Freeze drying milk is easy and effortless! I'm going to walk you through how to freeze dry milk, how to store freeze dried milk, and simple ways to use freeze dried milk in recipes! Keep reading, friend!
Do you buy your milk from the store or milk your own goat or cow? Do you ever have milk that is about to expire and you aren't sure how to use it up? Well, did you know it is possible to preserve your milk? Let's talk about preserving milk!
- Why this recipe works
- How to preserve milk by freezing
- Preserving milk by cheesemaking
- Is canning milk safe? (no!!!)
- Freeze drying milk
- Ingredients for freeze drying milk
- How to freeze dry milk: The freeze drying process
- Helpful Equipment
- Tips and Troubleshooting
- Serving Suggestions
- How to store freeze dried milk
- How to use freeze dried milk
- How to reconstitute freeze dried milk
- Top tip
- More posts about preserving food
- Latest posts!
Why this recipe works
As a person who loves to preserve food, our home freeze dryer has been a game changer. I wasn't sure if I would love the freeze dryer, but I quickly fell in love with it! Freeze dried foods have become a stable in my food storage!
Having a Harvest Right Freeze dryer has also made it possible to make homemade MREs- Meals Ready to Eat! And no, they aren't just for an apocalypse. My husband is an avid hunter, and when he is going out in the woods for a long day of hunting and even staying overnight in an off-grid situation, I can send him with a mylar bag that has a ready to eat meal in it.
The food is ultra lightweight and when you're carrying your campsite on your back, every gram matters. All he would have to do is heat water up over a fire or wood stove and add it to the pouch of freeze dried foods.
Freeze dried snacks have also become a staple in our house! We love the convenience of being able to grab a bag of freeze dried strawberries or avocados and munch on them!
How to preserve milk by freezing
Let's start with the most common method: freezing. When you freeze your milk, the fat globules in the milk separate during the freezing process, causing some of the milk to have a yellow color. Milk that is frozen will only hold nutritional value for 9 months at most and can take up so much freezer space.
The other downfall of frozen milk is that once it is thawed, it NEVER taste the same. You will almost always have to use your frozen milk for cooking or baking instead of drinking.
I like to use the freezing method with colostrum after our cows give birth, small bags of breast milk, and occasionally half gallons of milk if I have enough room.
Preserving milk by cheesemaking
Converting milk into cheese is an excellent way to preserve milk, but the main disadvantage of this method is that you no longer have milk! Hard cheddar is great, but it isn't going to help if you want to drink a glass of milk.
Is canning milk safe? (no!!!)
A common question I get asked is whether or not milk can be preserved by canning. I have done tons of research to see if pressure canning or water bath canning cow milk is safe or recommended.
Is Canning Milk Safe? According to the USDA or National Center for Food Preservation, there is no safe way to can milk that will result in a product that still tastes palatable. The main reason for this is that when milk is properly processed at home, it must be processed at 10 to 15 pounds pressure for 15 to 20 minutes. It would taste disgusting and the color would turn brown.
Believe me, as someone who has a dairy cow and lots of daily milk, I would love to can milk or butter if it was safe. The evidence just isn't there yet and I'm not going to do it.
If you want to try it anyway, go online you will find old depression-era cookbooks and rebel canning facebook groups that share methods for canning dairy. But you won't find me using or teaching about it.
Here's an excerpt from NC State regarding canning dairy:
"Milk, as well as other dairy products, are not recommended for home canning because they are low acid, the fat they contain can insulate and protect spores from a foodborne illness-causing bacteria associated with home canning – Clostridium botulinum -from destruction during processing. When C. botulinum spores become vegetative, cells they can grow produce the deadly toxin that causes botulism poisoning. Canning dairy products themselves or adding them to other canned foods (such as when making soup) is not recommended."
Read more at: https://foodsafety.ces.ncsu.edu/2020/09/saving-milk/
Freeze drying milk
So, after all my research, I came across freeze dried milk. Did you know that when you buy powdered milk in the store, it is actually freeze-dried milk powder? Freeze drying milk is a great way to store your milk for long term storage and seems to be the best solution I've found.
Freeze-dried foods is an exceptionally good addition to your long-term storage emergency food supply!
More freeze drying tutorials
If you don't have excess milk, but want to try to freeze dry other foods, you can check out some of my other freeze drying tutorials, such as how to preserve food with a freeze dryer, how to freeze dry eggs, freeze dried carrots, how to freeze dry tomatoes, how to freeze dry grilled chicken, freeze dried ice cream sandwiches, freeze dried avocados (coming very soon!), or freeze dried strawberries.
