My son bought a milk cow. I know, how much fun is that! Of course he can’t go anywhere now because it has to be milked twice a day, but still – how much fun is that! He is actually using the milk to feed some calves that he also picked up, but they will someday grow up and then we will get to drink the milk.
What? Drink raw milk? When I was a kid we lived within walking distance (a country block) to a big time dairy farm where we would buy raw milk every day – one gallon for my dad and one gallon for the rest of the family (my dad really liked milk until he found out that he was allergic to it). We drank the raw milk until I was 11 years old when my little sister was born and the doctor begged my mom to have the family start drinking pasteurized milk.
I loved the raw milk with the cream rising to the top so rich and creamy. It was wonderful. But the pasteurized milk was safer and still very tasty. Some people claim that pasteurizing milk ruins the vitamins in it. But it doesn’t. Not really. If it does do anything then it isn’t enough to make a difference. Some of the vitamin C and K are lost, but people generally don’t drink milk to get their vitamin C or K.
The one thing that pasteurized milk does have that raw milk doesn’t have is vitamin D. That is because vitamin D is added as a supplement. Kind of like table salt has iodine added to make sure that we get enough in our diet. Adding the vitamin D to the milk and the iodine to the salt helps people get the recommended amounts needed to stay healthy.
Of course if you have a source of raw milk (like I will have someday soon) and would like to use it, the safest way to be able to consume it is to pasteurize it yourself. I looked it up and it really isn’t that hard to do. One way is to cook it in a double boiler at 145 degrees F. for 30 minutes or 161 degrees F. for just a few minutes – and then cool it down really fast. I went to the South Dakota State University Extension Service site and they had instructions that tell you exactly how to pasteurize your raw milk to keep you and your family safe.
If you are hard core about wanting to drink your milk raw, then know that there are some really nasty little bugs out there (Campylobacter and Salmonella) that can make you very sick and very miserable and have also been known to cause death. So be careful. Dairy cows can get infected and pass along the deadly bacterium, just like you sometimes get sick with a cold; it happens. These nasty illnesses can also be passed on to cheeses made with raw milk. Pasteurizing eliminates this problem and it just isn’t worth taking the chance. If you want to eat something raw, go eat an apple or some carrots.
I just can’t wait to start pasteurizing our own milk and make some good old fashioned cottage cheese or mozzarella cheese! Go old Betsy! (Actually, her name is Snickerdoodle.)