WrethaOffGrid |

This was an incredibly hard, yet interesting topic to research. Because milk (in it’s many forms) is so important to us, there is a LOT of info on the internet about it. History fact: the first person to use powdered milk (that we know of) was Marco Polo for his trips around the world. Amazing to think how far we have come since his first trials of a home dried paste like substance. Imagine how that must have tasted after a year at sea!

“Milk! It does a body good!” That’s what they say, but all I know is that it contains many vitamins and nutrients that your body requires to remain in good working condition. It’s important that children get at least 3-5 servings per day, and I use milk in many of my recipes for daily living.

What if I couldn’t get to the stores? How can I store milk of use at a later time?

The answer that is the easiest is: powdered milk. Most of us have tried it at one time or another and most of us didn’t care much for it. I urge you all to give it another try. The new powdered milk is almost indistinguishable from the stuff you buy in the store with all the new advances that have been made. If you want to try it, I have several suggestions: keep it cold! Keep it stirred well. When cooking with powdered milk, I can absolutely promise that there is no difference in taste or outcome of the recipe.

Powdered milk is readily available in most stores as well as from all long term food storage vendors. Tip: get non fat dried/powdered milk. NOT milk replacement products. I recommend the non fat type simply because it stores better, I like a little fat in my milk. Your powdered milk, properly packaged (NOT in the box it came in) should last up to 5 years. Of course you hear stories that people have kept it for 10 years and it’s been fine, but in general, the recommendation is to keep it from 2-5 years. I prefer to take my milk out of the box and pack it in a Mylar bag with o2 absorbers. I then pack the bags in either buckets or tubs. I also have a selection of #10 cans of powdered milk, which are supposed to be good for 10 years, but many of these are “milk replacement” products that are good, but when it comes to recipes containing milk, they aren’t supposed to be substituted (though I haven’t found out precisely WHY yet). Keep the stored product in a cool dry place.

Apparently, the vitamin A and D that milks is so valuable for have limited shelf lives and are easily destroyed by sun light. Packing the dried milk in Mylar takes care of the light issue. You CAN use it just like regular milk including using it to make soft cheese and margarine (I did not care for the margarine, but it’s worth a try and worth knowing you can do it). I am told that you can also make yogurt with the powdered milk and infant formula.

Other suggestions for milk storage are varieties of shelf stable liquid milk such as Borden sells, which is a regular container of milk that can sit on the shelf for several months (unopened). This milk has been processed using new technology that keeps micro organisms from entering it during packaging. Traditionally, canned condensed milk and sweetened condensed milk were staple in Depression Era pantries. The canned condensed milk will last 3-5 years easily, but be sure to check the cans for signs of rust every 6 months or so.

For those of you who are hoping for something that you can stash in your food preps and forget for 10 years, milk isn’t going to do that for you. Eventually, if there is a really long term disaster, you will run out of your powdered milk supply and have to find a cow or a goat. However, having a stock of powdered milk is a great thing for emergencies, home budget crisis and for general preparedness reasons.

Odd Recipes Using Powdered Milk

Infant Formula

1 can evaporated milk

18 ounces water

2 tablespoons white sugar OR 2 T karo syrup OR 2T black strap molasses

3 mil Baby Vitamins

Bring the water to a boil, remove from the heat.

Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

Mix in the evaporated milk and stir or shake

Be sure to make a fresh batch daily!

Pancake Mix for short term storage:

Keep this in a sealed container for 6-9 months. One of our group members, camps a lot and makes up vacuum sealed or mylar bags of this to take with them.

6 cups flour (whole wheat is fine)

½ c. baking powder

5 cups powdered milk

2 T salt

2 cups shortening

Mix together ingredients, cutting the shortening in after all other ingredients have been well blended. When done, the mix should resemble corn meal.

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

1/3 cup crunchy or creamy peanut butter

½ cup nonfat dry milk powder

2 TBSP wheat germ

1 TBSP honey

Mix together and shape into little bite size balls. Refrigerate any uneaten ones :)

Margarine from Powdered milk

1/2 cup milk powder

1 1/2 cups safflower oil (You can use other oils if you like, I prefer olive oil.)

