Q. It’s impossible to buy raw milk in stores where I live. Instead, I must go to a special dairy farm that produces and sells raw milk. Since milk doesn’t stay fresh for very long in the fridge in its raw state, I only buy what I can immediately use. Unfortunately, the farm that I buy from is located almost an hour from my home. It’s inconvenient for me to have to drive out there every weekend, but I don’t like to drink pasteurized milk. I would prefer to buy a large batch and then freeze it for later use. Can you freeze raw milk?
A. Yes, you can freeze raw milk, but you must be very careful when handling it. Raw milk has not been pasteurized, meaning that it still has live enzymes. That means that it also has bacteria, as pasteurization kills bacteria and raw milk has not undergone that process. To successfully and safely freeze raw milk, you must start with fresh milk that has not been handled excessively.
How to freeze raw milk?
If you are purchasing your raw milk far from home, store it in a cooler to keep it fresh for the ride home. Raw milk can be stored in freezer bags that are then stacked to save space, or in hard, freezer-safe containers. To store in freezer bags, stand the freezer bag up in a bowl and turn the sides down for easier pouring. Pour the desired amount of raw milk into the bag, leaving some headroom for expansion. Seal and label the bags and then place them in the coldest part of the freezer for even freezing. If using hard containers, fill until there is about an inch of headroom leftover, then tightly seal the lid.
When thawing raw milk, it’s important that it thaws in the refrigerator so that harmful bacteria does not get a chance to grow. You may notice that the milk has taken on a yellowish hue or that there are ice crystals in it. This is due to the water and the fat content separating upon freezing. Once the milk is thawed it can be stirred or shaken to reconstitute it. The texture may be a bit waterier than before freezing, but otherwise the milk should not be affected. Be sure to keep thawed raw milk refrigerated. For best results, it should be consumed within 24 hours to two days. Never refreeze previously frozen raw milk.