If you’re one of those people who thinks ‘yuck’ at the very mention of evaporated or powdered milk, it might be time to give it a second thought. When used correctly, these forms of milk can be indistinguishable from fresh milk. Powdered and evaporated milk can provide vital nutrition during extended power outages when traditional milk can quickly go bad.
Why You Should Keep Powdered & Evaporated Milk on Hand
Powdered and evaporated forms of milk are also often cheaper than traditional milk. The average cost for a gallon of milk, in my area, is almost $5 a gallon. In stark contrast, I can usually get the same amount of evaporated or powdered milk for just $2 a gallon when using coupons or buying in bulk.
In some places, it’s illegal for companies that sell fresh milk to give out coupons for their products. This is because it gives them an unfair advantage over a state’s local dairy farmers. This rule, however, does not apply to powdered or evaporated milk. This can make them a more economical choice than fresh milk.
Benefits of Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk and powdered milk are highly recommended staples for any emergency stockpile. The problem with keeping evaporated or powdered milk in your pantry is that people often save it for an emergency and forget all about if no emergency arises.
I recently heard a fellow survivalist talk about how he had purchased a large quantity of evaporated milk and that all of it had expired before he could use it. This reminded me that I also had a lot of evaporated milk in my stockpile that was probably close to expiration.
I often stock up on evaporated milk during the holidays when it’s cheap, but the only thing I generally use evaporated milk for is making fudge. I had good intentions of making a lot of fudge last Christmas to use up the evaporated milk that I had purchased the year before last, but I didn’t get around to making as much as I had intended. After examining the date on my cans I discovered that six of them were a month past expiration.
Evaporated Milk Expiration Dates
So what to do with all of this milk? Throw it away? No way!
Evaporated milk or powdered milk is great to keep in the pantry for emergencies because it has such a long shelf life. Evaporated milk is generally good for up to two years after its expiration date. Technically, it is still safe to drink beyond that time, but the milk will decline in taste and nutritional value the longer it is stored.
Once you open a can of evaporated milk you must refrigerate it immediately and use it within 15 days. Store unopened cans of evaporated milk in a cool place for the longest shelf life.
Benefits of Powdered Milk
Powdered milk can be used for years after expiration as well. You can extend this shelf life even further by freezing it. When powdered milk begins to turn yellow or has a rancid odor it is time to discard it. Mixing powdered milk with cold water makes the powder dissolve more easily.
Liquid milk that has been prepared with powdered milk should be refrigerated immediately and be used within 2 weeks. Powdered milk should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place for the longest shelf life. Light and heat cause early spoilage and can degrade the milk’s vitamin content.
To prevent moisture in the air from spoiling the powdered milk you can also store it in smaller air-tight packages such as ziplock or mylar bags. Then you can use small amounts of the milk at a time without exposing the entire box of milk to air.
Tricks for Achieving the Best Flavor
A lot of people have a negative image when it comes to powdered or evaporated milk. However, these are not milk substitutes, they are no different from the milk found in your grocery store’s dairy section. The only thing that has been altered in these forms is the water content of the milk.
In evaporated milk, some of the water has been removed, while all of the water is removed in making powdered milk. The problem with evaporated and powdered milk is that processing gives the milk a flavor which is a little different from traditional refrigerated milk.
This flavor can be off-putting for traditional milk lovers. This happens because heating the milk causes it to become slightly caramelized. This is also what gives it a darker more yellowish color than fresh milk.
If you find the flavor of evaporated or powdered milk to be off-putting you can add flavor syrups to them to make them more palatable as a drink. I mixed up a batch with chocolate syrup and I could no longer detect the caramelized flavor. To drink evaporated milk it must be mixed with an equal amount of water.
You can also stretch your milk and disguise the flavor of evaporated or powdered milk by mixing half a gallon of regular milk with a half a gallon of prepared evaporate milk (1/4 gallon water + 1/4 gallon evaporated milk), or a half-gallon of reconstituted powdered milk.
You can also use evaporated or powdered milk in any recipe which calls for milk. I substituted regular milk for evaporated milk in mac ‘n’ cheese, no-bake cheesecake, and cream of broccoli soup. Most cannot detect an “off” flavor when using these recipes.
I did slightly less than a 50/50 mix of milk and water. Adding less water to the evaporated milk made all of my recipes come out creamy and delicious. Use evaporated or dry powdered milk in place of regular milk in your cooking often to ensure that milk in your emergency stockpile is used before expiration.
More ways to use Powdered & Evaporated Milk
Here are some other ways to use up powdered milk and/or evaporated milk:
- To hydrate and nourish skin try using powdered milk to make a face mask or bath soak.
- Face mask- use water and powdered milk to make a thick paste. Spread the paste on your face and let it sit for 15-25 minutes. Rinse paste off when finished.
- Bath soak-Add two cups of powdered milk or a can of evaporated milk to your bath and soak.
- Make powdered hot cocoa mix. This is great to drink or give as a gift in a mason jar.
- Use in place of creamer in coffee (add little or no water to the powder or evaporated milk)
- Polish and hydrate leather-you can make leather purses or shoes look like new again by rubbing them with evaporated milk or reconstituted powder milk using a small amount of water.
- Remove ink stains from clothes- To remove ink stains from clothing, soak them in a milk bath overnight and then wash normally.
- Make your own homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk to use in your favorite recipes