Shelf Safe Milk {Getting the 411}

by Cate on August 7, 2013


To say Madeline drinks a lot of milk is like Noah, looking at the weather forecast, saying “Hmm, looks like a chance of rain.”

In other words, the understatement of the century.

Her brother was never like that when he was younger, and barely drinks it now (but gets heaps of calcium via cheese, yogurt, and other dairy items).

She has a glass in the morning. One after camp (or school). One more with dinner. And she’d have even more than that if I’d let her.

So the fact that we have shelf safe milk in our pantry should come as no surprise.

I mean, I could have a cow in the back yard and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Having shelf safe milk always ready means that I never rarely run out of milk. Because it’s sitting there, ready in a pinch. For those that might be new to the term “shelf safe milk,” it combines pasteurized milk with an ultra high temperature (UHT) and then, once placed in these special Tetra Pak cartons, the milk doesn’t need refrigeration until it’s opened.

It’s kind of a beautiful thing.

And it has saved my hide on countless occasions.

Beyond our obvious need with my five year old milk monster, it’s been the perfect thing to pack for road trips. Since it doesn’t need refrigeration until it’s opened, I just pack it alongside our snacks, saving valuable cooler space for other items. Since Madeline likes her milk on the rocks, when I put ice in the cooler, I put it into sandwich bags, so it keeps everything in the cooler cold, and when she wants to drink the milk, I can use that ice in a cup for her.

I also love to have the shelf safe milk on hand because it’s the perfect thing to make smoothies with, or to add to a protein shake for me.

And when we lost power for eight days during Hurricane Sandy? We had milk without worries.

Last week, I attended a briefing session to find out more benefits on shelf safe milk and, well, they’re plentiful:

  • It’s processed the same way as “regular” milk, it’s just packaged differently
  • It will last up six to nine months on your shelf, refrigeration free
  • The packaging is 70% paper; aluminum foil is used to keep out oxygen and prevent spoiling; the thin layer of plastic on the outside is BPA-free
  • The package is recyclable
  • No preservatives added

There are a variety of brands and flavors available, so it should be easy to find shelf safe milk near you (here’s a cheat sheet to get you started).

Follow Milk Unleashed on Pinterest for recipe ideas, lunch box suggestions, and even DIY projects reusing the milk cartons. And be sure to visit their web site for tips, news, downloadable games, fun snack ideas, and even cow calendars.

And, of course, all this talk about milk reminds me about cows, and one of my favorite posts from a few years ago … oh that little baby! She’s still just as crazy about cows now as she was then (and, in fact, has several cow photographs hanging in her room).

Tomorrow? A new-to-us restaurant review.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne August 8, 2013 at 6:16 am

I’ve never actually had shelf stable milk (other than almond milk) but it’s good to know that it’s actually tasty!
Joanne recently posted..Creamed Corn with Garam Masala


sharon August 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Do you send this with a packed lunch for Madeline? My son, also 5, loves milk also and we’ve been trying to figure out how to keep the milk habit going with school packed lunches. We’ve thought about either packing milk in a thermos (would have to be easy to clean) or using shelf stable milk. Or we could just drink more milk after school to make up for lunch and send water for lunch, which he also loves and would be much easier. Thanks for the timely post!


Cate August 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm

On regular school days, I don’t send milk because the school has a milk program. On field trip and special days, I do, though, and this shelf safe milk is what I send. It makes it easy since it doesn’t need the refrigeration. In theory, I could send her with a lidded cup with ice, since that’s how she prefers her milk, but, well, you know how five year olds are with spills …


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