15 July 2013

Things Are Seldom What They Seem / Skim Milk Masquerades as Cream


Shelf safe milk is real Grade A milk that doesn’t require refrigeration until it’s opened (no preservatives added). Single-serving cartons can be stored in the pantry for up to six months without refrigeration. It’s a convenient and healthy way to get the nutrition from calcium-rich milk on car trips, while camping, at the park…even at the beach. Freeze a few cartons the night before and toss into a sports bag, picnic basket or cooler, and it will be the right temperature when you’re ready to enjoy it. If your family doesn’t drink it all during the trip…just take it home and put it back in the pantry.

Um, yeah. That's a direct quote from an email I got from "Milk Unleashed" - the marketing arm of the shelf stable milk packaging conglomerate.

First of all, have you ever frozen milk? My mother used to do that, in her singularly frugal way. The milk, when defrosted, is gross. It separates, it develops grainy clumpiness, it's not something you want to drink, ever. Maybe you could put it in a cake. Maybe.

Second, I am mystified by the idea that the milk packagers are suggesting that the shelf stable boxes be frozen for enjoyment at picnics, because even Horizon, a company that packs milk in aseptic packages, says:

Freezing is not recommended for fluid milk, half-and-half or cream. Although freezing is unlikely to alter milk’s nutrition, it will change its consistency. Milk that has been frozen and thawed in the refrigerator can be used in baking and cooking.

And if you shouldn't freeze it in the first place, do you really want to return the unused but now-defrosted milk to your cupboard to save for the next picnic?

The one hand is not speaking to the other hand.

In our house, we have a thoroughly first-world milk problem. We've had a milk delivery service for some years. Every week, we get butter and eggs and four half gallon glass bottles of 2% milk, deposited in an insulated box at the bottom of the driveway. As a result, the child who lives in our house has become a milk snob. If we run out and have to get supermarket milk in a plastic bottle or cardboard box? She won't drink it. She won't drink the milk at school, because it comes in a cardboard container. Glass bottles for my princess, or no milk at all.

So, Tetra Pak? You were barking up the wrong tree.


canape said...

I was raised on powdered milk. Glass bottles for me too now. Nothing else.

Anonymous said...

I was raised on glass bottle milk. Just found some of the old pour spouts when I was going through my parents house.

But, I confess. While I've never frozen it, those small boxes of milk were really useful with small child. Great to put in a cooler for car trips or even hotel stays (beats the $5+tax glass of milk from room service at bedtime).

And then there's me, the skim milk for coffee snob. Skim milk isn't always available (like in hotel rooms that try to pass off powdered creamer, blech) and those little boxes were great for a decent cup of coffee.

Lastly, for my parents in their final days of living alone we had to have some in the cupboard for when they ran out (or what was in the fridge went bad) and they had no way to get to the grocery.

Small boxes aren't that bad. ButI wouldn't freeze them and refreeze them.

Nadine said...

Well now, what did I do wrong. I typed in my name but my comment above came up as anonymous!

S said...

Hmm. We prefer glass bottles, too.

Bibliomama said...

Milk. Delivered. In glass. Bottles. How unutterably quaint!

The milk unleashed thing really freaked me out too. One of those 'just because you can do it doesn't mean you should' things.

Jocelyn said...

We were glass bottle delivery people for years, too, until we realized our milk was going off before we drank it--since no one in our family drinks milk. I put it in coffee, and we use it for baking. That's about it.

So now we have a small plastic container in the fridge for those things, supplemented every couple weeks with a huge gallon of whole milk, just waiting for Byron to use it when he makes yogurt.

We do have friends about an hour and a half up the Shore who freeze their milk simply because they come into town every few months and do their shopping, so they're all about preservation.