I am usually very frugal, especially when it comes to groceries, but there is one item that I indulge in: minimally-processed, organic, whole milk. It is twice as expensive as regular milk, but I feel it is worth the price.
Because of the extra expense, I am careful not to let a single drop go to waste! However, sometimes life happens and I end up with more milk than we normally consume with our meals.
That is when I pay careful attention to the expiration date and start working milk into more of my recipes.
Pancakes are my first line of defense against food waste because they can be made quickly and they don’t have to be consumed immediately. A single batch uses 1 – 1 1/2 cups of milk depending on the recipe.
I can use up quite a bit of milk and make mornings easier by making a double batch and freezing the leftovers. Pancakes will keep in the freezer for up to a month.
Check ou this Pumpkin Pancake Recipe.
Chocolate Pudding (Uses 3 cups of milk. Keeps for 3 days in the refrigerator)
- 3 cups whole milk, divided
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar (I prefer my pudding less sweet and use 1/3)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch. Use a fork or whisk and stir it until it is smooth and all of the lumps have been incorporated.
- Combine 2 1/2 cups of milk and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
- Cook over a low heat, whisking as necessary to prevent lumps from forming.
- When the mixture begins to thicken add the chocolate chips. Continue stirring until the chips are completely melted and the pudding is smooth and thickened.
- Pour pudding into one large or 6 individual bowls. To prevent a skin from forming, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 – 4 hours before serving.
**To make a thicker, pie-like filling, reduce milk to 2 1/2 cups.
Yogurt (Uses 4 cups of milk. Keeps for 2 – 3 weeks in the refrigerator.)
My husband is not a milk drinker, but he loves yogurt. I can get him to help us consume our milk, by making a batch of yogurt. He stirs in homemade jam to sweeten it and then sprinkles it with leftover bits of granola or cereal.
- 4 cups whole milk, divided
- 1 teaspoon, unflavored gelatin (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh yogurt
- If you want a firm yogurt, add 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Add gelatin mixture and remaining 3 cups of milk to a large sauce pan. Attach candy thermometer to the pan.
- Heat over medium flame until it reaches 185 – 190 degrees (You don’t want it to boil or form a skin – though I have accidentally done both and the yogurt still turned out. If a skin forms, just skim it off the top with a wooden spoon).
- Fill sink with a couple inches of cold water. Place pan in sink to rapidly cool milk to 115 – 120 degrees.
- Add yogurt to milk, using a whisk to completely blend it with the milk.
- Pour mixture into 4 – 8 oz. jars. Put lids on the jars. Place a heating pad on a counter or cutting board or some place where it will remain undisturbed for 8 – 12 hours.
- Put a towel over the heating pad and set the heating pad on medium heat. Place jars on the towel and then cover with a large pot to hold in heat.
- Let sit for 8 – 12 hours. The longer it sits, the more acidic the taste.
- Refrigerate the yogurt. I use yogurt in place of sour cream in recipes and dips. I add it to smoothies or mix it with pureed fruit and honey and freeze it to make “yogurt pops”.
If All Else Fails Freeze Your Excess Milk
Depending on how much milk I need to use up, I will look for dinner recipes that use milk like Scallop Potatoes (uses 2 1/2 cups of milk) or Pasta with Alfredo Sauce (uses 1 cup). However, if we are getting ready to go out of town and I don’t have time for any of the above ideas, I freeze my excess milk.
Freeze milk in quantities that you are most likely to use. Squeeze out as much of the air as you can and freeze it as flat if possible. Once it is frozen you can store the milk in the little nooks and crannies in your freezer.
Thaw frozen milk and use it as you normally would in your cooking and baking. I have actually used previously frozen milk in every recipe listed above.
How do you use up milk that is about to expire?
Alea Milham shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home at Premeditated Leftovers. She is committed to providing her family with homegrown, organic produce despite living in an inhospitable climate. Alea chronicles her gardening efforts at One Determined Gardener.