When you think of frozen milk, you probably think ice cream. Although I agree that making ice cream is a perfectly great way to freeze some milk, ice cream is actually not what I’m talking about.
When the time drew near to dry Sienna up before she calved, I decided to freeze some of her milk to hold me over until she freshened again. As I talked about in a previous blog, Sienna was still giving me nearly four gallons of milk a day toward the end of her cycle. I had plenty of extra milk and decided it would be wise to freeze it for future use.
Mostly, I was freezing it for my toddler to drink. Since she still drinks a lot of milk daily, I prefer her to have the raw milk. I believe it is much healthier for her.
When I still had plenty of milk, I began freezing about two gallons at a time. This sounds easier than it turned out to be. I had to try a few different ways of doing this. I will share the process that I found worked best for me.
First, I would put a half a gallon into a gallon freezer bag. This step took the assistance of another person, a.k.a. my husband Scott. He would hold the bag open while I poured half the gallon into the bag. After pouring two gallons worth of milk into four freezer bags, I would sit the bags upright in one of my big casserole dishes and set the whole thing into my deep freezer overnight. First thing in the morning, I would take the whole thing out and get the bags out of my dish. I had to do it this way for a couple of very good reasons.
The first reason is that the gallon freezer bags are NOT leakproof. I bought several different brands of freezer bags only to be disappointed by all of them. So, if I set them upright in the freezer until the liquid turned into a solid, it solved the problem of them leaking. The reason I took the bags out first thing in the morning is that they were still just moldable enough so that I could get them out of my casserole dish without them being stuck in it. Then, of course, I could place them back into the freezer to store until I needed them.
During this whole process, I have learned something else very important: Freeze cold milk, not fresh. If you freeze fresh milk, the texture of the milk changes. It’s still drinkable and tastes fine, but it looks kind of, well, clumpy. You can avoid this by freezing milk that has already been in the refrigerator. Can you still tell a difference between milk that has been frozen and milk that hasn’t? Yes, probably, but it’s not nearly so drastic a difference as if you freeze it fresh.
I have frozen fresh milk accidentally numerous times. How? Well, that’s because I put my fresh milk in the freezer for an hour to cool it down faster and then put it in the fridge. In theory, that’s how it’s supposed to work. In reality, I forget that the milk is in the freezer, and it freezes. Oops. I know what you’re thinking. Why doesn’t she just set a timer? I do. Well, in theory, I do. Sometimes my kids are screaming as I’m trying to get the milk taken care of, and I forget to set the timer. Or, I think I’ve set the timer, and I haven’t. Or, I’ve set the timer and someone turns it off and doesn’t tell me. Also, did you know that sometimes Alexa doesn’t hear you set the timer when you assume that she has? Yes, all of these things have happened.
Anyway, thawing the milk is much easier. I take out my half gallon of milk and put it into a two-gallon freezer bag and set it on the kitchen counter until it’s almost completely thawed. Then it gets poured into a gallon jar and put in the fridge. Once again, I set the bag inside of a bag, because the original bag almost always leaks. I’m sure those freezer bag companies don’t want me doing a commercial for them.
If you’re wondering why I don’t thaw the milk in my fridge, it’s because that would take forever. I keep my fridge really cold, just above freezing. That makes the raw milk last longer. But that also means that things don’t really thaw in my fridge. I’m sure that eventually they would, but who has that kind of time?