For those who aren’t familiar with raw milk, the first reaction when hearing the term would be something like, “What? Milk is already raw!” Well, yes, milk is technically raw but what raw milk actually is, is milk that is bottled directly from the cows’ udders without undergoing pasteurization.
Raw milk advocates claim that raw milk contains many beneficial bacteria and other nutrients that are destroyed during the pasteurization process. While many anti-raw milk pundits will claim that the perceived health benefits of raw milk are overshadowed by the potential dangers of pathogens that may be present, it is good to remember that before the advent of pasteurization, people have been consuming raw milk for centuries. A caveat, though, if you do go for raw milk, consume it immediately.
Raw Milk Trivia
- For dairy farmers, the day begins with milking cows and ends with milking cows.
- June is considered National Dairy Month.
- Farmers measure milk by weight and not by volume, that being said, a gallon of milk weighs 8.59 pounds.
- It takes around 350 squirts to make a gallon of raw milk.
- It is believed that raw milk contains many beneficial bacteria that are destroyed during pasteurization.
Raw Milk Buying Guide
The good news first: Raw milk that is sold is usually just hours old from being milked from the cow/goat.
More good news: There’s no large-scale commercial production of raw milk, so you’re assured that the raw milk you’re purchasing is guaranteed to come from small family farms with humanely raised livestock.
Even more good news: It’s legal in Texas to sell raw milk!
Now the not so good news: You have to go to the farm to buy it. I guess that’s not all bad news as you can make an experience of it. Make it a trip to stock up on other organic goods like veggies, fruits, jams, jellies, and other farm products.
Raw Milk Production & Farming in Texas
Raw milk in Texas is technically legal, but the only place you can legally purchase it is at the farms where they are produced. So no, you cannot purchase raw milk in farmers’ markets or specialty stores. The good news though, is that here in Texas Real Food, we have the most comprehensive list of farms all over the state that produce and sell raw milk so you can easily find the nearest farms to you.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Since raw milk comes directly from the udder to the bottle (or glass!), you won’t have to worry about any pesticides, additives, and chemicals. What you do have to check though is the condition of the cows and the practices of the farmers who produce the raw milk.
This is pretty easy to do though, as the only way to get raw milk is to go to the farm that produces it. Another good thing about purchasing raw milk directly from the farmers is you’ll have a chance to learn more about your food, how it’s grown, and forge real connections with the people who grow your food.
Raw milk comes in glass bottles, which you can re-sterilize and have refilled by the producer.
Enjoying Raw Milk
Raw milk is best consumed immediately. Since it hasn’t undergone pasteurization, it’s best to drink the raw milk while it’s still extremely fresh so you can enjoy the freshness of the milk.
Of course, you can also use raw milk in any recipe that calls for the usage of regular milk.
Be very careful when storing raw milk. Store in the coldest part of the fridge and consume within three days.
Make Your Own Raw Milk Butter:
Since raw milk still has all its good bacteria, what better recipe to make than traditional butter the way it was originally made?
Raw Milk, ½ gallon
Transfer the raw milk to a wide-mouth container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours for the cream to rise to the top.
Sterilize a large glass jar and the lid. Sterilize a ladle or a spoon as well.
Skim the cream off of the top and place it into the sterilized jar.
Let the cream “ripen” for up to 12 jars inside an insulated cooler and fill with enough warm water to reach at least halfway up the jar.
Once the cream has ripened, chill the jar in an ice bath for about 10 minutes.
Shake the jar vigorously for 10-12 minutes until the jar feels heavy or dense. You should see bits of butter starting to stick on the sides of the jar.
Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and strain the mixture.
Keeping the butter in the cheesecloth, dip the butter/cheesecloth in ice water until the water runs clear.
Knead the butter with a wooden spoon and season with your choice of seasoning.
Enjoy your butter!
Note: You can store your raw milk butter for up to three weeks.