There were times when refrigerators didn’t exist, but milk was consumed even then. Refrigerators have really made man’s life easy. You can store anything you want in it and it extends the product’s life. So, how did people, earlier, managed to store a perishable product like milk? Even now, if due to certain reasons your refrigerator breaks, can you use early age methods to keep the milk safe? Or maybe, if you are travelling, how can you keep milk safe with you while travelling on certain days? Let’s look at some tips for storing milk at room temperature.
Why Does Milk Go Bad?
Milk basically contains lactose (a sugar found in milk), calcium, proteins, butterfat, and an enormous amount of water. If you break down these components you can get many more compounds. It is this sugar which causes milk to go bad. Milk contains naturally occurring bacteria. These bacteria are present in the milk which feed and multiple. They feed on the sugars contained in the milk i.e. lactose. Once the sugar level dips down, the pH balance of the product is disturbed and lactose is converted into lactic acid. Thus protein particles in the milk attract each other rather than repelling and lumps are formed. This can cause certain health issues if consumed like vomiting, etc.
It is very important to take care of milk as it is a perishable product. In early times, milk delivered to the people was fresh milk. It had to be consumed in a day. But during summers, it was very difficult to keep milk fresh for even one day. The technique which they used was to fill a bowl with cold water, place the milk pouch or bottle in the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth.
But everything changed with the invention of Tetra Paks. Milk which is pasteurised and sterilised can be stored at room temperature. Sterilising the milk kills all bacteria for milk while packing it. Thus, no bacteria multiplication will ensure that the milk stays good.
One more way of preserving milk at room temperature is to dehydrate it. Dehydration is the process of separating water from milk. After separation, liquid milk is turned into powdered milk (dairy whitener) and can be stored for months at room temperature.
Milk While Travelling
The main problem people face is while travelling, especially with a kid. Consumption of milk is very necessary for a kid. To counter this problem, many milk companies have come up with small 250 ml tetra packs or even small packs of flavoured milk (180ml). Tetrapaks usually do not need refrigeration until they are opened. If one carries a 1-litre pack, it usually goes waste. Thus it is more convenient to carry small packs which can be consumed wholly after opening.
Next time you are going on a long trip with a child, do not let the milk go bad on the trip. Or even if your refrigerator needs some repairs, keep your milk safe.