You can freeze milk products safely by giving them enough room to expand as they freeze. The majority of milk is water; when liquid water freezes into ice, its volume increases. On average, milk products expand 9 per cent when they go from liquid to solid form. Thawed milk that has been previously frozen has permanent separation of milk fats that change the textures of the dairy product from silky smooth to watery and grainy.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Inspect the original milk product packaging to make sure there are no punctures and that at least a week is left before expiration. Plastic jugs tend to stay intact in the freezer better than paper cartons. Freezing milk will stop expiration until the milk is thawed, but cannot save spoiled milk.
Pour approximately 15 per cent of a newly opened container of fresh milk into a drinking glass. Removing about 2 1/3 cups per gallon or 1 1/4 cups for a half gallon will provide sufficient space for expansion.
Reseal the milk product and place it into the coldest part of the freezer for up to a month. Milk has a tendency to absorb the other flavours in the freezer and may develop an off flavour when frozen beyond a month.
Move the frozen container of milk to the refrigerator when you are ready to thaw it for use. Estimate 12 hours of refrigerator thawing for every half gallon.
Use the thawed milk in a baking recipe or other cooked dish within three days of thawing it. You will not be able to detect the changes in texture when the milk is cooked into food.
Tips and warnings
- An open box of baking soda will absorb food odours and keep frozen milk tasting fresh.
- Adding 3 tsp powdered milk to a glass of previously frozen milk can help make it creamier and less watery.
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