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Can You Freeze Milk?

The thought of freezing milk may not have ever occurred to you. If you start thinking about it, can you freeze milk and really be able to drink it later?

The good news is that pasteurized, homogenized, and organic milk can all be frozen. That includes whole, low-fat, nonfat, and even chocolate milk. However, some changes may occur to the texture, smell, and color of the milk.

You no longer need to throw away milk anymore that is nearing its expiration date! You can buy milk in bulk and save yourself some money as well. Now, let’s take a closer look into the how-to process, but also how freezing affects the texture and color of the product.

 

How Do You Freeze Milk?

The best way to freeze milk is by using an airtight, hard plastic container. You can also use freezer bags and special canning jars as well. Make sure to leave plenty of room for expansion because milk will expand. A suggestion is that for every ½ gallon you freeze, leave one inch of space at the top of the container. This will give room for the expansion of the milk.

Freezer bags and small bottles of frozen milk.

If you have an unopened package of milk, you could of course freeze it as it is, but you probably understand by now that the container can burst. Therefore it is best to open the milk container and pour some of the milk out before freezing it. One gallon milk bottles can also be frozen.

Several one gallon of milk bottles. Freezer is in need of defrost to fit more milk!

Another way to freeze milk is by using ice cube trays. Yes, you can make milk cubes, and in fact also chocolate milk cubes. Use them later for smoothies or other dessert treats. If you do not intend to use the milk cubes within a few days, just freeze them overnight and the next day transfer them to freezer bags. They will keep better that way and also free up space in the freezer.

Milk cubes and chocolate milk cubes.

If you are freezing raw milk, it is best to do so when it is very fresh. There are some health risks associated with raw milk consumption according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but we will go in to that later.

 

How Long Can You Freeze Milk For?

You can freeze milk for a long time. You can easily keep milk in the freezer for 3-6 months, and a bit longer if you use a deep freezer.  Bare in mind that the lipids in the milk break down as time goes. This will affect the taste and color of the milk.

 

Thawing Frozen Milk

  • The best way to thaw frozen milk is to let it sit in the refrigerator and let it thaw slowly. This would take 1 to 3 days depending on the temperature in the refrigerator. Smaller containers are faster to thaw than the one gallon jugs. You should shake the container only after the milk is completely thawed. This is to minimize having cream floating around if you are to drink the milk cold. After defrosting the milk, use it as you would fresh milk. Again, separation may occur so you will have to use it based on your needs. Use the milk within a few days.
  • Another method is to place the milk container in a sink of cold water for several hours. Drain the water, and after one hour refill the sink with more cold water. This method is a bit faster, and most useful when thawing smaller bottles and freezer bags.

 

How Does the Freezing Process Affect Milk?

Now to the important part…how will the actual freezing process affect milk, and what will frozen milk taste like? Well, you can certainly drink milk that has been frozen and then thawed; however, you may not enjoy the texture if you are just drinking it cold. The consistency may be less than ideal for drinking, but it is a matter of preference. The color may also come out a little bit more yellowish.

Freezing whole milk seems to have the greatest texture issue as there is a higher fat content, and the fat will separate from the fluid. The milk may also taste slightly different, so you might prefer a lower fat version if you intend to drink a nice glass of milk. However, if you use the milk for baking or cooking, the texture and taste won’t be an issue.

If you just use plain frozen milk without going through the thawing process, it will work well for thicken up soups and stews. Also, if you have milk in ice cubes, they are definitely great to use in smoothies without affecting the texture and taste.

Breaking apart the plastic from a one gallon jug of frozen milk.

 

A Note About Raw Milk

If you are thinking about adding raw milk to your diet or have been drinking raw milk, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States wants you to understand the risks that are associated with it. Raw milk can harbor harmful bacteria and other germs that can cause serious illness and even death.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, raw or unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products.

 

Milk and Health

Milk products and some foods made from milk are considered part of the dairy food group. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that, for health purposes, most choices should be of the low or non-fat variety. Children should have 2-3 servings of dairy daily (depending on age) and adults should have 3 servings of dairy daily. A serving size is the equivalent of 1 cup of milk or ½ cup of evaporated milk.

Milk is a good source of calcium used for growing bones and teeth. It also has potassium, which helps maintain blood pressure.

 

FAQs

– Can you freeze milk in carton containers?

The milk will expand when you freeze it, which may cause the carton to burst. But there are people that have successfully frozen unopened milk cartons many times.

– How do I freeze an unopened gallon of milk jug?

If you freeze a whole jug, the milk will expand and cause the lid to open during the freezing process. The best way is to pour out some of the milk and leave about 2 inches of space at the top. This will keep the lid in place.

– Is it ok to freeze milk in regular glass containers?

Not any glass container may be suitable for that, but a solid glass jar will work fine. The key is not to overfill it. Always leave about an inch of space for every ½ gallon that you freeze, or the glass will probably crack. For the thawing process, put it in the fridge and not in a sink with water because you will run the risk of cracking the glass.

Can you freeze goat milk?

Yes, you can definitely freeze goat’s milk the same way you would with regular cow’s milk.