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Got Milk?

So many types of MILK!  Buying milk does not have to be difficult.  Here, I’ll simplify the choices by covering the different terms applied to dairy, and the health benefits of each.

Pasteurized:  Milk is heated just below boiling point and then quickly cooled to destroy bacteria, which extends shelf life. 

Ultra-Pasteurized:  Over time the microorganisms became resistant to pasteurization and human bodies less resistant to the microorganisms. So, the dairies began to process milk at higher temperatures, longer, and called this new process ultra-pasteurization.  Ultra-pasteurization will keep milk from going bad for four weeks, sometimes more.

Homogenized:  contains fat that is forced under pressure through very small openings.  This breaks up the fat globules into very small particles that remain suspended in the liquid and don’t clump together on the surface of the milk. 

Organic:  Cows have been raised in organic pastures with NO genetically modified food and have not been given ANY bovine growth hormone (BGH) to increase milk production and are only given antibiotics if get sick (at which point their milk is not used during the antibiotic cycle).  

Skim:  The milk is left so that the fat can rise to the top and then it is “skimmed” so the fat can be used in other products like butter.   Skim milk generally has less than .5% fat.  Based on a 1 cup serving size contains 83 calories, 0.2g (grams) fat (0.1g saturated). 

1% – 2 % or “Semi-Skimmed”:  Currently the best selling variety of milk (Wikipedia, 2012).  Like skimmed all the fat is removed but then 1% or 2% is re-added back into the milk.

1 percent (low-fat) milk: Based on a 1 cup serving size contains 102 calories, 2.4g fat (1.5g saturated).

2 percent (reduced-fat) milk: Based on a 1 cup serving size contains 122 calories, 4.8g fat (3g saturated).

Whole Milk:  Has whole fat about 3.7% – none of the fat is removed.  Based on 1 cup serving size contains 146 calories, 8g fat (4.5g saturated).

Heavy cream: Heavy cream, also called heavy whipping cream, is whipping cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent. Whipping cream will double in volume when whipped.   Based on a 1 cup serving size contains 821 calories, 88g fat (55g saturated).

Heavy cream is not the same as the British double cream. Double cream has

48% butterfat, 8% higher than the highest-fat cream available in the United States.

Half-and-half:  A mixture of half milk and half cream. It has 10-12% milk fat and cannot be whipped.  Based on a 1 cup serving size 315 calories, 28g fat (17g saturated).

Substitutions: Equal parts milk and cream
1 cup half and half = 1 cup less 2 tablespoons milk + 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Sunflower Milk and Rice Milk:  Cow milk alternatives made from the specified product.

Buttermilk:  Buttermilk is not butter, but is the slightly sour liquid left over from the butter making process. (McGee, 1984, p. 19) Most buttermilk contains bits of milk fat (or curds) and is slightly thicker than milk but not as heavy as cream.

The process of making processed, or cultured, buttermilk is similar to that of yogurt. Lactobacillus is added to whole milk and allowed to ferment for 12 to 14 hours at low temperature. Salt and butter flecks may be added to the final product for flavor and texture. (Pp. 34 – 35).

Ingredients to make buttermilk at home:
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice

Pour milk into a 1-cup measuring cup
Add 1 tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice
Let the mixture stand for five minutes
Use in the recipe of your choice.


How to Buy Milk:

Examine the packaging: Look for milk in opaque containers; milk in clear containers can lose significant amounts of vitamin A and riboflavin through exposure to light.

Buy the freshest: Choose the container with the latest sell-by date from the coldest part of the refrigerator case. (This may necessitate reaching to the back of the case.)

Keep it that way: Keep milk cold on the way home, preferably in an insulated bag. For each 18-degree increase in temperature, the spoilage rate of milk doubles.  If stored properly, milk will keep up to five days beyond the sell-by date.

Don’t freeze it: Freezing is not recommended, as it causes separation and graininess.