Dairy is a major part of food storage and comes in many shapes and forms. One of the many ways you can get your dairy is through canned products. And while canned dairy products are much heavier than the dried alternatives, they are frequently very cost effective and offer a familiar taste to supplement with your storage. So let’s take a look:
Canned Milk (UHT)
UHT (Ultra High Temperature) Milk goes through a significantly more rigorous pasteurization process, which allows it to store on the shelves without refrigeration. It’s available in all fat percentages that cold milk is. Whole milk, however, is recommended for storage because it will have a longer shelf life than lower fat content percentages.
UHT Milk should only be stored for short term usage. The whole milk version will keep for about 6 months. The milk will still be usable after 6 months but will start tasting stale rather quickly and the cream will separate not long after.
Because of it’s high temperature pasteurization process, the milk will have a “boiled” taste to it. My recommendation is to save your Country Cream dried milk for drinking and use this for cooking or preparing yogurt. The boiled taste won’t be noticeable when used with other ingredients.
Canned cream is simply a shelf stable light cream. You can use it any way you would normally use fresh light cream.
Evaporated Milk goes through quite a process before it reaches your kitchen table. First they take fresh, unpasteurized milk and use a vacuum-heating process to remove around 60% of the water content. The concentrate gets heated and homogenized. After they add some nutrients and stabilizers it is canned and heated once more for further sterilization.
The nice thing about evaporated milk is the fact that you can take about one part water and one part evaporated milk and it will give you the same nutritional value as fresh milk. It’s not gonna taste the same but you can use it just the same. As with all other forms of canned dairy – getting the highest fat content will make it last longer.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweetened condensed milk is just that – sweetened then condensed. First they add a high sugar solution, then they extract over half of the water. There is no need for heat because of all the sugar in the mix. The sugar will keep it from spoiling. It’s great for desserts. I wouldn’t recommend it as a major part of your dairy storage. All that sugar makes it high in calories and low in nutrition.
Canned butter is one of my favorite butter storage options. Unlike butter powder, canned butter can stand up to high temperature cooking like frying. Canned butter is real butter in every sense. It’s simply packaged in a way that makes it shelf stable for up to 18 months if kept in cooler temperatures. One can will equal approximately 3 sticks of refrigerated butter.
Clarified Butter (GHEE)
Clarified butter is one of my favorite COOKING butter storage options.Clarified is basically just pure butter fat. The benefits of clarified butter are pretty impressive. If kept in mason jars, in the cool and away from light it has a shelf life of around 2 years. It also has a much higher smoke point than regular butter and has hardly any lactose in it. So most lactose intolerant people can still enjoy it. Because of it’s content it’s not going to taste very good on its own, but it’s a fantastic storage solution for cooking!
Canned Pasteurized Processed Cheddar Cheese Product – Hmmm…
I say “hmmm…” because with that name you know this cheese isn’t really cheese. (It’s the same “hmmm…” I make when I see things like “honey sauce” or “apple drink”) It’s more like a cheese and artificial additive soup solidified and canned. Normally they are full of preservatives and artificial coloring and flavors. Some canned cheese has an indefinite shelf life. And while that may sound like a good thing, in this case it just makes me feel like I would be feeding my family cheese flavored plastic. Definitely not one of my favorites (if you couldn’t tell). When it comes down to it, if I’m starving I’m sure I’d welcome a can of cheese. But in the case of an emergency, your health is primary. And that starts with nutrition.
So that’s the verdict for your canned dairy products. To recap: Evaporated milk is pretty cool; Clarified butter is amazing; and run for your life from canned cheese. So go get your dairy on and happy prepping!