Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Powdered Milk 101

We know that powdered milk is an essential part and also the most expensive item to acquire in basic food storage. Realistically however, it starts to change flavor after a shorter amount of time (about 2-3 years). It is still safe to drink past that time, but will taste off. Therefore, it is essential to ROTATE your powdered milk! You don't want to be stuck with a year supply of powdered milk that tastes awful! So, let's look at the different types, and which is best to store.

There are 3 types of powdered milk: Instant, Non-Instant, and Milk Alternative (Morning Moo or equivalent). Let's look at each one individually-

Non-Instant: This is the type of milk that you can purchase at the LDS cannery. It is harder to find in the grocery store. Non-instant nonfat dry milk is made of fresh, pasteurized milk from which the water and fat have been removed. Nutritionally, it includes all the protein, calcium, and B vitamins found in fresh milk. It is generally less expensive than fresh milk, needs no refrigeration, requires little storage space, and is always available and ready to use in your food storage. The non-instant variety is more compact and requires less storage space than the instant variety, but it is more difficult to reconstitute and does not mix easily for drinking purposes.

Instant: Both Instant and Non-instant powdered milk are made from milk in a spray-drying process, but the instant variety has been given further processing to make it more easily soluble in water than regular dry milk. Both types have the same nutrient composition. The most easily found variety is the instant, available in nearly any grocery store. However, because more air has been added into the instant variety, you will often need to use double the amount of instant powdered milk to get the same results as non-instant. Look on your label for reconstitution amounts.

Milk Alternative (Morning Moo): Morning Moo (MM) is made from sweet dairy whey, non-fat dry milk solids, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. A #10 can of MM will store up to 10 years (or more) if kept at 55 degrees or lower. This can be used in place of any recipe that calls for milk, or powdered milk. However, it does have a shortening effect on some recipes, so if you are using it in a recipe with shortening, you can decrease the amount of shortening. I have used it in breads, rolls, soups, etc and the results have been fantastic. It makes biscuits very flaky!

Reconstituting Powdered Milk:

For Non-Instant Powdered milk (LDS Cannery):
Amount of Milk Water Powder
1/4 cup 1/4 cup 2 teaspoons
1/2 cup 1/2 cup 4 teaspoons
1 cup 7/8 cup 3 tablespoons
2 cups 2 cups 1/3 cup
3 cups 3 cups 1/2 cup
1 quart (4 cups) 3-1/2 cups 2/3 cup
2 quarts 8 cups 1-1/3 cups
1 gallon 3-3/4 quarts 2-2/3 cups

For Instant: Check the label as each brand can differ. Generally, it takes up to twice the amount as non-instant.

Baking with Powdered milk:
In cooking, powdered milk performs flawlessly. It can be substituted for fresh milk in just about any recipe with excellent results. I try to cook with powdered milk exclusively. This is a smart use of resources because the results are so good! When baking with powdered milk, add the dry milk to the dry ingredients, and the water to the wet ingredients. Reconstituting is not necessary.

Powdered Milk & Home Storage Q & A

The following questions and answers are from the LDS Church’s provident living website.

What kind of milk is best to store?

Nonfat milk, either regular or instant, stores well when packaged properly and kept at room temperature or cooler. In the past, many felt that non instant milk would store better. There is little difference in shelf life between instant and non instant powdered milk.

What are the best containers?

Milk stored in airtight, low oxygen packaging has been found to last longer and retain a fresher taste than milk stored in boxes or plastic bags. (I think that #10 cans are the ONLY way to store powdered milk).

How long can powdered milk be stored?

Optimal storage life on nonfat dry milk stored at room temperature is three years before the milk begins to taste stale. However, when stored at cooler temperatures, it can be kept much longer. [With this in mind you should either freeze your powdered milk, or buy it in the fall and rotate it yearly.] You can rotate powdered milk by using it yourself or by giving it to others who will use it.

How much powdered milk should be stored?

Guidelines for quantities of dry milk to store are found in the 1978 booklet published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints called Essentials of Home Production and Storage. The booklet recommends that members store an equivalent of 300 quarts (about 75 pounds) of dry milk per person per year.

However, since that time, a U.S. government study on nutritional adequacy during periods of food shortage has recommended 64 quarts, or 16 pounds, per family member per year. Equivalent to approximately one glass of milk a day, that amount will maintain minimum health standards. Keep in mind, however, that children and pregnant or nursing mothers will require more than the minimum amount of stored milk. Families who opt to store only the minimum 16 pounds of milk per person should also increase storage of grains from the recommended 300 pounds per person to 400 pounds per person to compensate nutritionally for the smaller amount of milk.

What should I do with milk that is past its prime shelf life?

Milk develops off flavors as it ages. However, it still retains some nutritional value, and unless spoilage has occurred from moisture, insects, rodents, or contamination, it is still safe to use.

What can be done with milk that is too old to drink?

It is important to rotate dry milk. Older dry milk may no longer be suitable for drinking, but it can be used in cooking as long as it has not spoiled. If powdered milk has spoiled, it can be used as fertilizer in the garden!

Shelf Life for optimum taste (although the milk will last much longer!)

Stored at:
40°F or below: 2-4 years
70°F or below: 12-24 months
90°F or below: 3 months.

With this in mind you should either freeze your powdered milk, or buy it in the fall and rotate it yearly.

Katie's opinion: I have both non-instant & instant powdered milk and Morning Moo in my food storage. I keep equal amounts of both. I use and rotate them all.

Powdered milk is one of the few things that I do store in #10 cans. Because it can change flavor so quickly, I think it is worth the extra money to store it in cans. That way, I am not opening a 5 gallon bucket and exposing it to oxygen. I can realistically use a #10 can quick enough before it spoils. I also keep a #10 can in my pantry at all times for baking and drinking. To improve the flavor of non-instant powdered milk, you can add a tiny bit of sugar and vanilla. It actually makes it quite good! With whatever type you choose to store, if you are going to reconstitute it, make sure you let it sit in the fridge overnight. Give your family a taste test, and you may be pleasantly surprised!

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