Saturday, November 6, 2010

Got milk?

If you have played around with the food storage calculators that are out there, you'll notice that it is suggested that you store a huge amount of dairy products. For our family, the numbers work out to 270 pounds of dry milk, 54 cans of evaporated milk, and 57 lbs of "other", which would include dry cheese, butter, and eggs.

Ay chihuahua. That's a whole bunch of stuff that we don't normally use. And aren't you supposed to "store what you eat, eat what you store"? What's the point of storing all that milk, anyway?

Well, dry milk has the nutrients of fresh milk without worry of rapid spoilage or delicious taste. Oh wait...

The truth is that dry milk is a great source of protein and can be used in a wide variety of applications from drinking straight up to yogurt to smoothies to baked goods. It's one of the four basic foods (the others being wheat, honey, and salt) that would be enough to keep you alive.

It is important to note that the food storage calculators' numbers are based on REGULAR non-fat dry milk, NOT instant non-fat dry milk. If you choose to store instant milk, you need to store double that amount.

Crystal from has several really helpful videos on YouTube. The following one explains the difference between regular and instant dry milk. I highly recommend that you watch it.

After I watched this, I was convinced that we definitely needed to store regular non-fat dry milk. The space savings alone make that worthwhile. There was only one problem.

Where do you buy regular non-fat dry milk if you do not have access to an LDS cannery? Ever tried to find it in your local grocery store?

A #10 can of Regular Dry Milk from Walton Feed
I did manage to find a reputable source for regular non-fat dry milk - Walton Feed Company. Their prices aren't bad and they come highly recommended. A case of 6-#10 cans of regular dry milk costs $59. The catch is the shipping. It cost me over $20 to get my milk from their store in Idaho to the Harried Homemaker Acres. I did the math, however, and it will still save me a significant amount of money to buy regular dry milk instead of the instant.

Now how about the yuck factor. Again, Crystal has some great tips on how to mix it and doctor it up a bit.

One thing to note out about powdered milk is the shelf-life. Even if you buy all of your milk in #10 cans from a reputable dealer and you store it in ideal conditions (ie. cool, dark, and dry), powdered milk is one of the most perishable of your long-term storage items. I've found sources that say dry milk is good for 20 years, and that's probably true from a nutrition and safety standpoint. If you're wanting it to taste semi-decent, however, you had better rotate through your supply in 3-5 years. From what I hear, it gets pretty funky after that period of time.

My case of 6-#10 cans only adds up to 24 pounds of milk. That's not much toward the 270 lbs we need to store. There's bright side to building up our milk storage slowly, though. If I build our supply by purchasing a case every couple of months, the expiration dates of the milk will be spread out. If we just use a little bit along the way in our everyday meals, we'll be able to rotate our supply for maximum freshness.

Here's a link to the powdered milk section on Crystal's site. You can find a bunch of recipes that use powdered milk here so you can actually "store what you eat, eat what you store". I plan to use our milk in baking and other cooked recipes.

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