Powdered Milk Storage Can Be Easy Once You Know How
Does your fresh milk ever go bad?
It does at my house. I hate that! When you have a small family like I do, it’s a constant chore to keep up with the expiration date. Yes, I’ve purchased half gallons and even pints, but we just don’t use it on a daily basis around here.
My solution? We use powdered milk for all our cooking needs. I find it so incredibly easy to use and I never have to waste fresh milk. For me it’s a win – win all around. Milk for cooking and it”s easy on the budget.
How to Store Powdered Milk
Both instant and non-fat powdered milk have a shelf life of up to 20 years if stored in a cool location with an average temperature below 75 degrees. If storage temperatures are higher, rotate products as needed to maintain quality. Powdered milk is subject to oxidation, which will create an off flavor that most people find distasteful.
Always choose a storage area that is dry and off the floor to allow for air circulation.
The packaging option that will yield the largest shelf life for powdered milk are #10 cans.
Once you have opened the can, the storage life reduces dramatically. An opened #10 can will only keep its shelf life for three to six months. Once I open a #10 can I transfer the contents to individual mason jars and use my FoodSaver to remove the oxygen.
From Utah State University: Dried milk must be stored free of moisture and oxygen. Mylar-type bags and #10 cans make good containers for large quantities. Canning jars are suitable for smaller quantities provided light is prevented from reaching the dried milk.
Other plastic containers are less suitable, e.g. food-grade buckets. Oxygen absorbers should be used to remove oxygen from containers to extend shelf life and minimize off-flavors. A 2U.S.U. study concluded that after 4-yr storage, NFDM samples stored in plastic bags (not Mylar-type) were statistically less acceptable than samples stored in cans. The form of milk (instant or regular) did not affect the length of time NFDM could be stored. Unacceptability of samples in the study was due to an oxidized/stale flavor.
Can powdered milk be stored in the freezer? Yes, it is safe to store in the freezer and, if you have the room, can be kept there indefinitely. Be sure to remove as much air as possible and seal tightly to avoid freezer burn and a funny taste.
Some Tips for Buying Powdered Milk
I used to purchase my milk from the LDS Home Storage Center – until they recently stopped selling it in #10 cans. They do sell powdered milk bags bags and lots of other great food stage items, and you do not have to be LDS to use the facility (they won’t even ask). You can search for a location close to you, or order online and have them ship it.
Still, storing your non-fat powdered milk in #10 cans will give you the longest shelf life. There are lots of other buying options out there, including our beloved Amazon. This particular case of 6 has great reviews with many saying it tastes just like normal milk.
You can also purchase Nonfat Dried milk in bulk from local distributors like Costco and SamsClub. These may come in a 25# bag or food grade bucket. Neither bag or bucket will be suitable for long term storage and must be repackaged.
In your search for the best powdered milk to buy, beware of those labeled “milk drink” like Morning Moo, which lists milk as the third ingredient and has only a fraction of the vitamins and minerals.
How to repackage a bulk purchase of 25# of dried milk
- -The goal is to break it down into smaller manageable sizes of about 12 cups. This is the amount you will find in a typical #10 can.
- -If you have access to a FoodSaver, repackage it into smaller portions and remove the oxygen. Then place these smaller bags in a 5 Gallon Food Grade Bucket. This will allow you to remove one package for use and not disturb the rest of the product. (side note: buckets are expensive! – see if you can find them locally on Craigslist)
- -Repackage into smaller size Mylar bags and place them in a food grade bucket. Be sure an add Oxygen Absorbers .
- -If you do not have access to a FoodSaver you can try using one gallon freezer zip bags with and 300cc oxygen absorber in each bag. This is not perfect but it will extend the storage life and is better than opening a complete 5 gallon bucket of dried milk every time you need to use some.
The Verdict – How do you store powdered milk?
BEST: #10 cans for the longest shelf life
OR: Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers (see Discount Mylar Bags or this link at Amazon 60/1 Gallon Mylar Bags 60/300cc Oxygen Absorbers)
ALSO: Canning jars, remove oxygen – keep them from exposure to light