Food and Dining

Evaporated, and It Feels So Good

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about evaporated milk lately. Perhaps I need to find a hobby.

But in all seriousness, it appears several of you are curious as to whether or not you can use evaporated milk for reasons other than cooking. I’m speaking about drinking it, folks. Kindly get your minds out of the gutter! 🙂

Simply stated: evaporated milk is perfectly safe to drink.

Also known as dehydrated milk, evaporated milk comes in a can and is usually found in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. Be advised, it is sometimes rather pricey at your major chains. I’ve been told Oriental markets are a good place to get a can, usually for less than a dollar.

Nutritious and delicious... sort of.
Nutritious and delicious… sort of.

Evaporated milk is just that: fresh, regular cow milk, from which about 60 percent of the water has been evaporated. This is done through a special heating process, which is also the reason evaporated milk is often used in recipes; it doesn’t curdle when heated.

It should not be confused with sweetened condensed milk, which contains added sugar. You risk adding dozens of possibly unwanted calories if you opt for this version.

Evaporated milk can have a shelf life of months and sometimes years. It was most popular in the years before refrigeration, but even today, some people skip the dairy aisle altogether, opting instead for evaporated milk.

It should be noted, however, that this milk does have an expiration date, which is usually printed on the can. Again, I’m told the printed date can be “pushed” up to a month or six weeks past. If you’re going to drink evaporated milk, you should plan on using the whole can within a few days after opening, since it can ‘go bad’ just like real milk, if left untouched.

When my fridge died, I relied on evaporated milk for a few days to get the calcium and dairy intake I wanted, since even cheese and butter were off limits, due to lack of cold storage.

The taste is semi-sweet (like baker’s chocolate) and the milk is darker in color than the kind you’d get in the dairy aisle (picture ‘eggshell white’ as opposed to ‘plain white.’) Since (as earlier explained) the water has been taken out, I added a can of tap water before drinking.

The taste was not horrible. It was not the best thing I have ever had, and I would definitely opt for ‘jug’ milk whenever possible, but, as in my earlier predicament, it works if you’re in a bind, for ‘survival kits,’ camping, etc.

I had no gastrointestinal difficulties after drinking the milk, but you may not want to take it out on a date until you’re sure of what it will do to your own system! Enjoy your evaporated milk!

by Major Santiago | Food & Dining Editor | Residential Life Magazine


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