Going away for a few days, but still have milk in your fridge? Not to worry: If you want to avoid wasting it, you can always freeze it. Here’s what you should look out for when freezing milk.
Purchasing Milk: Buy Organic & Local
Before you find out how to freeze milk, please take a moment to consider: Especially in times of industrial farming, there are some valid arguments against drinking cow’s milk: Highly processed milk can be unhealthy and animals often suffer during milk production. In addition, meat and dairy products have a huge impact on our carbon footprint.
If you do choose to consume milk, you should keep a few things in mind when buying it:
- Organic: buy only organic milk, because the animals are kept in a more appropriate manner and are not fed genetically modified feed.
- Fresh milk: it goes without saying, the fresher the better, even when it comes to freezing milk!
- Regional milk: depending on where you live, you can buy milk directly from farmers in your region – where you can see for yourself how the animals are being treated.
Tip: Consider plant-based milk alternatives like organic oat milk or soy milk – they’re tasty, versatile and more sustainable than cow’s milk.
How to Freeze Milk: Step by Step Guide
If you want to freeze milk, especially for the young ones in your life, there are a few things to consider. This is the best way to proceed:
- Choose a suitable container to freeze the milk. Depending on the container it comes in, you may be able to freeze it as is. Thick-walled glass containers are the most sustainable option, but because milk expands during freezing, the bottle can shatter under pressure.
- Because milk expands when freezing, don’t fill the container to the brim, especially when using solid containers made of glass or hard plastic. Instead, leave at least one fifth of the container empty as a precaution.
- Label the container with the current date so you can track when you froze it and when it should be used by. Milk will keep for about three months in the freezer.
- Place the container in the freezer. Glass containers should be placed in the freezer without the lid until the milk is fully frozen to ensure the container doesn’t burst.
- Alternatively, you can also freeze your milk in smaller portions using an ice cube tray. To do this, simply fill the ice cube tray about 3/4 of the way full. You can then thaw the frozen milk as needed – like for smoothies or for baking. Ice cubes also thaw faster than a large block.
Defrosting and Using Frozen Milk
Now that you know how to freeze milk, it’s important to also learn how to defrost it safely. You should never thaw frozen milk with heat of any source – not with hot water or even in the microwave. Otherwise, the components of the milk will not recombine properly and your milk will become lumpy.
Instead, there are two methods of safely defrosting milk:
- Fridge Method: placing the frozen milk into the fridge slowly thaws it. This can take longer than a day, depending on the amount.
- Cold Water Method: Put the container with the frozen milk into a cold water bath. This takes a few hours up to half a day to thaw.
Important: After thawing, you should shake the milk thoroughly so that the individual components combine well.
You can then use the milk as usual. It’s best suited for baking and cooking, but can be okay for drinking in child-sized portions. We recommend adding the still very cold or slightly frozen milk to smoothies – this makes for an extra refreshing summer treat for kids!
Shelf life: Frozen milk can be kept for up to three months. It will likely remain consumable beyond that time but may lose some flavor. After thawing, you should consume the milk within a maximum of five days (less if you froze it close to its expiration date).
This article has been translated from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can find the original here: Milch einfrieren: So verschwendest du keinen Tropfen mehr** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.
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