When we talk about animal milk, we usually refer to cow milk. However, it can also be goat milk and sheep milk. You can consume milk as it is and even use it as an ingredient in many recipes. It is an essential part of any diet; however, it wouldn’t last long if not appropriately preserved. Two popular ways to preserve milk are refrigerating and canning.
Tips for Refrigerating Milk
- Refrigerating is a fundamental way to preserve milk, and it helps to store the milk as it is. The shelf life of milk depends on whether it is fresh or treated using ultra-high temperature (UHT). Fresh milk must always be kept in a fridge and can last for two weeks when refrigerated.
- UHT milk doesn’t need fridge storage if unopened and can last between 6-9 months. If opened, however, it will have to be in the fridge, and it can last for one month. Some tips that can help you refrigerate milk and keep it fresh are
- If you are buying fresh milk, do so at the end of your grocery shopping. By picking your milk this way, it will have less time getting warm and will less likely grow harmful bacteria.
- Pick the milk that has the furthest “use by” date so that it can last longer for you.
- When you get home, store your milk in the refrigerator at a temperature of about 37°F. When you keep it at a temperature above 40°F, it is likely to grow potentially harmful bacteria.
- A perfect place to store milk is at the back of the fridge, on a shelf in the lower portion. That part is where the coldest temperatures are, which is an ideal spot for milk. Do not store milk on the door of the fridge.
- Don’t stand so long at your fridge with the door open while searching for an item. Open the door long enough to pick or store what you need, then close it behind you. This method helps keep the temperatures stable.
- Don’t leave the milk gallon sitting on your kitchen table or counter while you eat. Pour out what you need for your meal and return the milk to its spot in the fridge. The colder you keep refrigerated milk, the longer it lasts, and the safer it is for your health.
Tips for Canning Milk
If you need to store milk for longer periods and if you probably won’t have electricity, canning milk is an excellent way to preserve it. Canning stores large quantities of milk, which can last as long as two years. It is beneficial if you don’t go to the grocery regularly, or you frequently cook with milk.
Since canning makes use of a pressure canner, many people are skeptical of using it. However, pressure canners work just like other home tools with easily adjustable pressure features. Tips for canning milk include:
- Wash and sterilize the jars containing the milk using hot water, a dishwasher with heat settings, or an oven.
- Just before use, sterilize the canning lid and jar rims in hot water.
- Pressure canners have different setups. When using the pressure canner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to operate it.
- Ensure the pressure gets to 10 lbs before you turn off the heat. This time can take up to an hour.
- When the jars containing milk have cooled down, store them in a cool dark place.
Consuming bad milk can have adverse effects on your health. It is advisable to store and preserve them always. Refrigerating and canning are two common options you can use, and both have their advantages. Whichever method you employ, ensure you do it the right way.