You might be thinking, "Why would I want to make my own sour cream?" It is readily available in the grocery stores for not a whole lot of cash. There are a few reasons why you might consider making your own. One reason is many commercial dairies add guar gum or gelatine to make the sour cream even thicker or things to make it last longer. Or, you might have bought heavy cream for a recipe and have 1/2 c. left over. It just sits in your fridge because you aren't sure what to do with it.
I started making my own sour cream on a regular basis when I started buying pasteurized, non-homogenized milk. The cream rises to the top and then I can skim it off and make sour cream. This is not only tasier!, but also eco-friendlier. I'm not wasting money on packaging or filling up landfills with plastic containers. (Food for thought, it still takes 5 years for a cardboard milk container to biodegrade.) Here's a bonus too: it is SUPER easy to make!
If the thought of souring your own cream just seems a little gross, I ask you, how do you think commercial dairies do it? We get separated from the process and don't realize that what is done in a huge factory can be done in your own kitchen. Our ancestors made sour cream by letting the fresh raw cream just sit out until it reach the desired degree of sourness/thickness. Here is how eHow.com describes the modern, commercial sour cream development.
"The pasteurized cream is inoculated with bacteria that come from lactic acid. The inoculated cream is allowed to ripen for 14 to 16 hours at 72 degrees F. During this time, the bacteria grows, fermenting the cream in the process. This process is also called "souring," which is how sour cream got its name. Souring makes the cream thick and sour. Then the cream is chilled for 12 to 48 hours. Once the cream is soured to the desired level, it is pasteurized to kill the bacteria.
The process described above is easily done in the home kitchen with yummy results! Let's reclaim sour cream!
You will need: heavy or light cream, buttermilk, and a glass container with a lid.
Here I have two cups of cream. (This is actually raw cream I was able to purchase at a local co-op.)