It's illegal to sell raw cow's milk at retail locations here in Kansas, so my sisters and I pick it up from a local grassfed farm every week. Sometimes we get a little extra and freeze it in case we can't make it back right away, but are we sacrificing those dense nutrients and flavor in the process?
Weston A. Price says we're in good shape:
It is fine to freeze raw milk and butter. There is no harm to the enzymes in milk nor to the fat-soluble vitamins in butter. Dr. Price actually tested frozen butter after a year and found no degradation.
A couple of studies from the 1980's showed a decrease in Vitamin C levels, but follow up studies haven't been done. For me, it's still worth having access to raw milk when I can't make it to the farm.
Top 5 Tips for Freezing Raw Milk
- In my experience, it's better to freeze raw milk while it's very fresh. Also be careful to thaw it in a pot of cold water to make sure it stays really cool while thawing. You can accomplish the same thing in the fridge, but it can take a couple of days and we can never wait that long.
- Let it thaw out completely before shaking it. The concept here is that if it's still a little frozen, the cream may not mix in as well, leaving you with bits of cream floating around. Not harmful, but not as nice to drink. We haven't noticed any difference in taste at all, but sometimes there is a difference in consistency (or texture).
- If freezing in glass, be sure to leave about 1″ at the top for expansion (I use 1/2 gallon Ball jars).
- The frozen milk should last in refrigerator freezers for about a month. A deep freeze may keep it fresh for longer, but this will vary according to the temperature of your freezer and whether it's frost-free or not (this means it will go through cycles of warming slightly to prevent frost build-up).
- Don't worry if you end up not liking the flavor or consistency of the thawed milk, it's still great for making baked goods. You could also use it in one of the Healthy Home Economist's 101 Ways to Use Soured Raw Milk (still great tips even though it's not really soured).
Additional Info on Raw Milk
Not so sure about the safety of drinking raw milk? That's okay. I'll still love you even if we never agree on this personal choice. But I do think you should take a look at the latest studies published in the Journal of Food Protection in June 2013 confirming raw milk as a low-risk food (P.S. we started drinking raw milk over 8 years ago with no ill effects).
The reviewer, Nadine Ijaz, MSc, demonstrated how inappropriate evidence has long been mistakenly used to affirm the “myth” that raw milk is a high-risk food, as it was in the 1930s. Today, green leafy vegetables are the most frequent cause of food-borne illness in the United States. British Columbia CDC's Medical Director of Environmental Health Services, Dr. Tom Kosatsky, who is also Scientific Director of Canada's National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health,welcomed Ms. Ijaz's invited presentation as “up-to-date” and “a very good example of knowledge synthesis and risk communication.”
Click here to learn more about the health benefits of drinking raw milk as opposed to pasteurized/homogenized/non-grassfed milk.
You can find raw milk in your area at realmilk.com.
Here's a little great video about how pasteurized milk came to be the most common and only legal form of milk in most states: