We have 8 gallons of milk, what can we do to use it fast?
April 6, 2004 2:13 PM   Subscribe

My husband went a little overboard, as usual, and bought 8 gallons of milk because it was on sale pretty cheap. I don't think we can use it before it goes bad. A google search says that you CAN freeze milk...but does it affect the taste? I don't drink milk straight, but is milk that has been previously frozen detectable in baking or cooking? On cereal?
posted by Shoeburyness to Food & Drink (18 answers total)
Hmm. My grandmother used to freeze a little milk in the ice cube tray when she knew she'd be cooking certain milk-based foods (cream soups or sauces, etc.) so that she'd always have a little on-hand to thin it out if it got too thick. It also worked well to cool the temperature down when a fussy granddaughter (ahem) couldn't eat it because it was too hot and burned her little tongue.

(God, I miss her cooking! Best. Stroganoff. Ever.)
posted by scody at 2:21 PM on April 6, 2004

I wouldn't drink frozen/thawed milk -- it takes on an odd texture -- but I don't see any reason why you couldn't use it in cooking. The flavor is essentially unchanged.
posted by majick at 2:27 PM on April 6, 2004

I grew up in the wilds of New Mexico about an hour away from any grocery store, so we constantly stocked up on milk. We used to buy 12 gallons at a time and freeze 10, and have two ready to go.

From my experiences, frozen milk will keep anywhere around 2-3 months, but the trick is in the thawing process. DO NOT let it thaw out on the counter or at room temperature. Thaw it in your fridge over a day or so. Quick thaw can seriously get you ill, and it most certainly changes the taste of the milk.

But to answer your question, No, if thawed properly thawed milk tastes exactly the same as just purchased milk.
posted by Benway at 2:30 PM on April 6, 2004

Frozen milk has an odd taste to me though it's fine for baking. From Benway's comment maybe it's because of the thawing process (I don't remember how my mom did it on the occasions when my sister and I went through less milk than anticipated and hence resulted in frozen milk)
posted by substrate at 2:54 PM on April 6, 2004

Yeah, we used to shop at a far away army commissary and buy milk in bulk and freeze it. I lived. Sometimes we either kept it frozen too long or thawed it wrong and it would get little flecks of cream (or something) in it which made it pretty disgusting, but otherwise it tasted perfectly normal. Shake it really well after you defrost it.

But, probably better to freeze your excess as soon as you get it rather than wait a week, etc.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:38 PM on April 6, 2004

Benway's exactly right. Thaw in the fridge, and it'll be just like it came straight from the store.
posted by jjg at 3:52 PM on April 6, 2004

We used to freeze our milk years ago. Main thing is to let it thaw properly, in the fridge, and shake it up a little.
posted by konolia at 3:52 PM on April 6, 2004

Make paneer. (Home-made cottage cheese). The process is fun, the result is delicious and nutritious, and it takes a lot of milk.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:57 PM on April 6, 2004

Personal question, but is this behavior that goes on quite often? I literally know a bipolar person who did just this on a trip to the store during a slightly manic period. Bought like 10 gallons of milk, 4 whole hams, 20 loaves of bread, etc.

Freezing/thawing amy be the tip of the iceberg here.
posted by pissfactory at 5:09 PM on April 6, 2004

This question is one of my favorites ever on AskMetafilter. I love the "as usual" in the prelude to the question. I can just imagine the hell you must have given the guy for buying eight gallons of milk.

I want to show this thread to my wife, but she'll just say, "That sounds like something you would do..."
posted by jdroth at 5:14 PM on April 6, 2004

One other thing to know about thawing frozen milk... the liquid part willl thaw at a different rate than the fat, moreso with whole milk, natch. So, if you do drink it for any reason, make sure it's totally thawed otherwise you will get a mouthful of lumpy milk, ick! To get the texture back together, you may want to mainly use it in smoothies and stuff where you can puree it with some other things, or just shake it really hard before pouring.
posted by jessamyn at 5:35 PM on April 6, 2004

If you don't have room to freeze it all, I'd suggest making some fresh mozzarella-- it's actually easier to make than you might think (the whole process takes less than 30 mins) and 1 gallon makes about two-fist sized pieces. The only unusual ingredient you need is "rennet." I got a kit from these guys which worked really well for me.
posted by gwint at 6:46 PM on April 6, 2004

I second the mozzarella suggestion.
posted by Nothing at 7:26 PM on April 6, 2004

Personal question, but is this behavior that goes on quite often?

He'll often buy a lot (a bit too much, IMO) of things that are on sale, but usually it isn't a problem to freeze it and save it for later. We've got a large chest freezer, which still has three of the eight turkeys he bought around Thanksgiving (for $4-5 a piece). I don't think he's bi-polar, just a bit overenthusiastic.
posted by Shoeburyness at 10:53 PM on April 6, 2004

I'll follow up my earlier comment and second jessamyn -- let it thaw all the way before you use it, and remember that it may take 24-36 hours to thaw in the fridge. Do that, and really, it'll be just fine.
posted by jjg at 11:45 PM on April 6, 2004

Cheese and butter are "stored milk" ... If the milk has been homoginized (there is no cream line) you can't make butter from it, and a sure sign that it is not actually milk (see below).

Ice Cream is another way to store milk if you have an ice cream machine.

Milk is an amazing food you can do all sorts of things. Buttermilk, fermented milk, yoghurt, kefir .. all sorts of ways to store milk for the long term.

If its storebought milk your probably better off from a health perspective dumping it down the drain and next time buy whole raw milk from a local farmer. Store bought milk isnt real milk, it is a white liquid that reminds us of milk.
posted by stbalbach at 1:45 AM on April 7, 2004

Milk gets frozen all the time. My wife and I bought a chest freezer specifically for her breast milk (aside: it's all breast milk, so that's redundant) for our baby. If you follow the guidelines for human milk storage for a baby, you'll be OK. We never let anything go past 6 months before usage, and did NOT store it in a frost free freezer (which routinely cycles the temperature above freezing to prevent crystal formation from sublimated water).

It gets a slight metallic smell, but Alice was happy with it.
posted by plinth at 9:54 AM on April 7, 2004

A quick(er) way to defrost a gallon jug of frozen milk is to submerge it in a sink of cold water. Using warm water is actually slower and could make you sick if the warm thawed milk gets contaminated.
posted by ssmith at 4:57 PM on April 7, 2004

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