. It was often applied a quart at a time, a few days apart.
Notice the color...
Below is the second fig tree -- the one that received regular watering without any whey. Hey look! It's a cute little baby fig! Obviously it's a healthy tree...but notice the difference in the color compared to the first tree. It's particularly noticeable when looking at them side-by-side. The one fed the whey regularly is a much deeper, richer green, and the leaves are sturdier and more robust.
I don't know much more than this, and it's simply an experiment with these two plants...so don't go throwing kefir whey, etc., on your plants just because I did...I don't want to be responsible for killing off any of your little green friends! :) But I did want to show that for some reason, the whey seems to be agreeing with the fig tree, and as long as it does, I'll keep applying it...and watering it in each time. I figure it's natural and I know exactly where it comes from, unlike store-bought fertilizers. It's said to be healthy for humans to consume, so I believe it will likely be healthy for animals, when we get some someday, too.
If you have whey from cheese or yogurt-making, how do you use yours? I'd love to expand on my limited knowledge and get the lowdown from many of you kitchen veterans out there!