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Buttermilk is the liquid left over after churning butter. It usually has a sour flavor due to controlled fermentation.
Because most of the fat is removed with the butter, buttermilk is not very rich. If derived from naturally-cultured cream, the buttermilk has a naturally sour taste; if derived from sweet cream, the buttermilk must be further fermented to get its typical sour flavor. Cultured buttermilk is fermented with lactic acid bacteria, much like yoghurt, giving it a tart taste.
Buttermilk contains calcium.
Buttermilk is quite popular as a refreshment in India, where it is made into a drink known as lassi. It can also be used to tenderize and flavor meats, or used in baked goods.