Prudent Food Storage

The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down. - Proverbs 21:20

Section 2 Common Storage Foods
B. Dairy Products



B.2 CANNED FLUID MILKS AND CREAMS


Preserved liquid milk comes in a number of forms, none of which are very similar to each other. The most common are as follows:


CANNED MILKS: These are commonly called UHT milks (Ultra High Temperature) for the packaging technique used to preserve them. They come in the same varieties as fresh liquid milks: Whole, 2%, 1% and skim. I've even found whipping cream in UHT packaging (Grand Chef - Parmalat), though this may be offered only in the commercial and restaurant trade. In the U.S. they all have vitamin D added. The lesser fat content milks do not keep as long as whole milk and their use by dates are correspondingly shorter term. This milk is packaged in aseptic laminated paper cartons. It has the same composition as fresh milk of the same type, and can be stored at room temperature because of the special pasteurizing process used. The milk has a boiled flavor, but less so than evaporated milk. The dates are usually for approximately six months. The milk is still usable past its date, but the flavor soon begins to go stale and the cream separates.


With a six-month shelf life this type of canned milk naturally requires a much faster rotation cycle than other types. Several companies sell flavored milks (chocolate, etc.) in this packaging, usually in the smaller single-serving sizes. UHT milk makes excellent yogurt, losing the boiled flavor.


EVAPORATED MILK: Made from fresh, unpasteurized milk using a vacuum-heating process that removes 60% of the water, the concentrate is heated, homogenized, and in the States, vitamin D is added. It is then sealed in cans and heated again to sterilize the contents. Some brands may have other nutrients and/or chemical stabilizers added so read can labels closely. A mixture of one part water and one part evaporated milk will have about the same nutritional value as an equal amount of fresh milk. It does not taste like fresh milk but many do not find the flavor to be disagreeable. Both whole and skim milk varieties are available with the higher fat content type having the best storage life. The typical recommended storage time is six months. There is generally no date or use by code on evaporated milk.


Some grocers along with health food stores carry canned, evaporated goat's milk, in a similar concentration.


SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK: A less processed product than evaporated milk. It starts with pasteurized milk combined with a sugar solution. The water is then extracted until the mixture is less than half its original weight. It is not heated because the high sugar content prevents spoilage. It's very rich as well: 8 oz contains 980 calories. Obviously with a greatly reduced water content and a high sugar level it won't taste like fresh milk but it does have many uses in cooking. Some use condensed milk to cream their coffee. This type too is available in whole and skim varieties.


A fairly new entry into the sweetened condensed milk field is Dulce de Leche a popular dessert item in Latin America. It's basically sweetened condensed milk that has been heated to the point that the sugar begins to brown which produces a rich tasting caramel dessert. In the past you had to make it yourself, but now it can be purchased ready made in the can. I have seen it in the canned/dry milk areas or the Hispanic/ethnic foods areas of many grocery stores here in Florida.


Although it is often hard to find, the condensed milk can label should have a stamped date code which indicates the date by which it should be consumed. Condensed milk may thicken and darken as it ages, but it is still edible.


CANNED CREAM: So far as I have found here in the U.S. only the Nestle company produces canned creams, both being imports. One is "Media Crema" produced in Mexico with a pull-top can and the other is "Table Cream" produced in Australia in a standard (as in use an opener) can. There is a slight difference in preservatives and thickeners, but basically both are a shelf stable light cream which can be used in any way that you would use fresh light cream. I haven't yet determined a shelf-life for these products, but it seems to be in excess of two years in any decent storage environment. Like the Dulce de Leche above I found them either in the dry/canned milk areas or the Hispanic/ethnic areas of my local grocery stores. Would be worth looking or asking for in your local markets.




Updated: 9/18/96; 4/16/97; 7/21/97; 10/20/97; 9/15/98; 11/02/99; 12/01/03


Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003. Alan T. Hagan. All rights reserved.


Excluding contributions attributed to specific individuals or organizations all material in this work is copyrighted to Alan T. Hagan with all rights reserved. This work may be copied and distributed for free as long as the entire text, mine and the contributor's names and this copyright notice remain intact, unless my prior express permission has been obtained. This FAQ may not be distributed for financial gain, included in commercial collections or compilations, or included as a part of the content of any web site without prior, express permission from the author.


