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Ever had raw milk that tastes, well… a little “off”?
If you have your own dairy animals, or purchase fresh milk from local farmers, it’s likely you’ve run into a gallon or two that tastes a little different than what you were expecting.
There are many factors that may play a part in off flavors in raw milk. The Encyclopedia of Country Living (one of my most fav homesteading books E-VAH.) has a handy list of reasons your raw milk might be funky. And the book publishers have generously allowed me to reprint that portion of the book here for you today.
(Note: This list only applies to RAW milk. If your pasteurized, store-bought milk is smelling/tasting strange, please throw it away.)
16 Possible Reasons for Off-Flavors in Milk
(Reprinted with permission from page 786 of The Encyclopedia of Country Living. My comments are italics.)
1. Did you use something other than seamless stainless steel, food-grade plastic, or glass to milk into, strain into, or store milk in? (Check out my improvised milking equipment ideas.)
2. Was there exposure to sunlight or fluorescent light? That causes oxidation and off-flavor.
3. Is the drinking water for your milker extra high in iron or copper?
4. Did you add warm milk to chilled milk or let chilled milk turn warm? (Learn more about safe raw milk handling practices here)
5. Is it late in your milker’s lactation?
6. Did you feed onions, garlic, cabbage, turnip, or other strong-flavored vegetables or silage closer than seven hours to milking time? Most of those foods work fine to feed if given right after a milking. But don’t ever feed onions or garlic.
7. Are there other strong-tasting weeds in your animal’s pasture that she’s eating?
8. Did the doe smell strong odors within the few hours before milking, such as from a buck? Or was the buck near the milk?
9. Are you milking in a dirty, manure-filled, ammonia-reeking barn? (The milking place is best separated from more fragrant parts of your barn by doors.)
10. Did any manure, dirt, or hair get into the milk? (It helps to brush your milker before you milk.)
11. Did you wash your hands and her udder and teats, then dry them, before you started milking?
12. Are you smoking around the milk?
13. Do you daily wash milk containers with homemade soap, then rinse with boiling water? Do you boil your straining cheesecloths in water with a little lye before reusing or else dry them a high heat in a dryer? (I like to run all of my equipment through my dishwasher, which gets hot enough to sterilize. I personally prefer to use a reusable coffee strainer instead of cheesecloth.)
14. Are you getting your milk cooled to 40 degrees F or less within an hour after milking and then keeping it cool?
15. Did you serve the milk within 24 hours? (I usually let my milk chill for at least 24 hours before drinking. However, I will note that the sooner you drink the milk, the “sweeter” it is. I use/drink milk that is 1-2 weeks old all the time– but nothing is quite as nice as milk from the previous day’s chores.)
16. Is there something wrong with your milker’s health?
The list you just read barely scratches the surface of the home dairy portion of the Encyclopedia of Country Living. You’ll find milking techniques and tips, recipes, troubleshooting, and a whole lot more. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again– this is one volume that you don’t want to be without!
Ever had funky milk? What caused it?
This post was sponsored by Random House Publishing. However, all opinions expressed here are strictly my own. The official Prairie Homestead giveaway policy can be found HERE.