Wait, there isn’t one! Raw milk (almost) never goes bad!
My eighth grade science fair project was to show how processed milk is dead and raw milk is living. Three months before the fair I bought a half gallon of processed milk from the store. I put it in the fridge along with a half gallon of fresh raw milk from our farm.
Every few days I would check on them. After a couple weeks I began opening the processed jug to release pressure and avoid explosion. To be fair, I opened the raw milk jug at the same times.
When the time came for me to present my science project to the judges I had each of them smell the processed milk and then passed the raw milk around. The judges were repulsed at the rotten wreak that came from the processed milk. They were surprised at the sour but pleasant smell of the raw milk.
Guess what? After three months the raw milk was still good!
Find a Source
If you don’t already have a source for raw milk, check out my article about how to start getting raw milk.
As raw milk ages it goes through several stages of souring but is rarely unusable in the kitchen.
Most prefer to drink raw milk when it is fresh and still sweet. No souring has occurred at this point.
Next, the milk gets a bit of a funk to it. It isn’t unbearable to drink, but it does make your tongue dance a bit. At this point I finish the glass I’ve poured for myself but set the rest aside to continue souring.
Uses for Raw Milk After it Sours
After the milk has soured a few more days it is perfect for baking. It can be used in place of buttermilk (although it is thinner so scale back a bit) in most recipes. One thing to be cautious of is that sour milk can’t always be substituted when the recipe calls for sweet milk. Depending on the leavening agent used it could ruin your product. I made this mistake once in pancakes. They were the worst pancakes ever! But if you substitute in a pancake recipe that calls for buttermilk, they could be the best pancakes ever.
Another great thing to use this sour milk for is in place of a buttermilk marinade on chicken. On those days when I’m on the ball with meal planning I like to have my chicken thawed the day before serving. The day of serving it, I place the chicken in a bowl and cover it with sour milk. By evening the chicken is juicy, tender and flavorful!
Curds and Whey
If you still don’t get the milk used up at this point, it will continue to sour in your fridge. What I like to do then is set the jug out on the counter at room temperature for a day or two. This helps the milk clabber sooner and it separates itself into curds and whey. Remember Little Miss Muffet? After it has separated I line a colander with a thin tea towel or muslin cloth and pour the milk into it with a bowl underneath to catch the whey. I set the whole contraption in the fridge for a few hours or a day and let it continue draining.
When you pull your bowl and colander out of the fridge later you will have whey in your bowl and dry curds in your towel. The whey is great in bread recipes instead of water and can also be used in pancakes. If your taste buds can take it, drink it, too! The curds can be spread on a cracker or used as ricotta in lasagna.
Another favorite of mine is to whip the curds with some fresh milk until the consistency of sour cream. This can be used as sour cream in recipes. It is also delicious spread on top of pancakes with some maple syrup drizzled over top.
Uses for Raw Milk Outside the Kitchen
And if you really don’t have the time or space to mess with sour milk, pour it over your garden or flower beds! It makes great fertilizer!
So don’t get discouraged when you over-estimated your milk consumption for the week and you have two gallons in the fridge yet. There are easy recipes you can whip up with it. You can marinate your chicken in it. Or you can be the modern day Miss Muffet!
Raw milk never “expires” at our house!
What interesting successes or flops have you had with sour milk?