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Canning Milk with Confidence: My Step-by-Step Guide

Disclaimer: The USDA has not approved the following method for canning milk. Therefore, canning milk can be risky and should be cautiously approached. While successfully done by many, the USDA has not tested it. Therefore, you should proceed at your own risk.

Before starting, it's important to note that only fresh or raw milk should be used for canning. If your milk is sour, do not use it for canning—any store-bought milk from whole to skim works. When done, the milk may be a darker cream or look a little light brown. No worries, that is just the caramelization of the sugars in the milk. Water-bathing milk is never recommended because milk is a low-acid food.

My canner is an electric canner, so my process reflects that. Always follow the canning directions of your canner.

My Steps:

  1. Start with thoroughly cleaned jars. Next, heat the jars in the canner as directed with the appropriate amount of water.

  2. Pour the milk into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue. Do not use vinegar to wipe the rims.

  3. Place the lids on the jars and tighten them with the screw bands, just finger tight, until you feel resistance.

  4. Place the lid on the canner and let the canner vent to release any trapped air.

  5. Turn on the canner and set the pressure to 10 pounds per square inch (psi). My electric canner adjusts pressure automatically, so this may vary for you. Once the proper pressure is reached, immediately shut off the canner to prevent overcooking and yellowing of the milk.

  6. Let the canner cool naturally until the lid can be safely removed.

  7. Use a jar lifter to remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel to cool for 24 hours.

  8. Check the lids to ensure they are correctly sealed. If the lids do not pop when pressed, the jars are safe to store in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Be sure to label and date the jars.

While canning milk can be risky and is not approved by the USDA, I and many others have successfully used this method by following these steps. In fact, I also have canned sour cream and cottage cheese using the exact steps above. Always consult a food safety expert with any concerns or questions.

Happy canning!

3 jars of canned milk
My canned milk- two 1/2 pints skim, 1 pint chocolate

1 Comment

Jan 12

Can I make cottage cheese or other such things from raw milk that I have canned

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