Dahila playing peekaboo with Debbie
Plus I wanted to show off our next milker-in-training. I think we are gonna call her Dahlia. She's a gem for sure. Debbie is such a good milker...and she was exceptionally well bred this time so this little one is really gonna fill the bucket one day. Welcome to the team, Dahlia!
A couple people asked about putting the milk in the freezer. This is how we chill the milk as quickly as possible to below 40*. This works for us but there are other ways to chill the milk. Goodwife and Steve C mentioned that you can also put your strained milk in its jar in a container of iced water - which chills it very quickly also. Probably faster.
However... heh heh heh sometimes there isn't a lot of extra ice around here. The reason you want to chill the milk so quickly is to stop any bacteria or whatnot from spoiling it. However, if you've been around fresh raw milk you probably know that you can let it set for a while and it doesn't go "off" like store milk. But take no chances. Unless of course you are making cheese and then the first step is to ruin it.
Spot and Stripe being cute
We like the size of the quart jars for chilling the milk. They are the right size to chill quickly but big enough to be useful. When I'm saving up milk for cheese making (sometimes I need a couple gallons) I'll pour the chilled milk into half gallon jars. I haven't had any luck keeping the half gallon jars in the freezer tho but they are prefect for our coldest fridge.
And nope I usually don't forget about it... I'm usually looking for the ice cream so I'll remember to take out that days milk if we need it for drinking. I use the bottom-drawer-type freezer in my kitchen fridge to store the milk. Its really not big enough to hold anything important (other than the ice cream) so that freezer will hold 8 or 10 quarts of milk at a time. When we need more milk I just set it on the counter to thaw a bit then put it in the fridge. If I need it fast I microzap it for a minute or so and give it a good shaking. Or I just keep it frozen for a goat-puccino.
The other question I received a couple times was... what do you DO with all that milk! Debbie and Vita will milk more than a gallon a day. And even Nibbles will produce up to 2 quarts at each milking. That's a lot of milk so what do we do with it?
Fresh raw milk is an incredible source of nutrition. And its delicious. My hubby will easily go thru a quart of milk a day by himself! We use a lot of milk for drinking, making goat-meal (instead of regular oatmeal use goat milk to cook it in!), and just regular cooking. I love real custards and puddings, a goat-bechamel sauce for baked pasta dishes, for making polenta, mac and cheese, etc. In our "eat whatcha got" view of life, we use what we have. Sometimes its not about making what you want - but its about making what you have available. Lucky for us we both like dairy products. Speaking of, lets not forget the cheese.
Or the other stuff - like yogurt (goat-gurt) and even buttermilk. I use a lot of buttermilk - for making bread for instance. And also for frying creepy meat up in a pan..and don't forget the milk gravy of course! Buttermilk is easily made by culturing fresh goat milk with either a commerical starter or just from buttermilk you can buy in the store. The smallest container of store-bought buttermilk will make almost a gallon of buttermilk using your own fresh milk.
"Hey! Is that MY tail?"
But the biggest money saver and use for our milk is in the barnyard. During the summer when our milkers are at full speed we cut our feed bill by up to 30% across the board. We don't need a lot of fancy layer mix or turkey ration when we've got milk by the bucket. Add a little crushed corn and you've got a cereal that the ducks, clucks, and turks shove each other down for...its a free for all when I come walking in carrying a bucket of milk. You can read more about how we use it for the barnyard here and specifically how we use milk to supplement our pig food.
And we haven't even talked about how we finish our creepy meats on corn and milk! My golly talk about a tender bird...with a glorious layer of fat. Heavenly. You see, the old timers and even the first commercial chicken operations used this corn + milk to finish their birds. Its only been recently that folks have gone to high protein rations to get the most amount of meat.
So we don't waste a drop. Even if we had extra we'd find a use for it. My pal over at Spring Hill Farms will tell you that you can use raw milk to improve your soil! Its true. I know folks who use whey from cheese making to enliven their compost piles.
Now you see why little Dahlia will be such a valuable member of our team...we need every drop of milk we can get. And so do you! So don't just stand there... go and get your goat!
Happy Sunday everyone!