DISCLAIMER: Safe and effective food storage requires attention to detail, proper equipment and ingredients. The author makes no warranties and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in this text, or damages resulting from the use or misuse of information contained herein. This FAQ is not intended for, nor should it be used in, any commercial food applications.


Placement of or access to this work on this or any other site does not necessarily mean the author espouses or adopts any political, philosophical or metaphysical concepts that may also be expressed wherever this work appears.



Table of Contents


Acknowledgements & Foreword


Section 1 - Shelf Lives


  1. Time, Temperature, Moisture, Oxygen and Light

Section 2 - Foods


  1. Common Storage Foods

A. Grains & legumes


  1. Grains & Grain Products
  2. Legumes
  3. Availability of Grains and Legumes
  4. Storing Grains and Legumes

B. Dairy Products


  1. Dry Milks
  2. Canned Fluid Milks and Creams
  3. Butter
  4. Cheese

C. Eggs


  1. Dry Eggs

D. Sugar, Honey and Other Sweeteners


  1. Granulated Sugars
  2. Honey
  3. Cane Syrups
  4. Corn Syrup
  5. Maple Syrup

E. Fats and Oils


  1. Buying & Storing Oils and Fats
  2. Extending Shelf Life By Adding Anti-Oxidants

F. Cooking Adjuncts


  1. Baking Powder
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Herbs & Spices
  4. Salt
  5. Vinegar
  6. Yeast

G. Infant Formula


  1. Alternatives to Breastfeeding
  2. Selecting and Feeding An Infant Formula
  3. Storing Infant Formulas and Baby Foods

H. MREs - Meals, Ready to Eat


  1. U.S. Military MREs
  2. U.S. Civilian MREs
  3. British/Canadian MREs
  4. Other Self-Heating Ready To Eat Type Products

I. Ration Bars


  1. Ration Bars

Section 3 - Specific Equipment Questions


A. Storage Containers


  1. What is Food Grade Packaging?
  2. Plastic Packaging
  3. Metal Cans
  4. Glass Jars
  5. Mylar Bags
  6. Reusing or Recycling Packaging

B. CO2 and Nitrogen


  1. Dry Ice
  2. Compressed Nitrogen

C. Vacuum Sealing


  1. Vacuum Sealing Considerations

D. Freeze Treating


  1. Freeze Treating

E. Oxygen Absorbers


  1. What Is an Oxygen Absorber?
  2. How Are Oxygen Absorbers Used?

F. Moisture in Packaging and Food Storage


  1. Why Moisture is Important
  2. What Is A Desiccant?
  3. Types of Desiccants
  4. How Do I Use Desiccants?
  5. Where Do I Find Desiccants?

G. Diatomaceous Earth


  1. What is Diatomaceous Earth?
  2. Where Do I Find DE and What Type Should I Buy?
  3. How Do I Use DE in Food Storage?

Section 4 - Spoilage


A. Insect Infestations


  1. Pests of Stored Grains, Legumes and Dry Foodstuffs
  2. Control of Insect Infestations

B. Molds in Foods


  1. Minimizing Molds
  2. Molds in Canned Goods
  3. Molds in Grains and Legumes

C. Bacterial Spoilage


  1. Botulism

D. Enzymatic Action in Food Spoilage


  1. Enzymatic Action

Section 5 - Shelf Lives


A. Food Product Dates


  1. "Best Used By", "Use By" and Other Food Product Dates

B. Closed Dating


  1. Closed Dating Codes Used by Some Food Manufacturers

C. Shelf Lives


  1. Shelf Lives of Some Common Storage Foods

Section 6 - Resources


A. Books


  1. Books

B. Pamphlets


  1. Pamphlets

C. Electronic-online


  1. Information sources
  2. Software sources

D. Organizations


  1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - LDS Family Cannery Guidelines

E. Food and Equipment Suppliers


  1. Mail Ordering Storage Foods What You Should Know
  2. Addresses of Suppliers

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