Welcome to my musings on home, health and hearth in the light of Christ.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Of Milk and Man

Before beginning our NT/WAPF Journey, we obviously ate a SAD, though we did try to eat 'healthy'.  When it came to dairy products, we bought 3-4 gallons of milk per week for drinking & cooking, a couple blocks of cheddar, a block of mozzarella, a large container of plain or flavored yogurt (mostly for the kids), a half gallon of ice cream, and half-and-half for our coffee.  Somewhere around $50, I think, sometimes more, sometimes less.

When changing to a more mindful NT type diet, one of the first things I did was look into Raw milk.  I was easily convinced that pasteurization 'kills' the milk.  We are blessed to have found a dairy nearby (about 10 mins away) that offers raw milk for sale.  If you bring in your own containers for her to fill it costs $7 per gallon.

Then a friend told me of a friend of a friend who had a cow.  This woman usually has 1-2 extra gallons of raw milk per day, and would I like to buy a gallon once per week?  The cost is $3 per gallon!

So, all told, I spend between $10-$17 per week just for raw milk, depending on whether I buy 2 gallons or 3.  It seems like a lot, considering I was spending around $3 per gallon for regular, pasteurized milk.  Until....

That lovely cream rose to the top of that milk.  Skimming it, I decided to make whipped cream...which promptly turned to butter.  (I can't make whipped cream from raw milk to save my life!)  When my wonderful husband bought me the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid Mixer, I was in heaven!  So, out of each gallon of milk, I get around a pint of cream, leaving me with a quart or two in total.  I use one pint in my coffee during the week, the other I use to make butter for our bread. (I buy baking butter in sticks because it's easier to measure).  If I happen to have enough and we need it, I make ice cream with a pint of cream instead of using it in my coffee.  The result of butter, especially the cultured kind, is buttermilk - used for baking and all kinds of yummy things.

Obviously, we use about a gallon for the kids to drink, but not as often as we used to.  They are each allowed 1 cups of milk per day, usually with Breakfast and Dinner.  They get plenty of other dairy in cheeses and yogurt.

A quart of milk can be used to make yogurt.

And finally another gallon can be used to make...cheese.  Oh my.  I made salted cheese curds yesterday, and they were fantastic!  Tasted mild and clean like fresh mozzarella.  I can now make my own mozzarella for pizza!  The result of that cheese is a lovely thing - whey.  This whey can be used again...to make Ricotta cheese.  The result of the Ricotta is more whey - but this whey is a nearly worthless kind that is good for baking and the like.  There are a few minerals in there, so I'll keep it for that.

I listed certain things as being 'free' since they are a natural result of other processes.

So now maybe you can see - in reality what may seem to cost more money may actually save money.  If you compare gallon-to-gallon, the cost of a gallon of raw milk is higher than the cost of pasteurized milk.  However, if you use your brain, learn a few new skills and take a little time you can save hundreds of dollars per month.  Obviously these figures may be different where you are, and you may be lucky enough to break even in the end, but the quality of the food you're eating is completely worth the time and money it takes to produce it.

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