Breakin' The Law: Raw Milk

Raw milk sales in 28 of the 50 states are perfectly legal. Michigan, is not one of those states. In fact they have some of the most strict laws here in the Great Lakes state. Since 1948, raw milk sales have been illegal here. What's not illegal is consuming raw milk from your own cow.

So since we won't be adding a cow to our long list of pets here on the one acre in town ranch, how is it that we can consume raw milk legally?

A good question. And the answer varies from state to state.

Why raw milk? Why now? Why not?

Pasteurization not only kills off the good bacteria that is naturally in milk, but also kills off the enzymes that some of us need to process lactose. Due to my intolerance, we've been buying two kinds of milk for some time - organic and lactose-free. While the lactose-free milk does not wreak havoc on my digestive system, it is kinda like consuming white sludge. Result? I could never drink it straight. Cereal and cooking only really. I could only drink a glass of it if I laced it with chocolate syrup.

So we're keeping two kinds of expensive milk - both of which can be difficult to get a the grocery store. The solution? Raw milk. Beautiful, delicious, raw milk.

For about 70% of those who are lactose intolerant, switching to raw milk will solve your issue. It did for me. We discovered this after trying some raw milk from a friend. After that, and discovering how amazing it tastes, it was only a matter of time before we signed up. Now, we are the proud owners of half a cow share - allowing us one and a half gallons per week.

But wait - What's a cow share?

Imagine buying stock in a company. By doing that, you now own part of that company. Usually, that amounts to about 0.000006% of ownership. Our half-share gives us, by my estimates, gives us 3.4% ownership, by which we have rights to 3.4% of the milk which comes out to one and a half gallons per week. Now we still have to pay for the milking of the cow. The cost is comparable to the price of organic milk at the grocery store, except here, all of the profit goes to the farmer - not a bunch of middle men. I like that.

The best part? Everything you can do with it.

Now raw milk doesn't come to you like that processed stuff from the grocery store - its' raw. Not pasteurized. Not homogenized. And that's just the way we like it. For one, you can decide how you like the milk - skim, 2%-ish, whole - as the cream is resting on top. That's right, you can skim it to your taste, and best of all, have the cream to use elsewhere. More on that later. Also, it's all intact, just the way God intended it to be. Enzymes, good bacteria... in their absence, bad stuff comes in. Leave a bit out in a cup for a few days along with a cup of it's processed counterpart. The difference is amazing.

By now, you've figured out how important quality food is to us. Raw milk is no exception. We subscribe to the theory that if you have the best ingredients, you don't need all the fancy recipes and seasonings. The simplest dish will stand on it's own. Here is a few things we have made with our raw milk that have absolutely rocked our world.

Butter: As much as the Mrs. would enjoy it, we aren't doing this with an old fashioned butter turn like her Grandmother's. No, no, you can make this in you food processor or blender. Just add cream, and switch it on. After about 5 minutes, it will 'pop' and solidify, taking on that distinctive yellow color (yes, real butter is quite yellow). And the taste? It tastes like butter is supposed to taste and that spreadable garbage in the tubs will never fully emulate. I'll take it a step further. Take that fresh butter and stir in a bit of sea salt for the only spread you'll ever need for crackers or bread.

Ice cream:
You've seen the Mrs.'s blueberry ice cream (which was amazing), but we didn't stop there. At a gathering with friends, we brought our ice cream maker and ingredients. Cream (from raw milk), raw milk, sugar, and eggs (from our hens). We made it on site and served it up fresh with our peach syrup. Our friends devoured every last drop. Now, back to our theory from above - notice what was missing from the ingredient list? Flavoring! No vanilla, no chocolate, no fruit, no nuts. It is actually the Ben and Jerry's Cream Base recipe which is intentionally unflavored. No one noticed.

Whipped Cream: Add a little sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks. This stuff is thick and rich.

Yogurt: Some friends of ours get raw milk solely for making yogurt. There are several ways to do this.

Oh, and it's pretty awesome just to drink too.

So, just how deliciously illegal is raw milk? Very.

Ever tried it? Ever wanted to?


AmyRobynne said...

I'm not quite comfortable purchasing raw milk, but I buy pasteurized skim directly from a farmer who sells mostly raw milk. He has skim available because he also sells cream. I'm also able to get amazing bacon and all sorts of other animal products from him. We pay $2 for a half-gallon plus $1 bottle deposit. Love the glass bottles. Raw whole is $3/half gallon. I drive 30 miles round trip during morning rush hour so I can buy from him. I was on a waiting list for a year before I got on the list. We have our own chickens, too.

Jena said...

We too have half of a cow share which entitles us to 1 gallon per week. I don't like to drink it without pasteurizing it on the stove, mostly because the small herd it comes from has not had all the proper testing yet.

I usually don't bother pasteurizing it and instead use a lot in baking and cooking. I've also made mozzarella, butter, and ice cream. Yogurt is next!

We drink a lot of milk so we still buy a gallon or two from the store each week. I do think a milk cow is in our future but my husband suggested I learn how to use all that milk first. When we have our own and care for her ourselves I won't hesitate to drink it raw.

Anonymous said...

more links for that topic?
And Bye.

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