Fresh Milk

As a youngster, I was around fresh milk constantly. From late elementary school through college and early in my teaching career, I was near to dairy cattle and their products.

Prior to my high school career, we milked dairy cattle by hand. Also, we processed their milk, cream, and butter by hand. Then, we marketed those products as well. Later, when we opened a dairy farm, we joined a dairy cooperative. Then, we were involved in only producing milk. The cooperative handled the processing and marketing.

When we were involved in the smaller scale dairying, I was introduced to using fresh milk and other homemade dairy products. We would keep fresh milk in the refrigerator. After about a day, the cream would rise to the top of the jug on the milk. The cream would be used for cooking or to make butter.

I personally liked to eat breakfast cereal with raw cream. When using the real stuff, I found no need to add sugar or other sweetners.

Later, when we had the full scale dairy operation, we would sanitize a wide-mouth gallon jug. We would dip the jug into the large milk tank cooler. Then, we would wipe the jug down and take it to the house to keep in the refrigerator. That way, our family still enjoyed fresh milk.

Commercially, milk is processed several ways. Pasteurization is one of these methods. Named for Louis Pasteur, it is used to kill harmful microorganisms by heating the milk for a short time. Then, it is cooled for storage and transportation. Pasteurized milk is perishable, so, it must be stored cold by retailers and consumers. Expiration dates are printed on each container. This date informs stores when to remove any unsold milk from their shelves, or, lets consumers know to dispose of milk after a certain date.