Milk, Milk and More Milk

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:

  1. The best milk is from cows on fresh green pasture which is only available for part of the year in Kamloops.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

5 thoughts on “Milk, Milk and More Milk

  1. As usual, your post is very educational and I appreciate you describing the experiment with freezing (cream or skim, and flavor of 5-month frozen). I love ice cream made from raw cream, too!

  2. Sally Fallon of the Weston A Price Foundation does not approve of raw skim milk. She recommends raw milk producers to not sell skim milk:
    This is a fervent PLEA to all raw milk producers NOT to sell skim milk. Many of the important anti-microbial factors are in the cream; plus, people on low fat diets using skim milk are much more likely to get sick anyway, and that sickness could easily be blamed on the milk. I know for a fact that some of the most publicized cases of sickness attributed to raw milk during the last few years were in people drinking skim milk. Please, please do not sell skim milk. This will hopefully weed out the customers who are prone to getting sick.
    I asked her if it was safe for my family to skim milk if we were also consuming the cream. She said:
    This is fine for your family members, who are also eating butterfat, ice cream, etc. But I would not recommend selling skimmed milk–because people asking for this are going to be on low fat diets and have have poor immune systems; plus low fat milk is more likely to make people sick.

    So, it is always best to consume raw milk with the cream on top from cows on fresh pasture. If this is not possible in your area all year round and you need to freeze milk for the winter to have a raw milk supply, make sure your family is getting the butterfat as ice cream or butter. People on low fat diets have weak immune systems. I can say from personal experience this was true for me.

  3. Mary Anna is an experienced milker. She has different ideas about how long to milk into pregnancy. She has some good reasons to milk late into the lactation cycle:
    In your writing about cow share, you considered not milking when there is no grass. While the cow needs at least 2 months dry before freshening again – I have always milked 10+- months. My favorite timing has been to have the cow freshen in mid March (I’ve always had a barn). Being still on hay feed, she is less likely to engorge as badly or over produce during that first month. I found – when on grass, there is a tendency to make all the milk she can because I was stripping her out – unlike with a calf who quits drinking when it is full. Then she is on grass for all the grass season and milks wonderful milk. Cows tend to make more cream towards the latter part of their lactation AND while the milk production sometimes drops a bit when going onto hay feed only – the cream production is great for butter and cream for Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking and baking. Right after Christmas I would dry my cow off and we would take a break through the darkest and nastiest time of the year and then in March the miracle of birth would bring on an early spring for me.

  4. I have had a number of emails about if I sell my extra raw milk. I am sorry, but I do not. If you are looking for raw milk you have a number of options:
    1. Consider getting your own cow or goat. Your zoning on your property would need to allow livestock.
    2. Presently, there is no herd-share program in the Kamloops area. You would have to be willing to cover the cost of driving to the nearest herd-share to pick-up the milk or the cost of shipping on the bus.
    3. As I have said before, real food is better than supplements, but does sell Green Pastures Butter Oil if you cannot get a source of raw milk.

    If all of these options are not palatable, try to find the best milk in your area. In our area, Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm makes an organic grass-fed non-homogenized pasteurized milk. The milk comes in a glass container. It would be best to ferment the milk and make your own yogurt if possible. If you find fermented pasteurized milk causes problems many people can tolerate pasteurized cream. Gort’s Gouda makes a wonderful heavy cream. Gort’s Gouda has wonderful raw gouda which you can purchase in bulk at their farm or they will ship by mail.

  5. Pingback: Looking for Another Cow

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