Patty is into her flush of milk. Even though Patty is feeding two adopted calves, she is producing over 56L of milk and cream a week. It is time to freeze milk for the winter even through it is hard to think about the cold winter months when the summer heat has just started. There are some good reasons to milk seasonally and freeze milk:
- The best milk is from cows on fresh green pasture which is only available for part of the year in Kamloops.
- Unless you have a herd of dairy cows and can stagger pregnancies, having fresh raw milk all year round is almost impossible. Milking cows need to be dried off at some point in their pregnancy. The milking cow will be physically stressed by any third trimester milking. This stress may negatively affect the calf’s health and the cow’s longevity.
- The Milker needs a break from the twice a day labor of milking. Milking in winter, in the dark and cold, isn’t any fun.
Last year, I experimented with freezing milk with and without the cream. Skimmed milk freezes very well and when unfrozen is similar to a commercial 2% milk. Milk with a cream layer has a lumpy texture when unfrozen. Last year, I tried freezing in glass jars to avoid using plastics. This did not go very well. I had some breakages which made me realize that sometimes it is better to use plastics even though I do not consider plastics in contact with food safe.
This year, I will skim off the cream and freeze the milk in 2L rectangle plastic containers. I will pop the frozen milk out of the plastic container, use two layers of plastic bags to protect the milk from off flavors, and date each brick. I will need put away about 110, 2L bricks of milk to make it through Patty’s dry period. This spring, we consumed frozen milk which was about five months old. I could not detect any off flavors, so storing for six months seems possible.
Freezing milk is easy and can save money. My family goes through about 8L of milk and about 1L of cream a week. Of course, I can’t get raw milk from the Industrial Food System but the closest product, organic milk, would cost my family over $2000 a year. My family goes through about two or three pounds of organic butter a week, which costs over $1000 a year. If you are interested in how to make butter please read Making Raw Sweet Butter or Raw Cultured Butter.
Another product we make is ice cream. High quality ice cream is very expensive. During the hot summer months, we make about 1L of ice cream ever day. If you would like to learn some of our favorite ice cream recipes, please read Cream, Cream and More Ice Cream Recipes. Our girls can eat as much of this delicious food as they want. I feel very good about the quality of the ice cream knowing every ingredient that went into the dessert. I know the raw cream is full of healthy fats that will help my girls grow into strong women.