In our series on milk we’ve covered a lot of ground and we have a few more quick tips to share with you before we put the cap back on the jug.
“Best-By”, “Use-By”, and “Sell-By” Dates
Often times the best-by, use-by, and sell-by dates can be confusing. Many people wrongly assume that once a product is past the labeled date that it is spoiled and no longer consumable, however, this is not necessarily the case.
Generally speaking, the best-by and use-by dates imply that the product should used before or by the date printed on the label. Sell-by, on the other hand, is the date by which the product should be purchased, however, it will still be good thereafter until it spoils.
In any of these three cases, many factors come into play that will influence when milk will expire. Some of those factors include whether the milk is pasteurized or unpasteurized, how long its has been left out of the refrigerator, and how much light and air exposure its had.
Quick Tip: Use the Smell Test!
You can tell if you milk has gone bad by using the smell test. Milk that has spoiled will have a sour an off putting smell.
Keeping Milk Fresh
Here’s some pro tips to help keep your milk fresh and so that it lasts longer:
- Keep the milk jug in the refrigerator and don’t let it sit out any longer than necessary between uses.
- Keep the milk jug at the bottom of the fridge and near the back so it stays cooler. Avoid keeping it on the top shelf or in the door.
- Keep the cap or milk carton closed.
- Keep the jug away from direct sunlight especially if the jug is translucent. — At Kilgus Farmstead we bottle our milk in opaque jugs to help reduce its exposure to the sun.
- Transporting milk back from the grocery store during hot summer months will often reduce the milk’s lifespan. Instead of using the trunk of the car, keep chilled dairy items on the floor near an AC vent or better yet, bring a cooler just for refrigerated and frozen goods. Furthermore, don’t forget when bagging to keep all the chilled and/or frozen items together.
Quick Tip: Drink More Milk!
If you have shelf-life problems with your milk and it spoils before you use the whole carton, try drinking more milk! If that’s not an option, milk near its expiration is great for making soups, pudding, or cooking.
Fun Fact: Milk Varies In Sweetness & Color!
Kilgus Farmstead only uses milk that our cows produce and because their diets change seasonally, you will notice that the milk gets sweeter and more yellow in color during the spring and summer months. This is due to the cows eating fresh pasture grasses and is true for both our raw and unpasteurized milk. Because larger creameries pool many dairy farm’s milk together from different regions and different herd diets, the seasonal taste and color changes are not noticeable.
As you now know, there are a lot more options these days for consumers when it comes to what kinds of milk are available. Depending on your dietary needs and lifestyle choices you can make a more educated decision on what kind of milk fits into your diet.