How to Can Milk and Why You Should


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Hannah Hemen

Now I may not be an expert canner, but I’m learning! A few months ago I joined the Rebel Canners group on Facebook and am now OBSESSED by it. I could spendhours scrolling through the group. There is so much to learn, so many tips and tricks for canning and other food preservation methods. Everytime I look at the group I learn something new, and my favorite part about the group is that everyone is super nice and supportive in it. If you aren’t part of the group already but have an interest in canning, I highly suggest it!

One day I came across a post on canning milk and was instantly intrigued. I mentioned it to my boyfriend and he wanted to try it out right away. It took some time but I finally managed to get him to agree to waiting until I could get milk some place cheaper than our local grocery store where it’s over $4 a gallon. That evening on my way home I stopped at the grocery store to do my weekly on-sale and coupon-filled shopping trip where I discovered all milk was on sale for 99 cents a gallon! I couldn’t believe the believe the timing! Needless to say, I bought 10 gallons… The next day I spent the entire day canning and ended up with a total of 44 quarts of canned whole milk.

Canning milk is a fairly easy process but it is a bit different than usual methods. To begin, you want to make sure your jars are well cleaned and sterile. I typically just wash them with hot soapy water. A lot of people will boil their jars or put them in the oven to ensure they’re sterile. I used quart jars but you can use any size you want. Once they’re ready, you’ll want to let the jars cool to ensure they don’t crack when adding cool milk. I took the milk out and left on the counter to let it warm up a bit while I prepared the jars. While the jars are cooling, boil the lids in a pot of water for 5 minutes.

Next, fill the jars with milk leaving about 1/2” headspace. You’ll want to make sure the jar rims are clean after filling. I always use a canning funnel and wipe the rims with a towel. Use a magnetic lid lifter to grab a lid out of the boiling water. Place the lid on the jar and screw on the ring. Fill your canner with cool water according to your canner’s instructions. If you aren’t sure, I typically fill my canner with about 2.5” or 3 quarts of water. Place each jar in the canner.

Now the fun part! Secure the lid on your canner and allow the steam to vent for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drop the weight on the vent and bring up to 10 pounds of pressure. Once it reaches 10 pounds, hold the pressure for a minute or two then remove the canner from its heat source. When the pressure gauge is back to zero, you can open the lid and remove the jars.

The milk should stay fairly white using this method, but there may be a slight brown color. The longer you leave the canner at 10 pounds of pressure, the more brown the milk will look. It won’t hurt the milk at all but it may affect the flavor slightly.

So now the moment you’ve all been waiting for.. Why should you even can milk? I don’t know about you, but we go through a lot of milk. My boyfriend drinks a glass with every meal and I use it all the time when cooking. We may have a slight milk addiction. So when the idea of canning milk was discovered I had to try it. Once canned, milk is shelf-stable for up to 2 years! No refrigeration necessary, meaning I can stock up when it’s on sale and not have to worry about have room in the fridge. Canning also doesn’t affect the flavor of milk, although some say it tastes a bit creamier after being canned. I love always having milk on hand now and the ease of it is well worth it for us.

Have you canned milk before? If so, we would love to hear your methods!

Hannah Hemen

Hannah Hemen

Hannah's favorite topics to write about include DIY projects, her favorite recipes, and life's adventures. When not working on building her business empires, you can usually find her on an adventure with her dog, Dakota or starting a new batch of homemade wine.


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