Monday, January 28, 2013

I might just cry over spilled milk....

 Milk is one of the things we miss most. You know, real, creamy, cold whole milk. We can buy milk down here, but it isn't at all the same. Here you buy your milk in the shelf...unrefrigerated. Yes, I said "un"refrigerated.

   They "super-heat" the milk so that it kills the bacteria, and then it can sit in a box on your shelf for up to six months before you drink it. Mmmmmm. Doesn't that just sound so appetizing? :)  After you open the box, you have to refrigerate it and drink it within two days.  Everything dairy is made with this milk. You can taste it in the cheese, ice cream, etc.

This is the way we bought milk for the first several months that we were here. We used it, but somehow milk that has been sitting out on a shelf for a few months doesn't have that great of a flavor, and it's actually slightly gritty in texture - not creamy at all.

We finally discovered that some local dairy farmers were selling milk at the weekly market at the town square.  We were very excited.  It comes in these 2-liter bottles. Did you notice that they all have different caps? That's because those bottles were first used for different brands of soda. Because of the "cleanliness" (?) of the twice-used bottles, and the fact that the milk hasn't been refrigerated before we buy it (and it isn't always from that morning's milking), I pasteurize the milk. It does take extra hassle and work, but it's worth it to be able to have good milk every week.

I use a double-boiler to bring the milk to the correct temperature without scorching it. 

 When it reaches the correct temperature, I dump it into another pan that then gets an ice bath.

 Bringing the temperature of the milk back down quickly is better for the life of the milk, and it seems to help it not to pick up any strange flavors.  I stir the milk as it is cooling to help it cool faster. 

I have to do this for each 2-liter bottle of milk we buy. Here is the milk I get for my work. It's six liters of pasteurized milk that will last us (if we use it carefully) a week. In all, it takes about two hours of non-stop work every week, plus the time that Omar has to bike down to the farmer's market early every Sunday morning to buy it.  A bit of a hassle, but worth it to have good milk!


  1. I've had that boxed milk...when I was in Spain for my internship. The first thing I did when I got home was drink a tall glass of cold REAL milk out of the fridge! I didn't realize how much work was involved...I would cry if it got spilled too!

  2. I hear you:-) Here we get it fresh and clean from a cow we know very well! Considering it is a hour and a half drive time round trip every Saturday morning to get it, I'd cry if I spilled it! It's worth the extra work though....nothing good comes without work:-)

  3. Thanks for posting this, Tracy! I enjoyed reading about this and seeing the pictures ... and I won't complain anymore about constantly mixing up powdered milk. :) Maybe in Heaven God will have a river of fresh, creamy, cold milk for us all. Who knows? At least, there will be a reward for you for most liters of milk pasteurized on the kitchen stove! :) Keep up the hard work and the great posts.



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