Tag Archives: Raw Milk

Rocky Mountain “Moo Shine” and Raw Milk Temperance

Revered by some as “natures perfect food,” and yet demonized by others as “deadly poison,” milk, one of the most innocuous liquids known to man, is now the subject of possibly the biggest food fight of its kind. Mild mannered farmers coming to words with government agents, food safety attorneys, and irate consumers while “big dairy” farmers manipulate legislators and lobby for legislation that weighs heavily in their favor. So, what’s all the hullaballoo?

Like moonshine in the US Prohibition Era, raw milk is being targeted as unhealthy and dangerous, but unlike moonshine, raw milk that is produced following strict code of cleanliness and correct nutrition for the animals producing it, is safe. Even for babies. In the absence of mother’s milk, raw milk can be combined with other ingredients to make a baby formula that helps babies thrive, and meets the nutritional needs of babies much better than powdered or canned baby formula can. Also, unlike alcohol prohibition, today’s heavy regulation and bans on raw milk seem to be spurred more by big agriculture and the dairy industry to suppress unwanted competition, rather than a genuine desire to protect public health by a nanny state run amok.

Before the prohibition, clean water was scarce, and milk had become dangerous due to the cattle being fed the grain byproduct, or “swill,” left over from alcohol production. By the 1820?s the average American, including children, was drinking an average of 7 gallons of pure alcohol annually or the equivalent of about 2.5 ounces of pure alcohol daily, which translates out to 70 gallons of beer, or 39 gallons of wine, or 15.5 gallons of distilled liquor, per year.

To try to control the use of alcohol, reformers began an educational campaign teaching temperance or the “reduction or elimination of the use of alcoholic beverages.” Reformers experienced a significant amount of success with their educational campaigns, and In the 1830?s the average alcohol intake was down to only 3 gallons of pure alcohol per year, but because of alcohol’s addictive properties, reformers set their sights on ending alcohol consumption completely.

During this time, according to Jeffrey A. Miron at Boston University, “temperance movements waxed and waned in the U.S. from early in the nineteenth century, and these movements produced numerous state prohibitions. Many of these prohibitions were subsequently repealed, however, and those that persisted were widely regarded as ineffective. Amid the atmosphere created by World War I, support for national prohibition reached critical mass, and the country ratified the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in January, 1919. Under this amendment and the Volstead Act, which provided for the enforcement of Prohibition, the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol were prohibited by federal law.”

Aside from the differing reasons for temperance, the parallels are strong. The current “raw milk temperance” being pushed by the big dairy industry has the same goal – to use federal law to end “the manufacture, transportation, and sale of” raw milk intended for direct sale to the consumer – albeit for differing reasons. Raw milk temperance also enjoyed a huge success as the result of its ‘educational’ smear campaign against raw milk in the early to middle 1900’s, and almost completely wiped out small raw dairies who were selling directly to consumers. But that was not good enough. Now in the wake of consumers’ ever increasing interest in local farm fresh foods, the dairy industry has doubled its efforts to eradicate raw dairy altogether using federal regulation and whatever means possible.

Like alcohol consumption, raw milk does have its risks – just as any other food does. However, food borne illness from raw milk is relatively small compared to that of other raw foods, even when compared to pasteurized milk. Supporters of raw milk prohibition claim that the reason those instances are small is due to the fact that less than 10% of the US population consumes raw milk, and that in fact, instances of food borne illness are actually higher per capita. Even if this were true, their comparison does not take into account the diet of the cow producing the milk, or the difference between raw milk that has been properly handled and raw milk that has not. It also does not take into account that there have been no deaths from food borne illness associated with raw milk in many years, but there have been deaths from food borne illnesses linked with other foods, including pasteurized milk and cheese.

The standards of cleanliness and the way that cows producing raw milk for direct sale are fed have improved dramatically since the days of the swill milk dairies. Even if they had not, you would think that the temperance movement would take a lesson from history – prohibition was unsuccessful then, and it won’t work now.

