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Sour cream

Sour cream is a dairy product rich in fats obtained by fermenting a regular cream by certain kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The bacterial culture, introduced either deliberately or naturally, produces lactic acid, which sours and thickens the cream.

Commercial sour cream

Commercial sour cream, made out of heavy cream, contains from 15 to 20 percent fat, and gets its characteristic tang from the lactic acid created by the bacteria. Sour cream often contains additional ingredients such as gelatin, rennin, and vegetable enzymes.

Light sour cream contains about 40 percent less fat than regular sour cream because it is made from a mixture of milk and cream rather than just cream.

Nonfat sour cream is thickened with stabilizers.

Storage

Sour cream can usually be refrigerated in its container for more than a month after the date stamped on the bottom of the container. If any mold forms on the cream's surface, the entire container should be discarded immediately.

Uses

Used primarily in the cuisines of Europe and North America, sour cream is often used as a condiment. It is a traditional topping for baked potatoes, added cold along with chopped fresh chives. It is used as the base for some creamy salad dressings and can also be used in baking, added to the mix for cakes, cookies, American-style biscuits and scones.

"Sour cream and onion" is a popular flavor for potato chips. Sour cream can also provide the base for various forms of dip used for dipping potato chips or crackers, such as "onion dip."

In Russian cuisine, sour cream is often added to borscht and other soups. In Tex-Mex cuisine, it is often added to tacos, nachos, burritos, taquitos or guacamole. Hungarian cooks use it as an ingredient in sauces and in recipes such as ham-filled crepes.


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