Ingredients for freeze drying milk
- The only ingredient needed to freeze dry milk is fresh milk. It doesn't have to be mixed with anything and the freeze-drying process is so easy!
- You can use any type of milk including whole milk, non-fat milk, fresh breast milk. raw milk, store-bought milk, or frozen breast milk. Yes, you read it right! You can even freeze dry breast milk! The benefits of freeze drying breast milk is that it will make process of preparing it for the baby quicker and the nutritional value last long!
- You will need one gallon of milk for a medium sized Harvest Right freeze dryer, or 1 quart per freeze dryer Harvest Right tray.
How to freeze dry milk: The freeze drying process
Evenly distribute one gallon of milk throughout the freeze-dryer trays. In my freeze dryer, each tray holds 1 quart of liquid perfectly.
If you can pre-freeze the trays, it's highly recommended. I don't have the space, so I pour the milk into the trays while the trays are in the freeze dryer. Close the door and the drain valve and press start. Follow the prompts.
I always check mine after 24 hours or whenever the machine suggests it might be done, and it usually needs more time added.
It will generally take between 24 - 36 hours for the milk to a finished product of completely dry milk. The freeze dryer will sense when it is done and you can open the door and confirm.
Transfer the milk into storage containers such as mylar bags, mason jars or other air tight containers.
Hint: Use a silicon dough scraper to easily break up the milk and transfer it to the storage container.
I used a Harvest Right Medium-Sized Freeze Dryer for all of my freeze drying. You will need mason jars or mylar bags and a the appropriate sized oxygen absorber for storage.
Tips and Troubleshooting
You will want to be careful not to over-dry the milk in the freeze dryer, as this could lead to a change in taste. I would recommend checking the settings for you specific freeze dryer to see what they recommend for freeze-drying milk.
Do not forget that the thickness of the milk in your trays can definitely affect the length of time the milk is in the freeze dryer. The freeze drying process of milk is complete when the milk is 100% dry and crumbles into a powder consistency when smushed.
It is very important to have patience when freeze drying milk. Milk is has a high water content, so freeze drying milk will take time and the process can not be rushed. . If you do, your milk might not be 100% dry, which can lead to mold and an altered taste when stored.
Reconstituting freeze dried milk is sooo easy! All you have to do is mix together 1 part freeze dried milk powder and 4 parts water. This combination will give you the outcome of 2% milk.
There us indeed no secret way to using freeze dried milk. You can use freeze dried milk in many recipes. Homemade dressings, homemade cream of mushroom or chicken soups, breads or sausages are my favorites. Or simply reconstituted and added to your cereal, baked goods, or any other dish that calls for milk.
How to store freeze dried milk
Freeze dried milk is usually made to be stored for long periods of time. You will need to double check that the milk is 100% done freeze drying. Package the milk into a mylar bag or a mason quart jar. Add an oxygen absorber that is sized appropriately for the size bag or mason jar you are using.
How to use freeze dried milk
My favorite way of all time to use freeze dried milk is in homemade bread or summer sausage. When you use it as a binder or conditioner, it adds a lovely texture to your food without compromising the moisture content.
How to reconstitute freeze dried milk
Freeze dried milk can be reconstituted by adding equal parts water. I actually store my milk in mylar bags that are equal to one quart of milk. Add one quart of water to the milk powder and stir until it dissolves.
You do not have to, but you can freeze you milk prior to freeze drying it. This will make for a more uniform freeze dry being the ice crystals in the milk are smaller and more uniform in size when it pre-frozen prior to freeze drying. You can pre-freeze the milk on the freeze-dying tray or in ice cube tray.
Absolutely! Freeze-drying breast milk is the perfect way to store milk. I didn't have a freeze dryer during those years, but I did recently freeze dry colostrum when our dairy cow gave birth. It has a very long shelf life and can be reconstituted by simply adding water when and if we ever need it. Freeze drying maintains almost all of the properties of dairy products.
All freeze dried milk, including that of liquid gold human milk, will retain around 95% of its nutritional content. With this being said, why not keep your milk bank in with your food storage instead of taking up your deep freezer space?
There is little to no texture or taste difference in the milk once it is freeze-dried. It is reconstituted to its original form.
Did you know that freeze-dry milk can last and hold its nutritional value for 20-25 years?! This is a huge game changer for everyone, especially moms who are producing a lot of extra breast milk and want to donate their milk to those are in need.
More posts about preserving food
These are more easy ways to preserve food: