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Pasteurizing Goat Milk and Keeping It Fresh

If you're raising and milking goats as part of a green lifestyle, you'll want to keep your milk fresh and to pasteurize it. The best way to keep milk fresh is to drink it as soon as possible. But even before that, whether you pasteurize your milk or drink it raw, you need to start out with the best quality possible.

Starting with good milk means keeping it free of bad bacteria and other contaminants when you milk. To do this, you need to

  • Make sure that the goat and her udder are clean.

  • Milk in a clean environment; make sure your hands and equipment are clean.

  • Strain the milk into a glass or stainless steel storage container right after milking.

  • Chill the milk as soon as possible after milking to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the milk that contribute to spoilage.

  • Keep the milk out of direct sunlight or fluorescent lights, which can lead to off-flavors and loss of nutrients.

Pasteurization extends milk's shelf life and is also the only way that you can make milk from a goat with a chronic disease safe for feeding to kids.

Unfortunately, pasteurization also destroys good organisms rather than just targeting the bad ones. And it changes the flavor of the milk, and of cheese made from pasteurized milk.

Many people prefer their goat milk raw if they know that their goats are healthy. If you plan to drink raw goat milk, don't use antibiotics or other drugs on your milkers, and handle the milk carefully. If you have milk from a goat with CAEV but want to feed it to bottle babies, you must pasteurize it.

To pasteurize milk, follow these steps:

  1. Put milk in a double boiler or in jars in a pasteurizer or canner and heat to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.

  2. Cool the milk as quickly as possible, but make sure not to put the hot jars in cold water or they will break.

  3. Store the milk in the refrigerator.

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