I like to think I’m a pretty economical person. And like any economical person, I purchase my yogurt in large containers with multiple servings. This way, I can feel good about not wasting so much plastic—and I get to save money.
The first scoop is never a problem. But every time I dig back into my 24-ounce cartoon, there’s always a layer of liquid that forms on top of the yogurt. And every time this mysterious liquid—which I mistakenly presumed to be water condensation—would form on top of my yogurt, I would just pour it down the sink.
Turns out, that was a big mistake.
What I thought was water is actually whey. Whey is simply the watery part of milk (and milk’s byproducts, like yogurt). It contains minerals (like calcium), micronutrients, and whey protein. In thicker yogurts, like Greek or Icelandic-style, yogurt becomes thicker by straining off some of this whey. But not all the whey is strained away. Some of it still remains, and it is natural for it to separate from the yogurt.
When you pour this liquid down the drain, you’re actually pouring out some of the benefits of yogurt. Instead, just stir it back into your yogurt.
If you’ve read this far and are thinking, “Well, this doesn’t apply to me because my yogurt never has liquid on top!” don’t think you’re in the clear. This may be a sign of a different problem.
Whey naturally separating from certain yogurt brands is actually a sign of a good yogurt. It means that manufacturers don’t add any starches or chemical stabilizers that help to prevent this type of separation from happening. So if your yogurt doesn’t have this problem, you should probably take a look at its ingredients. Need help discerning friendly yogurt from foe? Don’t worry, we’ve done all the work for you in our exclusive report: Every Vanilla Flavor From 17 Yogurt Brands—Ranked!.