20 Things to do With Soured Raw Milk or Cream

Raw milk or cream sours much differently from commercially prepared milk or cream. In commercially prepared milk, the product has been pasteurized, or heated at high temperatures, to kill any bacteria that may have been in the milk. As a result, not only are the pathogens killed, but also the beneficial bacteria that aid your body in digesting the milk, as well as the enzymes and most of the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D and magnesium which help you body absorb the calcium in the milk. This is why artificial vitamin D is added to milk – to replace what was destroyed in the pasteurization process. Also, the milk is usually also homogenized, or forced through a screen that breaks the cream into unnaturally small particles so that it will not separate.

Because of this, pasteurized homogenized milk is much different from farm fresh milk straight from the cow. Milk that has undergone this type of processing putrefies as it sours because for one, it is a blank slate so to speak, and any wild bacteria floating around in the air can settle in the milk. In our environment many types of bacteria are commonly found which can become pathogenic, or dangerous, under the right conditions. These bacteria – e-coli, campylobacter, staphylococci, salmonella, and others – are common and generally benign in our environment until they find the right media in which to grow. Pasteurized milk provides an ideal environment, where unpasteurized milk contains many beneficial bacteria which naturally inhibit the growth of these types of pathogenic bacteria.

Try this: Set two jars of milk out on the counter in a warm location for several days – one pasteurized milk and the other raw or unpasteurized milk. The pasteurized milk will begin to stink, while the raw milk will generally have a more mild cheese like smell. The pasteurized milk would be dangerous to drink, while the raw milk would be perfectly safe, even if you did not find the flavor pleasant. Many traditional cultures actually did drink their milk clabbered, and even preferred it that way.

For pasteurized milk of course, there is really only one thing that you can do with it once it has reached this point unless you want to risk becoming seriously ill – throw it out! Soured raw milk on the other hand can be used for many things. Of course you could drink it, but many people now are unaccustomed to the sour flavor of clabbered milk, so I have put together a list of 20 things that you can do with raw milk or cream that has unexpectedly gone south while you weren’t watching.

  1. Use the whey, or the clear liquid that separates from the milk, to soak nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains, which makes the nutrients in these foods more readily digestible. You only need a tablespoon or two to add to the water that you are using to soak your grains. After the grains have soaked for 24 hours, cook them as you normally do before using them.
  2. Mix soured milk into pancake batter, biscuits, or quick breads in place of buttermilk or other liquids called for in the recipe.
  3. Mix soured cream into scrambled eggs or eggs used for french toast before cooking them.
  4. Mix soured cream into mashed potatoes instead of milk
  5. Add a little buttermilk culture and set it out on the counter for another day – then gently heat the milk until it curdles and then strain, add a little fresh cream and salt – viola, cottage cheese!
  6. Add a little buttermilk culture and allow it to sit until fully separated. Then strain soured milk in cheesecloth until you have cream cheese.
  7. Use the soured cream on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
  8. Warm slightly soured milk on the stove top and add cocoa powder and raw honey or raw cane sugar for a delightful cup of creamy hot chocolate.
  9. Use soured cream to make white sauce or cheese sauce
  10. Use it to make kefir or yogurt
  11. Use a dollop of soured cream to top a baked potato or a bowl of chili
  12. Add seasonings to the cream and turn it into a yummy ranch dip for veggies.
  13. Whip slightly soured cream with a bit of cream cheese and raw honey for a delightful whipped topping for fruit filled crepes
  14. Make mozzarella cheese – it’s easier than it sounds!
  15. Add a little buttermilk culture to slightly soured cream, allow it to sit on the counter for a day, and then pour it into your food processor or blender and make it into cultured butter.
  16. Throw it into the blender with berries an a banana to make a yummy smoothie
  17. Use the soured milk or cream in any recipe that calls for milk – pumpkin pie, clam chowder, etc.
  18. Treat your pets, chickens, pigs.
  19. Pour it on your compost pile.
  20. Put a cup of sour milk in a gallon of water and spray it on your garden for a fabulous fertilizer.

I am sure that there are many other things that you could make or do with sour raw milk or cream – experiment and be creative! – but this should be a good start for those of you who are wondering “What do I do with this now!?”

How to make mozzarella: http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/21.html – It is not necessary to microwave the curd – just drain the curd, heat the whey to about 175 F  and use heavy kitchen gloves to hold the cheese ball under the water for several seconds, then remove it and stretch it; if it breaks repeat the process, but do not leave the cheese in the boiling water or it will dissolve into the water and you will lose your cheese!