Making the Best of Powdered Milk, Part 1

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by JR, Survival Blog:

INTRODUCTION

love including powdered milk in my food storage plan for my family.  I love it because nobody else does.  Nobody wants it, now or ever.  People who have had it never want it again, and people who have not had it are not that into eating healthy or storing food anyway, so there are no worries from them either.

But still, powdered milk is like the ugly stepchild of food storage.  Nobody wants it.  Just thinking about it is probably giving you the willies.

Well, let’s change that!  First off, let’s discuss nutritional needs.  Teens and adults are recommended to store 20 pounds of dry milk per year.  This is only used in baking and cooking.  There is absolutely none for pouring on cereal or drinking.  None for making yogurt or banana cream pie.

In contrast, pregnant and nursing women and children up to the ages of 12 years need 75 pounds of powdered milk each year to meet the nutritional requirements of their growing bodies. Yes, there is probably some drinking involved here.

The following table shows a comparison of the nutrients and costs for some of the major dry milk companies.  As you can see, there is a wide range of nutrients and costs per serving.  Please note that the Augason Farms Morning Moo is not milk—it is a milk drink.

 

Manufacturer Vit. A Vit. C Vit. D Calcium Cost Servings Cost/Serving
Provident Pantry 0 2 0 25 Purchased in 2008—no records of what I paid
Country Cream 0 0 10 30 Purchased in 2009—no records of what I paid
HSC no sugar or vanilla added) 10 4 25 35 Purchased in 2001, no records of what I paid
HSC (sugar and vanilla added) 15 4 40 35 Purchased in 2010, no records of what I paid
HSC 10 4 25 35 $ 4.00 29 $0.14
Country Cream 2 2 10 30 18.99 64 0.30
Augason Farms 15 2 10 20 22.99 39 0.59
Thrive 0 0 10 20 10.49 15 0.70
Emergency Essentials 10 4 25 30 18.95 45 0.42
Augason Farms Morning Moo 10 0 15 10 23.99 93 0.26
Carnation 10 2 25 30 0.99 4 0.25
Kroger 15 15 20 2.31 12 0.19

I’ve had a few opportunities to teach classes on using powdered milk, and one of the things I do every time is a taste test.  Most of the major long-term food storage companies offer their own dry milk lines for sale.  In my tastes tests, there has been no consensus for first place.  Some favor Country Cream or Emergency Essentials or Thrive.  But twice now I’ve had groups give two thumbs up to the milk from the Home Storage Center (HSC).

(In my most recent taste test, in February of this year, my cans of Provident Pantry and Country Cream were ten years old.  The cans from the HSC were from 2001 and 2010.  Carnation, Kroger, and WinCo bulk were all fresh purchases.)

The taste testers rated the milk samples on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, and 1 being they’d rather die than drink it again.  Coming in at a solid last place was Carnation, with an average of 2.1.  (I’d have thought they would have figured out the milk business by now.)  Kroger scored 2.9.  Provident Pantry, 3.3.  WinCo bulk bin, 3.4.  Country Cream, 3.9.  HSC without any additives, 3.6.  HSC with ½ teaspoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla (or almond) extract, 4.1.  Yes, adding that little bit of sugar and vanilla extract or almond extract, and chilling well, makes a huge difference.  Please give this a try and show yourself and your family that this really does work.  It will give you the confidence to stock up. Life is good again.

HOW TO STORY DRY MILK

Dry milk must be stored as cool as possible at all times.  It is definitely the most sensitive of all long term food storage items.  Being subjected to elevated temperatures for even a short period will render it unpalatable.  Furthermore, it must be stored in a completely dark area.  Light also causes deterioration in nutritional value and taste pretty quickly.  In other words, do not store milk in plastic buckets as I did in the beginning.

Now that we’ve covered the nutritional analysis of the various brands of milk and the taste test, let’s look at the different kinds of dry milk.

Non-instant nonfat milk is sold by very few companies.  I found one seller on Amazon and non-instant nonfat is also what is sold by the Home Storage Center (HSC). It is processed by drum drying, where the milk is sprayed on a heated drum and then scraped off.  The drum is heated and the resultant dry milk has a cooked flavor to it.  It is generally much less expensive than instant nonfat.  As the name suggests, it does not mix instantly, but takes a bit more stirring.  It has a reputation of being less palatable than instant.

Instant nonfat milk is far more popular, easy to find through all preparedness vendors and at grocery stores.  It is processed by evaporation and spraying into a heated chamber where the milk dries almost immediately.  It is a more expensive process.  There is a wide range in price and palatability.

Instant milk drink is promoted as being the best-tasting.  And it is!  BUT IT’S NOT REAL MILK! In fact, if you take a look at the list of ingredients, milk is number 3 on that list (at least, for Morning Moo).  It can’t possibly be more than 33% milk.  Kinda disturbing.

There are also instant lowfat and whole milk options.  These are not packaged for long term storage, and even if they were, they don’t have the shelf-life of long-term storage.

As you can see in the table above, the various milk products different dramatically in nutrition and cost per serving.  All servings are eight ounces each.

LOWEST COST OPTION

The clear winner for cost per serving is the HSC milk at 14 cents per serving.  Even factoring in the cost of sugar and vanilla (or almond) extract (at $4.00 per ounce currently), it’s 22 cents per serving to make a milk that tastes as good as the more expensive brands.  If you look at the nutritional content, the HSC is the winner again, just barely surpassing the Emergency Essentials brand.  The others just don’t even hold a candle, especially when you factor in how important vitamin D is in the diet, and even more so for children.  In case you don’t remember, where else can you get vitamin D in your diet?  Fish, beef liver, eggs, and cod liver oil.  Or supplements.  Keep in mind that 42% of American adults are deficient in vitamin D.  And in the early 1900s, before milk was fortified, 90% of children in Boston and New York had rickets.  Make sure you plan well for the children in your life.

For my classes, we didn’t just taste test milk, though that was a really important part of the class.  I also showed participants how to use dry milk in their everyday cooking.  We taste-tested instant oatmeal, cream of tomato soup, survival bars, and chocolate pudding.  Even if people prefer the more expensive milks for drinking, it’s important to see that less expensive milk can successfully be used for cooking and baking.  However, it is very important to note that the measurements of dry milk for baking are not necessarily interchangeable.  It takes anywhere from 2/3 cup to 1 1/3 cups of powdered milk to make a quart of liquid milk.  All recipes included here, unless otherwise noted, are made with HSC milk, which uses of a ratio of 3/4 cup dry milk to 3 3/4 cups water.

 

RECIPES THAT INCLUDE POWDERED MILK

The following are some recipes that incorporate dry milk:

DIY Instant Oatmeal

Throwing together a batch of instant oatmeal mix doesn’t take much time at all.  It’s healthier than the store bought stuff (what exactly is in those artificially flavored strawberry bits?), it’s way less expensive, and it helps you rotate your basic food storage items.

The basic recipe is as follows:

8 cups quick oats
1 cup dry milk
1 cup granulated sugar

Whirl 6 of the 8 cups of oats in a blender to make them a little finer.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, dry milk, and sugar.

For flavored options, choose one of the following:

Blueberry
Stir in 2 1/2 cups of freeze-dried blueberries

Strawberry, Banana, or Peach
Whirl 2 1/2 cups of your choice of fruit in the blender a little bit to get smaller pieces, then stir into the oatmeal mix.

Apples and Cinnamon
Whirl 2 1/2 cups of dehydrated or freeze-dried apples in a blender to chop them up a bit.  Substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar.  Stir in 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice.

Store in an airtight container.  Or package into snack size baggies if your children have difficulty with portion control.

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