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Got Milk?

by Deborah Cruz

shelf stable milk, tetra pak,milkunleashedIf you are a mom, you KNOW how much milk kids consume. My girls are little milkaholics but they come by it naturally, as I am too. We drink a lot of milk, at least 2 gallons a week between us 3 girls but I am limited on space in the refrigerator so that means when I run out I have to run to the store to buy more as space is available.

I was recently part of a virtual briefing session on shelf stable milk. Sounds like something your mom might have kept in her Y2K pantry or maybe someone from the 50’s might have kept in their bomb shelter and all of that might have been true but it is also a nutrient rich, great alternative to refrigerated milk. There is no difference in flavor. You just have to wrap your brain around a new way of storing your milk.

You might be wondering what the heck shelf stable milk is. It is exactly what it sounds like, it is milk that can be kept in your pantry and doesn’t need to take up valuable (and limited) real estate in your refrigerator. You may be using it and didn’t even realize that shelf stable was what it was. I’ve been using it since my girls started school in the form of Horizon’s Organic milk in individual packaging. My girls love the flavors they offer; Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla and plain white milk. It’s the same milk you get in your grocer’s refrigerated section; the only difference is the packaging.

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Shelf stable milk has been pasteurized at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time to preserve taste and nutrition. Refrigerated milk is heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-20 seconds then packaged in traditional cartons. Shelf stable milk is ultra pasteurized and heated to 280 degrees Fahrenheit for only 3 seconds, cooled quickly and then immediately packaged into a sterile Tetra Pak shelf-stable cartons that keep out light, air and harmful contaminants. Shelf stable milk can last up to 6 months unopened and unrefrigerated compared to traditional refrigerated milk, which usually expires in 3 weeks. This is awesome because you can stock up when it’s on sale.

It doesn’t taste any different than traditional milk. We are huge milk aficionados and take our milk pretty seriously in my house so I would tell you if it tasted weird. I do buy jugs of organic milk that I keep on hand in the refrigerator for everyday drinking but my pantry always has shelf stable milk in it for lunches, snack times and it also comes in handy if we run out of milk in the fridge. I simply pop the individual milks in the fridge the night before and pack it in my girls’ lunch boxes the next morning. I pack them cold but they can be drank at room temperature or over milk. My girls love it and so do I. My favorite thing aside from it being convenient is knowing that I am sending them something nutritious to drink with their lunches. It’s also great when traveling. I make PB & J sandwiches and put the milk in a cooler. It’s much healthier than stopping for fast food, more cost effective and more convenient.

Back-to-school is right around the corner (one week from today for us) and I think this is a great product to keep in mind for lunches for your little ones. They are easy to find; most stores carry shelf stable milk. You’ve probably just never looked for it and sometimes it is shelved in the refrigerated section. I know for a fact that Kroger carries it Organic Valley brand and quite frequently runs the individual packs for 10 for $10, so you can mix and match flavors. I also know that Wal-Mart carries the Organic Horizons brand.

Have you ever tried shelf stable milk? Would you use it for school lunches?shelf stable milk, tetra pak, milk unleashed


Disclaimer: This blog post is part of a paid Milk Unleashed blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are all my own.

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