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Storing Goat Milk

Most folks store their milk in a plastic gallon jug in the refrigerator. When it's nearly empty, they go buy another. When you produce milk on the homestead, storage is very different, and presents a few challenges.

Using Mason jars to store goat milk.

I keep milk in glass jars to prevent any "off" taste passing from a plastic container. Glass is much easier to clean than plastic. An opaque container is best, but glass is clear by nature, so I just deal with that.

Two years ago I bought half a dozen half-gallon size canning jars to store milk in, then realized that they are too tall for my refrigerator shelves, so I went back to using quart-size jars. They don't hold as much, but they do fit better in the fridge.

That means I have several quart jars of milk from each day's milking. Keeping everything straight in the refrigerator can be tricky. My system is working pretty well for us now, so that we know which milk is the freshest when we reach for a jar.

When we had our first dairy goat, we bought plastic lids for the canning jars, which came in white only. Along the way, I've collected lids from mayonnaise jars, some brands of peanut butter jars, and other sources. Some brands fit the canning jars better than others, but you learn that as you go along. They come in several colors, and that is the secret to my system.

A collection of multi-colored Mason jar lids

Each day I use a different colored lid, for example, today might be green lids. Every jar of today's milk has a green lid. Tomorrow I might use red, then blue, then white, then start over again.

Metal canning lids work too, of course. I like the plastic ones because I have several different colors.

I move the milk jars to the left on the shelf each morning after milking. My family knows that the jars on the right are the freshest (or rather, they should know that. Sometimes I still am asked, "which jar am I supposed to use?") All of today's jars, with matching lids, are on the right side of the shelf, in a row. Yesterday's milk jars are in a row, just to the left of today's jars.

We have one refrigerator shelf dedicated to jars of milk. We use the freshest milk for drinking. Since we have an ever-renewing supply - except in the winter - we might as well drink the freshest, right? Day-old milk is used in cooking and cheesemaking. Excess milk is frozen for soapmaking or is given to the dogs and cats and, if we have one, the pig. My chickens aren't excited about milk or whey, but the dogs and cats go crazy over it.

Mason jar lids in dishwasher

The lids go in my dishwasher when the jars are empty. I put them in a mesh bag on the dishwasher's top shelf to be washed (net onion bags work too), and store the clean lids in a large jar until I need them again.

How do you store milk?


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  1. I can a lot of milk if I don't have time to make cheese. I like using the home canned milk in gravies, sauces, and for baking.
    My chickens don't care for fresh milk either, but if it's curdled they go crazy over it.
    Love the idea of different colored lids!

  2. I write in sharpie on the jar :) 4/20 am or 4/20 pm
    We have a container that we keep chicken scraps in, strawberry hulls, chard ends, pizza crust, plate scrapings from meals. The oldest milk goes over that. We let it sit overnight then feed to the chickens in the am in a flat pan. They go crazy over it :)

    1. I bet your chickens LOVE their goodies!

  3. What a great system. Thanks for sharing at My Flagstaff Home!


  4. I just can't even imagine, but my hat goes off to you! May God continue to bless you and your family as you care for them with such love.

  5. I love the mesh bag idea! I always have lids in the dishwasher, I am going to try this.

    1. See if you can find one at the dollar store, Sandra.

  6. I love this! I'm dreaming of the day when we can have farm animals. My hubby doesn't like goat milk, but this looks like it would work just as well for cow milk!

    1. Nicole, yes, it would work for rotating fresh cow's milk too. I hope the day comes quickly so you can have a farm animal or two (or more!).

  7. I hadn't even thought of sharing lids from other containers. I ended up buying the plastic wide mouth lids. Thanks for the tip!

    Thank you for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop. Your post was selected as one of our Featured posts for the week. Feel free to stop by and grab a Featured button to add to your post.

  8. Pinned to my sustainable living board on Pinterest, Kathi. I know this post will help lots of people who keep their own goats. Thank you for being a part of our Hearth and Soul Hop.

  9. Prepared Grammy2:06 PM

    I use glass jars with plastic lids too. However, I write the date on the lids in crayon. It washes right off with a wet dish cloth. Thanks for the mesh bag idea. That's how I wash plastic toys. I can't believe that I didn't think of washing lids that way.

  10. When you use goat milk to make cheese do you have to use fresh milk or can you use milk that was stored in the fridge?

    1. Cheese can be made from milk that is a couple of days old. I'll let you decide how old though. :-)


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