How to Can Milk

We have dairy goats, and sometimes that means an excess of fresh, raw milk. I make cheese, soap, cajeta, etc. (I don’t make yogurt because I don’t eat it, but if you’re looking for things to do with your milk, there’s another option.) However, the biggest use I have for this fresh, raw milk is feeding it to other animals: rescue cats and kittens, pigs we are growing out, and bottle calves all do well on goat’s milk. You can freeze milk, of course, but our freezer runs low on room at times, so I wanted something shelf stable.

It’s important to note that canning milk isn’t recommended by the National Center for Home Food Preservation, or anyone else for that matter. If you decide to can your own milk at home, you should do so at your own risk. However, I’ve noticed that they sell tinned milk in the store – so what gives?

Here’s how I can milk:

Use fresh milk. Milk that has been in the fridge for a few days tends to curdle when you’re heating it up to can. Pour your fresh milk into your jars while the milk is still warm from the animal. (From the goat, in my case.) Load the jars into your canner and process for 10 minutes at pressure for your altitude (10 pounds for me). Once the canner has depressurized, remove the jars of milk and set in a draft free place to cool. The milk may be slightly tan in color – this darkening is due to heating the milk sugars and causing them to caramelize slightly. After 24 hours, wrap the jars in newsprint or other paper to shield them from light. I noticed that the jars exposed to light tended to degrade very quickly. This should keep for at least a year. It is great for baking, cooking, and giving to hungry animals.