Did you know there is milk that you can buy at the grocery store and safely keep in your pantry for six – nine months before drinking it? It is called shelf-stable milk, and if you haven’t yet discovered all of the uses for this handy milk, I am about to blow your mind.
Why use shelf stable milk?
There are many uses for shelf-stable milk, but the number one reason I keep it on hand at all times is for when we run out of milk. My girls have to have their milk, and running out of milk is unacceptable. By keeping shelf-stable milk on hand, I always have milk on hand. (Tip even though it can be stored in the pantry, I keep some in my fridge so it is always cold.)
Another way we use shelf-stable milk is for travel. Since there is no worry about it spoiling, we bring it with us on road trips and chill it in a bucket of ice. Another suggestion I learned recently is to freeze it the night before, by the time you are ready it will thaw to a ice-cold glass of milk. Perfect for travel, theme parks and even lunch boxes.
One more important use – in case of a true emergency. Shelf-stable milk is an important addition to emergency supplies. in the case of a power outage, you can still serve milk.
6 Things You Should Know About Shelf-Stable Milk
It tastes good – My family has been drinking shelf-stable milk for years. In fact, my mom used to keep it on hand when I was a kid. But back in the ’80s and ’90s shelf-stable milk had a very distinctive flavor (one I didn’t care for). These days the process for creating shelf-stable milk has greatly improved and it tastes just like the “real” stuff. (My girls never know when I serve shelf-stable milk.)
How it’s possible – Shelf safe milk has been pasteurized at an Ultra High Temperature (275-284°) for three seconds and is then cooled to preserve taste and nutrition. Next it is packaged in a special sterile, multi-layer, opaque Tetra Pak shelf-safe carton that keeps out light, air and harmful contaminants.
No preservatives – There are no preservatives in shelf safe milk! The UHT heat process kills all bacteria. Nothing else is added to shelf-safe milk.
Organic – Just like traditional milk, shelf-stable milk can be purchased as organic or non organic and even chocolate. Almond and soy shelf-stable milk are also available. (FYI – our favorite shelf-stable milk is Organic Valley.)
Recyclable packaging – The special Tera PAC containers are 70% paper and are recyclable through many curbside recycling programs. To find out if cartons are recycled in your community, visit www.recyclecartons.com. (Yeay, my area recently started accepting cartons in our recycling!)
Chill it, warm it, chill it again – I’ve often wondered if shelf-stable milk was safe to put back in the fridge if I took it out of the fridge, it warmed to room temperature and we didn’t drink it. (I used to throw it out if that happened.) I was excited to learn recently that as long as it is not exposed to extreme temperatures (i.e. left in a hot car) or opened, it is safe to re-chill and drink later. Which makes it even better for travel!
Where can you get it? Now that you know all about shelf-stable milk, I bet you want to try some for your family, right? You will find it in most grocery stores – usually sold on the shelf not in the refrigerator case. Some restaurants are now serving it with kids meals too. Chipotle for example serves Organic Valley with its kids meals. (Because my girls like water with dinner, I always take the milk home to keep on hand for later.)
There are many benefits to shelf-stable milk. It is a bit more pricy than regular milk, so it doesn’t replace traditional milk in my house, but it is handy to have around so there is always some in my house.
For more ideas about how to incorporated shelf-stable milk into your life (and more information about the process) visit MilkUnleashed.com. You can also find MilkUnleashed on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. (Psst look for upcoming contests from MilkUnleased on Facebook.)