WTF is Skyr?

christina canters skyr kips and kale

Ok, it’s not Wednesday, but I still want to do a WTF for you 🙂

One thing I love about travelling is experiencing the local cuisine. But as I try to stay healthy as much as I can, I like to hit the local supermarkets to buy lots of lovely fresh ingredients to cook with.

In Iceland, however, ‘lovely and fresh’ is something they don’t do so well.

Being a remote island with extremely rough weather, basically nothing grows here. So pretty much everything except for bread, meat, fish and dairy products are imported.  I found fresh spinach for about $7 a bag, more than double what you’d pay in Australia. Squishy, overripe avocados are $4 each, and a small bag of bruised carrots is $4. Ouch. Looks like daily green smoothies are out this week.

So I’ve decided to cook frozen spinach and dose up on chia seeds for my nutrients, and just enjoy the local delicacies while I’m here. So far, I’ve had flatkökur (traditional flat bread), lifrarkæfa (pork liver pate) and hangiálegg (lamb that’s been smoked over horse shit – seriously). But my favourite by far has been skyr.

WTF is Skyr?

Skyr is like a thick, smooth yoghurt. It’s made with pasteurised skim milk, then has all the whey strained out of it to make it super thick and creamy. The plain versions are already naturally a bit sweet and much less tart than normal natural yoghurt. Yum!

It’s very low in fat, contains lots of calcium and is super high in protein. The brand I bought has 13.3g protein per 100g, which dominates regular yoghurt (around 3.5g per 100g). And at about $3 a tub, it’s the cheapest protein source around. Perfect for my budget travels!

How do I eat it?

According to Wikipedia, it is traditionally served “cold with milk and a topping of sugar”, which I find a bit odd, but then again, odd is pretty standard in Iceland!

I’ve been using it like yoghurt in bircher-style muesli with oats, banana, coconut flakes and chia seeds. I also put a dollop of it on cooked porridge. Yum!

Due to its thick consistency, I reckon it would be amazing in tzatziki dip, on grilled lamb and in smoothies. You could probably also make chia pudding with it. Hmm, maybe I should do some dessert experimentation while I can…

Ok, where the fork do I find it?

You don’t have to be in Iceland to eat skyr. You can also find it in Norway, Sweden and Finland! And if that’s STILL too far, check your local Whole Foods store. New Yorkers, apparently they also stock it at the Food Emporium.

Aussie peeps, I can’t really help you here. Maybe there’s a random Scandinavian food store somewhere? Try Ikea! Anyway, I say you’ve still got a better chance of finding it than shit-smoked lamb.

christina canters kips and kale skyr
A brand of skyr I’ve seen in Whole Foods – they just don’t label it so!