2/3 cup water

a little yellow coloring (I don’t even bother with this)

Reconstitute the milk powder by adding it to the water. Whisk in an electric blender at a slow speed adding the oil a little at a time (important) if the mixture is still too soft add more skim milk powder a little at a time till it thickens. Some practice may be needed to get it right.

This article came from a great blog called Green Surviving, written by Herbalpagan, she says on her blog:

We are looking to be more self sufficient and live a more “green” life. We are preparing for whatever comes along…bad weather, bad economy, bad government.

Be sure to visit her blog to read about more hints and tips about living lighter on the earth and being prepared for whatever may happen. If you have any questions about this article, please contact Herbalpagan through her blog.

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10 Responses to “Food storage 101 – milk”

  1. Alrod53

    The fact of the matter is milk is not good for you.
    It has BGH bovine growth hormone in it for one and is loaded with fat, it provides very little vitamin D and causes learning disability in children.
    Get your facts straight before promoting things based on tv commercials. See therealfoodchannel.com
    You are what you eat. Alrod53 chef and restaurant owner over30 yrs

  2. Gael n'haLee

    “Arrrrrrgh!”*Growl of frustration*
    People have been doing JUST FINE for centuries without milk- if you have an infant and cannot breastfeed, a goat is the best; store it in the goat till you need it. But adults DON’T need milk; in fact the foreign proteins tend to keep your body in a constant state of low-grade inflammation-your body’s defense system doesn’t like it. Dark green leafy veggies have LOADS more calcium, vitamins and minerals per serving than milk, it doesn’t trigger your body’s defense mechanisms, and you don’t have storage problems. To start with, check out the “Ultrawellness” site.
    Gael n’haLee

    • Wretha

      Gael n’haLee, yeah I know, especially the part about not needing milk, but it tastes so darned good! Personally I don’t drink it, or at least it’s rare that I do, BUT I do cook with it. I love dairy products, sour cream, heavy cream, cheeses of all sorts… makes dinner better. :)


  3. Lornkanaga

    What can I substitute for the wheat germ in those peanut butter balls? I have a mild allergic reaction to wheat germ.

  4. wayne

    I just started using kefir from the grocery store and like it a lot. How is it made, or rather, how could I make it myself? Inoculate regular milk with a small amount I would guess… don’t all milk-bearing mammals have to give birth before they produce mammary fluid? Life on the farm doesn’t seem as simple as many would like…

    • Wretha

      Wayne, I don’t know anything about kefir, except what I have read about it online, you will need to ask Herbalpagan on her website about that. Yes, a mammal needs to produce a baby to have milk.

      Lornkanaga, I suspect you could substitute it with a variety of things, bread or cracker crumbs, any sort of finely crushed seeds (peanuts, chia, flax…), or maybe omit it completely and add more powdered milk.


  5. Len

    My Yf couldn’t either, the cure for an allergic reaction turned her milk off like a tap. I agree home made “formula” is better than whatever you can buy… I still think I would add some sort of probiotics to the mix. (kefer is my fav right now)

  6. sunpowerport

    Wow! A great article! That’s really an amazing things to do.Gonna have some fun tonight. :D

  7. Len

    infant formula? Mom should be producing enough (and way way healthier) with out need to store. Only substitute if mom is killed, runs off or can’t milk. I would also suggest making yogurt or kefer from reconstituted milk as the processing makes most of the milks good stuff unobtainable(the body can’t absorb it) by the body. The bacteria added tends to makes those valuable ingredients something that the body can use…. and get that goat sooner rather than later, keep it healthy so you can drink its milk raw…. you can then get by on less.

    • Wretha

      Len, thanks for your input, as a mom who couldn’t nurse for medical reasons (and I really wanted to!), I would be much more willing to try this recipe than to give my child all the questionable chemicals that is in formula, I would use the black-strap molasses instead of sugar or karo syrup. I like the idea of getting a goat too. :)



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