Owning a jersey milk cow means you sometimes might need to move and store raw milk safely. Getting the milk out of your cow’s udder is only the first step in the process. Once it’s out, what do you do with it? Treating raw Jersey cow milk – or raw milk from any source – with respect is important for preserving it and preventing illness.
Any time we’re moving or storing our raw Jersey cow milk, we have a specific protocol we follow to ensure our raw milk stays as clean and fresh (and healthy) as possible. If you don’t currently have a regimen for handling and storing your raw milk, you may want to give our methods a try.
In this blog we’ll discuss:
Before you can move or store raw milk you must first get it out of your cow. Sounds simple, right? Not exactly. Failing to follow a sanitary cow-milking protocol can taint your milk before you ever have a chance to worry about drinking or storing it.
Milking your Jersey cow doesn’t have to be a painful experience when you follow these six steps. From preparing the milking stall to cleaning your Jersey cow’s udders, each step ensures your raw milk is safe for consuming or storing for later.
We have a multi-step process we go through before each milking at our homestead:
Udder Health Labs in Idaho tests our raw milk to ensure it’s safe before we drink it. You can have a lab routinely check your raw milk supply for any contaminants that could make you sick.
Continuing your best practices for handling and storing your raw Jersey cow milk, you’ll want to have the right bottles on hand. Most raw milk homesteaders prefer glass milk bottles because glass is a hygienic material. If you practice sanitary milking procedures with your Jersey cow, you’ll want to go one step further by storing the raw milk in bottles that keep the milk safe for consumption.
Besides keeping raw milk safe, glass bottles also are the best choice for:
If you choose to freeze your raw Jersey cow milk, you’ll want to find an alternative packaging. We’ll discuss that more later.
Perishable foods should not stay unrefrigerated for more than two hours. If you live in an environment where temperatures reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you can cut that time in half. Leaving raw milk sitting out any longer can cause bacteria growth, which makes you sick.
Even milk fresh out of your Jersey cow shouldn’t sit out for more than the recommended safety period. It doesn’t matter if you’re drinking pasteurized milk from the store or raw milk from your own Jersey cow. Keeping it chilled preserves its freshness.
The answer to this question is a bit more involved than a simple yes or no. If you follow the six-step process outlined above for milking your Jersey cow, it’s safe to store the raw milk without boiling it. When you boil raw milk, you lose all the benefits of drinking it raw.
Boiling raw milk is a form of pasteurization. While pasteurization kills off potentially harmful bacteria, it also destroys the many beneficial microorganisms found in raw Jersey cow milk. We never pasteurize our raw milk for this reason.
There are other ways to ensure your raw milk is safe before you consume it. Our multi-step milking process, followed by periodic testing, reassures our family that our Jersey cow’s milk is safe for us to consume.
If you’re worried about your raw milk going bad before you can drink it, it’s OK to freeze it before that happens. The trick to freezing raw Jersey cow milk is to preserve its freshness without resorting to using harsh chemicals or procedures. Here’s what we recommend.
Some people use glass bottles when they freeze their milk. They leave some room at the top for the expansion that occurs as the raw milk goes from a liquid to a solid. Another option for freezing your raw Jersey cow milk is rectangular plastic freezer containers. You’ll still need to leave space for expansion if you use the plastic option.
The key to safely storing raw milk is to keep it chilled. If you plan to drink it, you can store it in clean, 2-quart glass jars. It’s better to use multiple small glass jars than one large glass container to reduce the risk of contamination every time you remove the lid to get some. If you follow all the tips in this post, your raw Jersey cow milk should stay fresh for 7 to 10 days.
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