Perhaps you have already taken the plunge. You purchased a milk cow and you are milking to your heart’s content. You are bottle raising her calf. Life is good. But there is just one problem. You never dreamed you would have so much milk! If you have a good milk cow, you may be getting up to eight gallons a day! That is a lot of milk for one family! Today I will give you several ideas to make the most of your farm-fresh milk.
I am going to tell you how we utilize all that milk on our farm. There are three main ways I use milk on our farm: in the kitchen, on the farm, and in the garden. Finally, I will share a couple of recipes to use extra milk.
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MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR FARM-FRESH MILK in the kitchen
Sadly, in the state that we live in, it is illegal to sell raw milk. Therefore, I must find creative ways to use our extra milk. Our cow just had a calf less than a month ago and she is giving about six gallons a day. We use 1 gallon a day for her calf, but 5 gallons a day is a lot of milk for our family! Between five growing children and myself, I would say we drink up to a gallon per day, but probably less. My mother in law also drinks about a gallon a week. So that leaves a lot of extra milk.
Here are some ways to make the most of your milk in the kitchen
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- Make yogurt in my instant pot once or twice a week.
- Skim the cream to add to my coffee, make butter, and ice cream.
- Culture kefir, a wonderful probiotic drink.
- Add milk to many recipes including pancakes, cakes, frostings, etc.
At the end of this article, I will share two breakfast recipes using farm-fresh milk.
To pasteurize or not to pasteurize.
I cannot tell you what is best for you. I personally drink our milk raw. It is very important that you diligently clean your milking equipment after each milking.
When I save milk for our family to drink, there is a different collection protocol. Once the cow is milked, we run the milk through a filter to catch any hay or other debris that may have gotten into the milk. We filter the milk into a stainless steel milk container with a lid. I bring it into the house and put it directly into the refrigerator. I leave it there untouched for at least 12 hours, 24 hours is better.
Next, I skim the cream off of the milk by using a regular kitchen ladle. I store the cream in a quart jar to use in my coffee or to make butter or ice cream. Then, I pour the skimmed milk into a pitcher to drink.
If you do not feel comfortable drinking raw milk, finding a kitchen size pasteurizer may be a challenge. New ones are very expensive and difficult to find. The new ones are made out of stainless steel.
I used to pasteurize my milk. I was able to find a vintage one on Craigslist for less than $100. The biggest drawbacks were that is was big and cumbersome. Also, it was made out of aluminum and I did not think that was safe to be heating up milk in aluminum due to the studies I have read about the link of aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. After personal research, I made the decision to stop pasteurizing the milk and drink raw milk.
There is also a way to pasteurize milk on the stovetop. It takes some time, but it is not difficult. I will be writing a future article about this process.
Even utilizing the milk in our home as much as I can, we still have A LOT of extra milk.
Making the most of your Farm Fresh Milk on the Farm
As I mentioned before, we use one gallon of milk per day feeding our milk cow’s calf. In the spring, I usually will buy a few more bottle calves and feed them extra milk. Raising bottle calves using extra milk is very economical since milk replacer is quite expensive. I will go into more detail about raising your milk cow’s in a future article, but here is an article about raising bottle calves.
Last year, we raised two pigs and I fed them the milk and they loved it. If you are raising pigs, they can easily drink all of your extra milk, well, because they are pigs. Sometimes I would mix it with grain or food scraps, but usually, I just gave it to them plain and they sucked it down in no time flat.
You can give extra milk to chickens and surprisingly they also like to drink milk. I have made a mixture of milk and ground corn for my chickens. The extra protein cuts back on feed. Some chickens like plain milk while others enjoy a mixture of milk and ground feed.
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR FARM FRESH MILK in the Garden
There are also certain garden vegetables you can fertilize with extra milk.
You may have read the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, Farmer Boy, you may remember Almanzo growing a prize-winning pumpkin using milk. There is a debate on whether this method really works. Why not try it yourself? You have extra milk and the process isn’t that difficult. Who knows, you may end up with a prize pumpkin.
Here are the steps to milk feeding a pumpkin:
- Plant the pumpkin seeds indoors according to your growing zone
- After the danger of frost has passed, transplant the pumpkin plant outside. (Preferably near where you milk the cow.)
- After the pumpkins reach softball size, identify the best one on each plant.
- Cut off all other branches on that plant except the one with the best pumpkin is growing on. Snip off any extra fruits and flowers on that branch as well.
- Using a container with a hole cut in the lid only large enough to fit the wick into.
- Dig a hole next to the branch halfway between the root and the pumpkin and insert the container into the hole.
- Pour milk into the container.
- Insert the wick into the milk first and then feed it out the hole. (You can substitute the wick with a cotton string or similar material).
- With a sharp knife cut a slit on the underside of the stem, being careful not to break the branch.
- Insert the wick into the slit. You may need to wrap the connection with gauze to hold it in place.
- Refill the milk as necessary.
- Watch your prize pumpkin grow.
- Win the first prize at the county fair.
If you are lazy like me, you can just “water” the pumpkin with one cup of milk per day. It can be diluted with water or put on straight. I prefer to dilute it.
You can experiment by fertilizing other garden vegetables with milk. Milk has been known as a good fertilizer for plants that can suffer from calcium deficiencies such as squash, peppers, and tomatoes.
Utilizing milk in the house, on the farm, and in the garden will use up all your surplus milk. Now, as promised, here are a couple of recipes to utilize extra milk in the kitchen.
How about you? How do you make the most of your farm-fresh milk in the kitchen, on the farm, and in the garden? Comment below with your ideas to make the most of your farm-fresh milk.