Raw milk in a clear glass.

So you’ve purchased some farm-fresh, raw milk from a local farmer. What should you expect? Raw milk is a little different than the pasteurized milk you’ll find in cartons at your local grocery store, so here are some things to keep in mind as you transition to raw milk.

Take It Slow!

If you’ve never had raw milk before, you might want to take it slow instead of chugging a full glass at once, just to make sure your body gets used to it. I’ve personally never had a problem, but I’ve heard multiple people suggest this, so it bears repeating here.

Yes, It’s Supposed to Taste Like That!

The taste of raw milk can be a little different if you’re used to processed milk. In fact, some people describe it as pleasantly tangy (especially the cream on top). This doesn’t necessarily mean the milk is spoiled! It shouldn’t smell or taste bad, to be clear. But fresh milk doesn’t taste the same as processed milk.

Plan for Glass Jars

Many farmers provide their milk in clean glass jars, which can be a little different if you’re used to dealing with milk cartons and jugs. Make sure you find a clear shelf in your fridge that will fit the jar, especially if it’s a taller one. If you really need the space, you can transfer the milk to smaller clean jars. This will introduce compounds from the air/surfaces into the milk, but this is an option if you really don’t have room for the bigger jar.

Finally, it can take some getting used to pouring out the milk from a large jar without a spout. If you keep spilling it over everything, use a ladle to measure out the milk you need, especially when the jar is full.

Enjoy that Delicious Cream Line!

This is one of my favorite parts about farm-fresh raw milk: the cream line! Most store-bought milk is homogenized, which means the milk is forced through tiny holes, which changes the structure of the cream molecules and combines it evenly throughout the milk.

With raw milk, you’re getting an unprocessed product, so the cream will naturally rise to the top as the jar sits undisturbed. Don’t let it worry you – it’s perfectly normal and absolutely delicious!

You have two options here:

First, you can simply shake or stir the cream into the milk.

Or, you can skim it off and use it for making whipped cream or butter. Delightful!

Raw Milk FAQs

How Long Does Raw Milk Keep?

Some sources say raw milk will stay fresh for 2-3 weeks. Personally, we usually find ours starts going “south” around the week or week and a half mark. It depends a lot on the storage conditions and how old the milk was when you received it.

What If I Can’t Use My Raw Milk Before It Spoils?

If you find your raw milk going bad before you use it, especially since it is somewhat of a seasonal item, you can freeze it for future use in some baked goods and other dishes. We freeze ours in quart freezer bags. The milk itself separates once it is thawed (some batches more than others), but it is still useful for some recipes.

What Can You Make with Raw Milk?

You can use raw milk just like regular milk.

Fun fact: If you leave raw milk on the countertop long enough, it will “clabber” and turn into a thick, smelly mixture.

If you have an abundance of milk, try making yogurt, kefir, or cheese! Cheese requires a remarkable amount of milk – you’d be amazed how much goes into it. The advantage of yogurt and kefir is that you can make them consistently, using your starters again and again, while cheesemaking is more involved of a process (especially if you’re making hard cheese like cheddar).

When all else fails, just make ice cream!

What is YOUR Raw Milk Question?

Drop your question in the comments, and I might just add it to the post. 🙂

Here are some tips for using raw milk for the first time. #rawmilk #RachelsRealFoodKitchen

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