And is it going to kill me?
Greek Yogurt
Credit: sasapanchenko/Getty Images

If you’ve ever purchased a large tub of Fage Greek yogurt, you probably know the feeling all too well of prying open the foil seal, dunking your spoon into the yogurt, only to be reminded that there’s a thin, soggy sheet of paper blocking you from a creamy spoonful of yog. I go through Greek yogurt like it’s nobody’s business, yet still, I always experience a mixture of shock and horror when I ram my spoon into the cloudy, white disc of paper. What is it doing there? Can I throw it out once I open my yogurt? Why does it look so GD menacing?

First of all, relax. Yes—it’s freaky looking and highly unappetizing, but it actually serves a purpose. Greek yogurt is a strained product, which means that most of the water is removed before the yogurt is packaged, however there’s no way to avoid that fact that some of this water will still make it into the tub. The purpose of the circular sheet of paper atop the yogurt is simply to absorb any of the excess whey that accumulates in the product.

Should any whey remain in your yogurt, that’s fine. Whey is the liquid that forms after the curdling of milk; in cheese-making, whey is extremely high in protein and a valuable source of nutrients—however in yogurt, it is far more acidic and contains fewer solids than that of milk. Whether you opt to stir it into your yogurt to smooth it out or dump out the excess pool of it on top, there is no right or wrong; this is largely a personal yogurt texture decision.

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As far as whether or not you should keep the sheet of paper in your yogurt as you work through the tub... this is also entirely up to you. By keeping the paper on top of the yogurt, you won’t have to continue skimming off or stirring in the whey that accumulates. However, if the sheet of paper horrifies or annoys you to the point that you want to get rid of it ASAP, this won’t sacrifice the quality of your yogurt. You will simply have to deal with some extra liquid each time you return to your trusted container of Greek yogurt.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane