How to Can Milk Without Spoiling


Rising food prices could leave consumers paying more for milk and other staples. Canning milk at home can help you hedge against higher milk costs, because it allows you to buy milk at today's prices and preserve it for use in six months to a year. Canned milk, which takes on a caramel-colored hue after the preservation process, is too sweet and thick to work as a straight beverage, but it mixes well into gravies, soups, puddings, cakes and breads. Experiment with this process using various types of milk, including goat milk, coconut milk, soy milk or almond milk.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass quart jars
  • Pressure canner
  • Pressure-canner rack
  • Jar lids
  • Magnetic lid lifter
  • Lid rings

Preparing to Can

  • Wash your animals' udders with a warm, damp cloth if you're using milk from your own cows or goats. This keeps contaminants out of your milk supply.

  • Collect the milk in a container. Strain the milk twice through several layers of thick, sterile cotton cloth and pour it into a clean enamel or glass container. Cover the container with a clean towel to protect it from dust while the milk "breathes."

  • Gather your canning equipment, including your jars, your pressure canner and pressure-canner rack, your jar lids and your lid rings. Check your jars and lids for nicks and cracks, and discard any damaged jars and lids.

  • Wash your equipment in hot, soapy water. Sterilize your equipment by placing it in boiling water for 15 minutes. Leave jars, lids and lid rings in the water bath until you're ready to fill the jars with milk.

Canning the Milk

  • Prepare your pressure canner so that the pressure-canner rack rests evenly on the canner's bottom. Fill the canner with water to the first fill line, or according to the manufacturer's instructions in the canner's manual. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to keep water marks from forming on your jars. Bring the water and vinegar mixture to a boil.

  • Fill a hot, sterilized jar with milk, leaving 1/2- inch of space at the top.

  • Place a lid on the jar with the magnetic lid lifter, being careful not to touch the lid's seal with your hands or fingers. Screw on the lid ring and set the jarred milk aside. Continue the filling and capping process until you have filled the rack in the bottom of your pressure canner with jars of milk.

  • Fasten the pressure-canner's top and set it so that steam will flow from the canner for 10 minutes. Bring the canner to 10 pounds of pressure. Process quarts for 25 minutes and pints for 20 minutes. Keep the pressure at 10 pounds, because you'll need to start the timing process over if it dips below that level.

  • Remove the pressure canner from the range top and allow it to cool for at least an hour, until the pressure has dissipated.

  • Remove the jars of milk and place them on a flat surface to cool. Check the lids after they've cooled completely to make sure the lids sealed properly.

  • Label the jars of milk with the date, including the month and year, and store them in your pantry or cellar.

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