One of the first questions our new CSA members usually ask is “how long does raw milk last?” Usually we will tap our belly and say “not long!” All jokes aside Raw Milk truly never goes bad it just changes! The freshest flavor maintains for usually 7-10 days, sometimes long. After that Raw Milk begins to sour, this is different than pasturized milk that spoils. Sour milk is simply milk that has had more of the sugar digested or fermented. Sour milk is amazing to use in baking, cooking or even cheese making. When milk completes its sour transformation it actually turns into clabber which similar to cheese separates milk solids and whey. Its really incredible!
If you are looking to keep your milk tasting fresh longer there are a few things you can consider:
1. Location in the fridge
Cold air is heavier than warm air and falls downward. This means that the coldest spot to store your milk is on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator in the back. Do you know where the worst place is? The door! The door of the fridge can be ten degrees warmer than the coldest place.
Depending on how fast you and your kids go through milk, keeping it on the door may be just fine (and it’s really convenient). But if you’re having issues keeping it fresh between pickups, try taking the freshest bottles of milk and storing them on that bottom shelf in the back of your refrigerator. That will go a long way in preserving freshness for weeks.
2. Keep the lids tight
I’ve had a few people tell me how they get the milk to last for long time by simply not opening it until they’re ready to use it up within a few days. Why is this? Souring takes place when milk sugar is digested by the enzymes and good bacteria in the raw milk. The more air that is exposed to the milk, the more rapidly the action of breaking down the sugar takes place — causing souring and changes to the milk.
If you keep the lid on tight and don’t open it up, the lower air exposure will help keep the milk fresher longer.
3. Don’t swap containers
As much as you’d like to get a better pouring spout than those half gallon mason jars, we recommend not swapping out the bottles for your own containers. The reason is that we clean and sanitize our bottles between uses, making the original glass bottle the best container in which to store the milk. If you transfer the milk to your own container without making sure it’s properly cleaned and sanitized, you may experience off flavors and souring sooner.
Have any ideas or tricks you find helpful? Feel free to drop a comment here on the blog!