Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What do we do with all the milk?

Thanks for everyone's questions the other day when I showed how I strain our goat milk for the house. Since there was some interest I'll just give a quick over view of what I said in the comments.

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.  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!


Naomi said...

Backwoods Home actually had an article on goats and they used a set of the little icepack things for lunch boxes that the author put in the milk bucket immediately.

Now if I'm making Yogurt, I don't let it get cold, I keep it warm and get the cultures started quickly!

Autumn said...

Dahlia is such a pretty name! I hope that this spring I can find a Nubian or Saanen doe I can raise up to keep for a milker. It's sort of exciting, saving for one!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Milk, glorious milk :o) I can see you don't waste it :o) Keep going Or today i'ts "You go Girl" :o) Your post makes me happy...I'd get a goat too, to go with my chickens ..

freemotion said...

Great tips! I never thought to make oatmeal by cooking it in milk. Thanks to all your great animal feeding tips last year, I'll be going from one to four does in milk....will I be cussing you out every morning as I drag myself out there to squeeze them all??? Hee-hee!

Dahlia is a great name! She is a cutie-pie for sure. Start her training now by copping cheap feels (snicker...)

Mr. H. said...

Got milk? Boy do you ever and I am glad you shared how you use all of it. I'm excited that you posted your pals link regarding information on using it in the soil...I am going to try this on a couple of our calcium loving tomato plants this year.

Tracy P said...

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about getting dairy goats? The only thing I'm intimidated about is any vaccines, antibiotics, etc. that they may need - I'm afraid that in trying to save money on dairy, we'll end up spending a fortune on medical costs, or I won't recognize when they need something. I've read lots of books, but it's totally different to actually put it in practice (and we don't know anyone around here who has them). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Beth of the Rocks said...

I showed my 11yo son your baby goats yesterday. He was in complete agreement with me that they are cute. He also said that's just what we need! They're on my someday list. :)

Mama Mess said...

Glad you got a doeling to add to the herd! I read Backwoods Home as well and I read that about milking into the pail with the ice pack right in there. That would just make me nervous because of not being able to get that little ice packy thingy clean enough, but that's just me! Good post about goaties and milk!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all of the information! I had no idea you could do so much with milk :) The babies are so cute and congrats on getting a pretty girl to keep. I had to laugh at your comment...please no, I don't want 143 ;) I had to go back and look at Debbie, she certainly didn't look like she had three in there!

Anonymous said...

Hey OFG - remember there is NEVER such a thing as too much milk - problem is some folks don't have enough PIGS!


Ohiofarmgirl said...

(sorry all I guess I'm a little behind these days! let me get caught up with everyone here....)

Naomi - Yep I've seen people use stuff like that. For my money tho, milking just doesn't take that long and with a smaller bucket I just take it into the house, strain it, then chill what I've got. And like you, with yogurt I just add the cultures directly from straining.

Good for you Autumn! And thanks - dahlias are my favorite flowers.

Thanks Ginny, I'd love to just walk a beautiful bucket of milk over to you! And if you were my neighbor I'd bring you one of my favorite hens - she'll sit on your lap if you'd like.

Hi Free! We'll both be milking fiends for sure. Dahlia - or "Dolly? Dahli" already cant figure out why I keep picking her up and rubbing her belly.

You are just right Mr H, I've seen folks pour milk on tomatoes and such. Spring Hill Farm's article is really good - he's got a lot of excellent old timey information. We think he's the beez knees.

Do I ever, Tracy! Here is a link to most of my 'how to goat' articles:

But my biggest piece of advice is... just do it. Don't over think it just go and get your goat. Chances are you've already done the research so you know what you need to know. So secure your fence, make sure they have a shelter, and then jump in. If you are used to animals at all you can do some of the vet-type stuff yourself. In fact you might have to. Get your kids into 4H - or borrow a neighbor's - and you are good to go. If you need it an online community will help you such as http://thegoatspot.net/ or http://www.backyardherds.com/

Now is a great time BABL! Having your children involved in raising livestock is a great thing.

Thanks GW! I was kinda thinkin' the same thing. And its easy enough to strain whatcha got and go back out to milk the next victim.. I mean.. volunteer.

Hey kenleigh! I'm gonna win your contest for sure! ha! We still can't believe Debbie had 3... she was bigger last year and only had 2!

BR - aint that right, brother!

Summersweet Farm said...

Oh my, oh, my, a GALLON a DAY! Wow, and here I was thinking the maximum was a quart or two from each. Cheese making, here we come! Because lady, your goat posts are making me really dig in my heels that we. are. getting. goats. next. spring!

I've been thinking about getting a dairy goat and an alpaca wether - since she has to have company, but I don't know what I could do with a couple gallons a day. I make my own yogurt and buttermilk like you, and even so we only go through a gallon a week. :) But oh, I do have a soft spot for goat's milk brie... Weight Watchers be damned! :)

And I ADORE the name Dahlia.

Anyway, I'm chattering on and what I really wanted to ask was if I could link your blog on my sidebar?

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