How to Can Milk and Make Pudding From Canned Milk

Making cheese and yogurt isn't the only method of putting up your surplus dairy products. Use a pressure canner to can milk.


| May/June 1984



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Includes a caramel pudding recipe for home-canned milk. 


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

If you loathe having to fork over hard-earned cash for store-bought milk every time your dairy animals enter a dry spell, you'll be glad to know that the solution to that problem is as handy as your regular canning equipment. You see, you can store the fluid protein produced by your cow, goat, or ewe for pennies a quart . . . and then keep the sealed jars on hand for six months or more.

Why and How to Can Milk

You might wonder why anyone would want to bother canning milk when the dairy liquid is available fresh at the grocer's any day of the week. After all, it's a well-known fact that home canning isn't the easiest of chores. Then again, perhaps it seems to you that excess milk could be put to better use as versatile yogurt and cheese.

However, if you intend to drink milk provided by your own animals when they have no fresh available, you'll just about have to can some of that spring surplus. Drying the dairy product is next to impossible . . . while either cheese or yogurt would make a lousy cup of cocoa. And although freezing is a fine way to put up homogenized milk, this procedure is less satisfactory for untreated cow's milk. When thawed, the "raw" product separates into watery liquid and flakes of milk fat. The homogenized nature of ewe's and goat's milk does make them more suited to freezing, but the amount of space you'll want to allot to frozen dairy surplus is likely to be limited.

Processing

The method I use to put up milk is the same process that my grandmother employed . . . except that she used cow's rather than goat's milk. If you want to try this procedure, begin by sterilizing all the milking equipment by rinsing it in boiling water. (And wipe the animal's udder clean with a warm, damp cloth to prevent contaminants from falling into the milk pail.) Once the perishable commodity is safely bucketed, strain it through several layers of sterile, thickly woven, soft cotton cloth (or a sieve made especially for the task) and into a clean enamel, stainless steel, or glass container. Then cover the vessel with a clean, porous towel so that the milk will "breathe" yet remain dust-free while it cools. 

At this time, check your canning jars for nicks or cracks . . . wash the containers in hot, soapy water . . . and submerge the rinsed jars in clean, hot water until you're ready to fill them with milk. You'll also need to boil the canning lids and rings in a pan of water for a few moments, then let them bathe, removed from the heat, in the sterile liquid.

Now, fill the jars, leaving 1/2" of headspace at the top of each container. (Because I like to be sure that no uninvited particles have a chance to stumble into the milk, I filter the harvest a second time during this step.) After wiping the rims with a clean, damp cloth, cap the jars with the sterilized lids and rings. When that's done, gently set the flasks on the rack of your pressure canner, add the appropriate amount of water (check the instructions that came with your cooker), and place the whole shebang over the hottest part of the stove.

robyn dolan
11/16/2011 6:52:24 PM

Just posted a link to this on my page. http://www.facebook.com/mrsdshomestead?sk=wall FYI, have been canning milk this way for years and no illness yet.


kristi
8/4/2011 11:04:16 AM

There is no danger in providing for yourself and your family. The only danger is not knowing how when there isn't stores to buy from. Then it will be to late.......What will the USDA or goverment do for you then NOTHING!!!!!!! Stick to the instruction and you will be fine. My grandma raised 7 children and I am raising 4 by canning our own food. We are all healthier than the average person.


gen
7/31/2011 3:28:45 AM

This is nothing but death in a jar. Whatever savings you have calculated will be spent on your or your family member's stay in ICU--may be short if they don't make it. Then there would be the cost of a funeral to factor into your economy! Milk is very high risk for botulism. You cannot duplicate commercial safety/methods in canning milk.


laurie_27
9/3/2010 1:58:58 PM

The USDA doesn't give a rip about the people. If they did they would NOT allow genetically modified crap that they label as acceptable for human consumption. I will take my chance with my own grown food, processed myself than by those recommended by the USDA. How many times do you hear about food recalls from food the USDA recommends? Nope, I will take my chances thank you.


ross_3
1/22/2010 11:28:58 AM

The usda recominds that we don't smoke but we do the usda recominds that we don't consume more than a small amount of salt,sugar,coffee,eggs,bacon,red meat, etc,etc, but we do..............


amber_12
9/10/2009 12:11:11 PM

For everyone who spouts USDA guidelines against canning some traditional foods...It is not to these agencies benefit to have a self sufficient populous, so of course they are going to recommend it is not safe!


amanda_17
8/6/2009 3:30:35 PM

While it is true that you can get botulism from canning milk (as well as most veggies and all meat) You can also get botulism from the grocery store! As long as you are carefully following the instructions, using a preasure canner (not a preasure cooker) and keep the preasure at the correct number of pounds for the correct time - you will kill the bacteria causing botulism and will have canned and conserved food for your family that will be delicious AND perfectly safe to eat, or drink. Most canners recommend that you consume your canned foods before 1 year after the date you canned them.


dave_52
6/10/2009 9:38:38 PM

I hope all do realize that this article was published back in 1984 and that many home preservation guidelines have changed since then as a result of testing. Home canning of milk and other dairy products is considered a very high risk for botulism and is strongly recommended against by both NCHFP and the USDA.


bo_n_tulsa
1/31/2009 3:08:52 PM

Wow. I was 11 when this article was written. Who'd of thought I'd be using this article this weekend to can my own backup supply of milk?






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