Have you heard some of the talk of those natural-minded crunchy folks? Have you heard the terms Organic Milk, Raw Milk and Store milk? Ever been curious what those terms all mean? You may be like many and have curiosities but are fearful to ask about the finite differences. I figured this would be a perfect topic for part of our 30 days.
So, what are the differences and why all the hype?
This is what most of the population drinks. You go to Walmart, Meijer or the gas station and grab a gallon of milk. It is produced from cows lined up to be milked in an assembly line mechanized style. The cows are fed a diet of grain, kept in close quarters and the entire process is a bit unnatural.
However, there are many things done to conventional milk all in the name of public health. There is the HTST process known as “High Temperature, Short Time” pasteurization. This is done to eradicate bacteria that is in the milk. plus any bad bacteria that may have gotten in during the milking process. Unfortunately, this also kills all the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that are good for you and help you to digest the milk.
There is another type of pasteurization called UHT (Ultra High Temperature) pasteurization. This is where the milk is heated to more than scalding for just a few seconds. This process kills even more bacteria than the HTST pasteurization, plus gives it a longer shelf life, which is already longer than normal for HTST pasteurized milk. Interestingly enough this is sometimes done with a flash flame to the cows udders, doesn't seem to burn the cow but looks kind of awful (again documentaries are something I watch too much of!)
Finally, the milk is homogenized. Homogenization isn't meant for safety, but for rather for consistency and taste. As when left to settle milk that has not been homogenized will separate into cream and milk. (this makes for an awesome homeschool project when you skim the cream to make homemade butter)! Homogenization prevents that from happening.
Organic Milk is treated in almost the same fashion as Store Milk, though the diet of the cows is different. For Organic cows, the feed (still grain) is certified to be non-GMO and pesticide free. Here there really isn't a lot of difference unless you are being militant about avoiding GMO foods, if so you are already revamping your diet and grocery shopping list. I personally don't bother with the price difference to buy Organic milk. I either go raw, when I can get my hands on some, or just give up and buy the storebought, though we just don't drink as much milk as we used to. My dream is to own my own dairy cow or even mama goat for that matter to have fresh, raw, milk.
As the name suggests this is the most basic form of milk...milk "in the raw" if you will. Many people have been taught that this is horribly dangerous but, from experience, I am here to say it is the best tasting milk EVER! And if it were that dangerous why do the Amish and many other crunchy folks drive miles and miles and pay exorbitant prices for such ambrosia?
This milk is taken directly from the cow, cooled immediately and bottled. It is also illegal to sell in most states. Not illegal to purchase though...oxymoronic, no? You can however get around the illegality of this matter through a legal loophole that allows owners of cows to drink their own animal's milk. Therefore, if you own any part of the cow, as an owner you can have the bottled milk. Your "ownership" may look something like renting the cow where you effectively pay for your milk in advance or weekly, but since you have a contract as part owner of the cow...it is legal. That is called a "herdshare." I find this to be sooo expensive that I just cannot afford it for our family of 7. (in my area this means you are effectively paying around $8 a gallon for your milk)
For about 18 months I had an in with a friend who was buying from a dairy farmer and I had the ability to get raw milk weekly for a mere $2 a gallon. Before that source dried up (literally) I was privy to seeing decreased allergies in my asthmatic son (HERE is a mercola study on such in case you haven't heard of the link before) and tasting the best homemade butter, cream, ice cream and whipped cream I had ever had in my life!
HERE is a great link to some basic FAQ's about the consumption of raw milk.
There are some studies out there though that show a link between corn fed cows having a higher incidence of milk bacteria problems then grass fed dairy cows.
In essence if you can afford it, I find raw milk to be the tastiest, healthiest and best option. If you can snag some, grab it up!
HERE is a link to a great tutorial on making your own butter, in a blender!