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Chat Leftovers: Milk on Ice

Happy Wednesday, all. Get psyched for another of our great Free Range chats. Assuming Lisa Yockelson wasn't up too late baking, she'll be joining us at 1, and we're also expecting Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad to check in.

Remember, if you can't be with us in real time, you can ask a question in advance right on the site and then check the chat transcript later.

Chances that we'll get to it are pretty good, but there are always more questions than we can handle. Hence this weekly feature, which today answers a leftover query about milk.

I was recently at a friend's house and noticed a couple gallons of milk in their freezer. When I asked, they said they just pop them in the fridge to slowly defrost. Is that doable? Does the milk taste the same?

Yes, it's doable, which is good news for shoppers who like to take advantage of sales by stocking up. There are a couple of caveats, though. First, milk expands when it freezes, so some people open the container, pour out some for immediate use and then freeze the rest. That creates expansion room and prevents breakage or leaking in the freezer, which would be no fun. Second, a gallon of frozen milk takes ages to defrost (in the refrigerator or under cold water), so I would opt for putting the milk in a smaller container.

Now, does it taste the same? If you shake the defrosted milk really well to deal with any separation that might have occurred, the taste is very similar. (Another good reason not to freeze it in gallons; not so shakeable.) Some people are bugged by a grainier texture, but again, a good shaking does wonders, especially if the milk is reduced-fat or skim.

And if you're just going to be cooking with the milk, chances are good that any difference will be masked once the milk is incorporated into whatever you're making. I freeze milk to make sure I've always got some on hand for oatmeal, and by the time it's cooked, I can't tell it ever spent time in a freezer.

So give it a try. It's a great backup when you're running out of milk and can't get to the store. Defrost and use it within a month or so, and it'll be fine.

-- Jane Touzalin

By Jane Touzalin  |  September 23, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
 | Tags: Free Range, Jane Touzalin  
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My sister-in-law used to do this and swore that shaking the defrosted milk was the key. She said she didn't taste any difference. Personally, I don't live that far from the store, so I just buy milk as I need it. One thing I have been doing lately is keeping evaporated milk on hand for cooking and baking. It makes excellent macaroni and cheese.

Posted by: margaret6 | September 24, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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