Keeping raw milk fresh requires proper handling and storage techniques. Here are five easy steps to help you maintain the freshness of raw milk:
Raw milk should be refrigerated as soon as possible after it’s obtained. The colder the temperature, the slower the growth of bacteria. Store the milk in the coldest part of your refrigerator, ideally at a temperature of 38°F to 40°F (3°C to 4°C).
Use clean and sanitized containers:
When storing raw milk, ensure that the containers you use are clean and sanitized. Glass or stainless steel containers are preferred because they are non-porous and easier to clean. Avoid using plastic containers as they can absorb odors and may be more challenging to clean thoroughly.
Avoid exposure to light:
Light can accelerate the breakdown of certain components in raw milk and affect its flavor. To prevent this, store the milk in opaque or light-resistant containers. If using glass containers, consider wrapping them in a light-protective material like aluminum foil or storing them in a dark cupboard or drawer.
Don’t mix old and new milk:
When adding fresh raw milk to an existing container, avoid mixing it with older milk. This practice can introduce bacteria from the older milk into the fresh batch, potentially leading to spoilage. Instead, consume the older milk first before opening a new container.
Consume within a few days:
Raw milk is perishable and has a shorter shelf life compared to pasteurized milk. Consume it within a few days of obtaining it for the best taste and quality. Check for any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, unusual texture, or sour taste, before consuming. If you’re unable to finish the milk within a few days, consider freezing it in small portions for later use.
Remember, raw milk carries a higher risk of foodborne illnesses compared to pasteurized milk. If you’re uncertain about the quality or safety of the milk, it’s best to consult local guidelines or consult with a health professional familiar with your region’s regulations on raw milk consumption.