Is congealed milk solids the norm for glass-bottle milk?
January 13, 2008 6:35 PM   Subscribe

I bought some Meadowbrook Farms whole milk in a glass bottle a couple of days ago. Expiration date: Jan 21. I noticed today when I opened it and poured milk out that some of the milk solids had congealed on the inside of the top of the neck of the glass jar (and some of that came out with the poured-out milk). Is this a sign of rottenness, or of some kind of extremely wholesome milk? I can't tell from the smell.
posted by shivohum to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
cream floats to the top of non-homogenized milk.
posted by Infernarl at 6:40 PM on January 13, 2008

I think that's actually butter. A little bit of butter on the top of a bottle of milk is normal in minimally-processed (non-skimmed, non-homogenized) milk.
posted by deadmessenger at 6:41 PM on January 13, 2008

Did it smell/taste bad?

Do you mean whole milk as full fat, or as unprocessed milk?
posted by oxford blue at 6:42 PM on January 13, 2008

A lot of organic milks have a little milkfat congealed at the top of the bottle - it's pretty damn tasty, actually. I wouldn't worry about it, if it were spoiled you would definitely be able to smell it.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:42 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Do you normally drink whole milk?

Even if your answer is yes, you might not notice the same phenomenon in a carton as you did with a glass bottle.

My guess is that the solids may just be fats. If the milk does not smell sour it should be fine. Try rubbing a bit of the congealed milk between your fingers. If it's greasy you've got your answer.
posted by subatomiczoo at 6:43 PM on January 13, 2008

Totally normal. If it doesn't smell funky, it is not funky.
posted by jessamyn at 6:53 PM on January 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

As long as it doesn't taste or smell bad, you're fine. The milk is unhomogenized, and will separate out over time. Shake the bottle before you pour to reintegrate it.
posted by Caviar at 7:03 PM on January 13, 2008

Yep. jess is right.
posted by Doohickie at 7:03 PM on January 13, 2008

The awful smell of rotten food is not an accident.

It is the way bacteria and mold tell you they have taken over, and the food source is no long available for us multicellurer monsters.

The smell is just a hint, a warning. The microorganisms do not want you to eat them, but they do not hate you. They warn you with the smell. However, if you persist in ingesting them (and very likely killing them), they will reciprocate by doing their level best to kill you, or at least to make you so miserable that you never repeat the experiment.

Their lethal weapons are rarely the same substances you smell.

But, as jessamyn notes, no bad smell--no problem.
posted by hexatron at 7:22 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think I had the same issue with a bottle of organic milk in a glass bottle (when I first opened it, I poured most of it into mashed potatoes and didn't notice the solids); at the end of the bottle, it was pretty much skim milk, because I had poured off all the fat without realizing it.

All this to say, yes, do shake it in the future!
posted by occhiblu at 7:35 PM on January 13, 2008

Yes, as everyone says, milk fat rises to the top of whole milk unless it is homogenized. Shake it to recombine. In fact, the term "skim milk" comes from the fact that you can skim the fat off the top of the milk (though I'm sure they use centrifuges these days).

When I was a kid, we used to skim the milk by sucking all that precious cream out of the top of the bottle before anyone else could. Yummy.
posted by ssg at 8:32 PM on January 13, 2008

This used to be a treat - it's where we get "skimming off the top." Spoon it over some baked apples.
posted by Miko at 9:04 PM on January 13, 2008

I was raised on a dairy farm and currently work for a dairy.

Is the milk pasteurized/homogenized or is it raw?

If it is homogenized, it won't have a cream line. The expiration date is pretty far out there. If your fridge is set at 40 degrees (36 is ideal) most milk will keep to that expiration date...maybe a day or two beyond.

Raw milk does not go bad. It will ferment from it's own live organisms, sour, and turn itself into it's own drinkable yogurt or kefir. It remains drinkable, should you want to drink it depends on your personal taste. You can use it for smoothies or cook with it. Pasteurized milk does go bad as so much has been taken out of it and so much has been added back in.

What the animals are fed is key. If they are fed grass, which is a diet that is natural to all rumenants (4-stomach animals) the milk/meat is extremely healthy. If the animals are treated humanely (allowed to be in pasture, not in corrals or cement holding pens, rotated throughout pastureland, etc), you are not going to find a better quality milk. If the animals are fed corn and grain, even if it is organic, it is a diet too rich for their system. The milk and animals health are compromised and they get sick. Thus starts the cycle and medicating the animal to keep it healthy. Think if we ate chocolate cake all the time. We would get fat and are liver would be thrashed. Same applies to rumenants.

Consider healthy milk to be no different than a healthy immune system. It has good and bad bacterias. If the animal is fed and treated well, the good will keep the bad in check. If not, there will be problem. E-coli is a good example. The rule of thumb is that "E-Coli does not like grass-fed animals." The digestive enzymes are such that the e-coli does not have a host to survive in. When the animals are corn/fed, this is reversed and makes the meat/milk dangerous. (See James Russell research out of Cornell University)

Forgive me if this is a derail. I just returned from selling raw dairy all day at a local farmer's market.
posted by goalyeehah at 9:17 PM on January 13, 2008 [15 favorites]

Ah, that brings back memories. When I was a kid in 1970s New Zealand, most milk was not homogenized - and it was delivered to your letterbox or door by a milkman.

The cream would always rise to the top. You were supposed to give the bottle a good shake before you opened it to mix it up, unless you wanted a little cream for cooking purposes. If you were a naughty child, like me, you would open it without shaking, and carefully pour out the thick rich stuff from the top and drink it. (I say pour it out, because if my mum caught me drinking from the bottle I would have been in deep trouble).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:50 PM on January 13, 2008

I used to race downstairs mornings as a kid to beat my brothers and sister and get the cream off the top of the milk on my Weetabix. The birds knew a good thing too, and you'd often find the foil tops of the bottles it was delivered in pecked open to give a few sparrows and robins a drink.
posted by Abiezer at 1:35 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Another childhood memory - at our house this was called 'top of the milk' and was a special treat if you happened to be opening the new bottle of milk; especially good on cornflakes at breakfast, or on mashed banana with brown sugar for dinner. Yum.
posted by melisande at 5:32 AM on January 14, 2008

[a few comments removed - please don't turn this into a skim vs.whole derail, thanks]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:37 AM on January 14, 2008

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