Raw milk is an excellent whole-food option that many families are incorporating into their diets. It is rich in nutrients and offers plenty of incredible health benefits that make it extremely valuable.
Because it is so valuable, many people want to be able to preserve it if they are unable to consume it quickly enough. Is freezing raw milk a proper preservation method?
Can you freeze raw milk? Raw milk can be frozen for up to one year while still maintaining its nutritional content and health benefits. Although raw milk that has been frozen and thawed is safe to drink, it changes slightly and is generally best used for baking, cooking, and similar applications.
While the short answer is yes, there is still a lot more to know about freezing raw milk. Let’s take a look at what this process entails.
Freezing Raw Milk
There is a lot to consider when preserving raw milk. We’ve done our research and want to help you feel confident about freezing your raw milk.
How Do You Preserve Raw Milk?
Ideally, raw dairy products should be consumed within the first few days or weeks. This is when they are in their perfect state as far as nutrients go. Raw milk can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks if kept below 40°F.
Raw milk has many nutritional advantages and is preferred by a lot of parents, but it isn’t always possible to consume all of the milk before it expires, especially for those that have to purchase it in bulk for various reasons.
What is one to do in this scenario? Is there a way to preserve the milk without losing any nutritional value?
The short answer is, yes, there is! Stick it in your freezer. Research has shown that freezing raw milk is an acceptable way to preserve the product short term without doing much harm to its nutrients, enzyme structures, or bacteria content.
Does Freezing Raw Milk Destroy Enzymes?
Raw milk is full of helpful enzymes that have a variety of beneficial roles, such as aiding in digestion and serving as a natural antibiotic.
A concern that many people have when altering raw milk (either cooking or freezing) is that the useful enzymes will be destroyed in the process.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, there is no degradation or destruction of enzymes by freezing raw milk.
When raw milk is frozen, the living bacteria (including enzymes) remain dormant and essentially come back to life once the milk is thawed.
Does Freezing Raw Milk Destroy Vitamins and Nutrients?
Some studies have shown minor degradation of vitamin C in raw milk during the freezing process. However, it is not enough to deplete the raw milk of its nutritional value.
Even with the vitamin C content diminishing slightly over time, the overall nutrient content of raw milk stays the same while it is frozen, and the beneficial bacteria will come back to life when thawed.
There really is nothing to worry about when it comes to freezing raw milk.
Does Freezing Raw Milk Change the Taste?
Many people have reported noticing a minor difference in the taste of milk that has been frozen. Most say that it is not a bad taste, just “peculiar” or “off” from milk’s normal taste. Some have described it as a milder flavor.
The difference is not big enough to keep them from drinking it; however, it is enough for them to notice that something is different.
This is normal for most products that have been frozen. Everything tastes best fresh, but freezing is still a great option.
Is Thawed Raw Milk Still Good To Drink?
Absolutely! Thawed raw milk is just as good, nutritionally, as fresh raw milk. You are free to enjoy it as a drink, use it in a smoothie, cook with it, or use it however you would use fresh raw milk.
Just be aware that it may develop a graininess or slightly different flavor that some people find unpleasant when drinking the milk on its own.
Can You Freeze Milk in Glass Jars?
It is actually best to freeze milk in glass jars or bottles instead of plastic jugs. Both are acceptable; however, the glass is less likely to split open from the cold temperatures and expanding milk.
Yes, milk expands when it freezes. Therefore, it is extremely important that you only fill the glass jar about 90% full before you freeze it. This will give the milk room to expand without making a mess in your freezer.
How To Freeze Raw Milk
Freezing raw milk is actually a very simple process. Here’s what you need to know:
- Gather either plastic jugs or glass bottles/jars that you will use to freeze the milk.
- Pour the milk into the jug or jar, leaving about 10% open at the top for expansion. If you are using plastic, you may want to err on the side of caution and leave more room at the top.
- Place in the freezer, preferably secured on the door to prevent breaking.
- Milk can stay frozen for 6-12 months.
How Long Will Raw Milk Last in Freezer?
Raw milk is good in the freezer for 6-12 months depending on whether you use a regular freezer or a deep freeze.
How To Thaw Raw Milk Safely
Remove the raw milk from the freezer, and place it directly into the fridge. Do not thaw milk at room temperature. Allow several days for the milk to fully thaw.
Once the milk is completely thawed, whisk to fully blend any separated fats back into the milk. The milk should regain its creamy consistency and be safe to use as is or in various recipes.
How Long Does Raw Milk Last in the Fridge?
Whole raw milk will last anywhere from 7-14 days in the refrigerator! That is a good chunk of time. However, even after it has soured, you can still use it in smoothies, for your pets, in your coffee, or for raw milk ice cubes.
How To Tell if Raw Milk Is Bad
Unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk does not spoil. It sours. However, it is safe to consume even when it is sour. The only thing that will stop you from drinking it is an aversion to the taste.
You will be able to tell that your raw milk is souring because it will taste more like sour cream or yogurt than milk. It will also have a sour smell — not a smell that will make you want to throw up like that of spoiled milk, just a sour smell.
Next, you will notice it begin to thicken into a yogurt. The yogurt can last about a month. During this time, you can eat it (though most do not). Use it to make butter or buttermilk, or bake with it.
Can You Freeze Raw Goat Milk?
Are you a goat milk drinker? Or maybe you just want to know how to store it. Raw goat milk, just like any other milk, can be frozen. However, it does not last as long as other kinds of milk. Raw goat milk can only be frozen for up to two months.
Does Heating Raw Milk Destroy Nutrients?
While cold temperatures preserve nutrients, high temperatures will destroy and denature them. Never use the microwave or hot water to heat your fresh or frozen raw milk.
The best way to warm cold milk is by running it under warm water or, if frozen, placing it in the refrigerator for a few days to thaw.
Wrapping It Up
Raw milk is a wonderful, nutrient-dense, whole-food option, and there are many health benefits to consuming it.
We hope you found this information helpful as knowing how to properly store and preserve raw milk can make all the difference.
Charlynn is an educator and mom to fraternal boy/girl twins. She loves learning through the experiences she has with her littles and using her knowledge to help other moms as they embark on the journey of motherhood.