Shopping for fresh milk in a grocery? What you would get is either of the two. UHT milk, disguised as fresh milk. Or reconstituted milk – powdered milk added with water plus others.
Because they are both liquid milk with the same packaging, they are on the same display shelf. If you are not mindful, it would be easy to make a mistake. Promotion and enticing packaging may further cloud your judgment.
Why only two? How about fresh milk and raw milk?
The problem is location and travel. For foods to be available to you, it needs to withstand the travel time. which may not be possible if you are living miles away from the dairy farm. Or you want to drink the milk at a later date.
I’ll put the reconstituted milk out of the way.
Raw milk could be the healthiest of all milk types. But the short shelf life and the dangers it may bring, outweigh the healthy side.
It only lasts for 7-10 days at 2.2-3.3°C. Higher temp speeds up souring thus making its shelf life even shorter.
Fresh milk undergoes pasteurization. But UHT milk is often marketed under the same name, although it has a different process.
Pasteurization kills 99.9% of microbes and makes the milk last for about 5 to 15 days in chilled storage. Milk undergoes a process called HTST – high treatment short time. Heats up the milk at 74°C for 15 seconds and then cools down rapidly to 4°C.
UHT – ultra heat treatment – brings the milk at 135°C for 2-5 seconds. Time is shorter but enough to destroy bacterial spores. And even more effective when repeated several times.
UHT may have reduced nutritional value. High heat is likely to destroy nutrients – like Vitamin B 12 and D – if it kills bacteria and its resistant spores. May also cause flavor changes thru Maillard browning reaction.
Before you become judgmental. Keep in mind that UHT and HTST focus on safety and shelf life extension. UHT milk may last from 40 to 60 days, with others claiming to have up to 3 months.
If you are on the healthy side. Choose, raw milk first, fresh milk second, and UHT milk last.
But if you’re focus is safety. Then UHT milk first, fresh milk second, and raw milk last
It’s fine to choose raw milk for both safety and health if you are near the dairy farm. And you’re familiar with their sanitation practices.
In my case, I’m only looking for one thing, the 100% milk written in the label.