Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Frugal Feature; Dry Milk

Most of you who have even a small amount of preparedness items in your pantry usually have at least one can or package of dry milk. Many times it is there because someone or some list has specified that you must have at least some dry milk on hand. But for some unknown reason we hesitate to use it on a consistent basis. It remains in our mind as a storage item. Then too for many years dry milk has had a bad rap regarding its taste. Some of you (or your family) would almost gag – or croak - rather than drink straight dry milk. (* See below for the usual reason.) The dry milk of today is definitely a much tastier product than that of years past.

Today let’s eliminate some of those negatives and focus on the positive points of dry milk.

First let’s do away with one of the rumors; neither regular non-fat nor instant dry milk is more nutritional than the other. Instant dry milk is made from regular non-fat milk.

Dry milk is a budget bonus that is often overlooked. One reason is perhaps we don’t know how to readily use it in recipe preparation. It’s really quite simple. In any recipe that calls for milk, add measured dry milk to the other dry ingredients, and then add the proper amount of water with the liquids. If milk is used for drinking, either straight or with varying proportions of liquid “regular” milk, chill it thoroughly. If used “straight” you may wish to replace some of the sweetness that was removed during the processing. * This is why it usually tastes “blah” when compared to regular milk. One to two teaspoons of sweetener or sugar, or one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of light corn syrup or honey per half-gallon of milk should do the trick. (The word is OR not and J). Adjust the amount of sweeteners to your taste. Sometimes even a scant drop or two of vanilla will do the trick. Note: Do not use brown sugar or dark corn syrup, it will caramelize the milk, giving it a brown color.

To increase flavor and nutrition you may simply add dry milk to such dishes as casseroles, skillet dishes, meat loaves, etc. Dry milk automatically enhances and enriches quick breads, waffles, pancakes, muffins or biscuits. Dry milk is easy to use to enrich gravies, simply mix a small amount with the flour. It browns very quickly because of the milk. Then add your water, a small amount at a time to desired gravy consistency. A cup of tomato soup is delicious with a teaspoon of dry milk stirred into it.

You can make cottage cheese and cheese spreads. If you have or make a press you can even make harder cheeses.

Dry milk should be kept in a container with a tight fitting lid. Keep it as cool as possible. No, you don’t have to refrigerate it. If you leave it in a cardboard box or paper bag it can absorb the moisture from the air, becoming as solid as a brick. It can also absorb other flavors as well.

Make the most of the nutrition, convenience and economy of dry milk. With the budgets shrinking and buying power going out the window, dry milk is certainly one way to beat the high cost of eating!

Today’s challenge? Rethink dry milk; get it off the shelf and into your recipes. It will help your diet as well as your wallet. And of course, you can make chocolate milk very easily with dry milk.

Return to the Neighborhood


Melanie said...

Have you ever come across a source for dried rice milk? I've seen it as an ingredient, but can not find it available to buy.