The Weston A. Price Way

Monday, March 21, 2011

Raw Milk, How do I Love Thee? (Let me count the ways...)

The most healthy milk comes straight from the source!
Yes, I'm back here again. Back on the 'raw milk thing'. But truly, I cannot help myself. I love sharing good news with people. I don't write to create converts, even though to you, it may feel that way. I just love sharing good news. As I discover more about God's real foods and time-proven preparation methods that squeeze the best nourishment out of those foods, I get so excited, I just have to tell somebody.

I just can't keep from spreading the news that this is something that is helping my husband and I feel better. So, I share our good news by talking to those who want to listen in my every day life and by writing here, where I hope eventually, more will come to read.

If you are a processed food eater who has stumbled upon this blog and you end up deciding to modify your eating habits a bit after reading anything I write here, so much the better...for you.

I've been away a little while as my computer was on the blitz, but in that time, I have continued with my classes at GNOWFGLINS. There, I am currently learning more about yogurt, kefir, and cheese making...all from my weekly dividend of raw milk. In the lesson on 'just like the store yogurt', the guest instructor, Katie, stated that she had figured out that by making yogurt, she saves her family about $300.00 a year. After my second try at yogurt making, I was successful, and my mind was free to wander a bit off the focus of just getting it right. That's when I remembered what Katie said about saving money.

I have to admit that I haven't always been victorious over the guilt-bug that tells me I'm over-spending in the dairy department. As I'm sure you know, in the grocery stores, we have the basic hormone- and antibiotic-containing milks that are both pasteurized and homogenized. These are at the lowest end of the cost totem pole, regardless of whether they are non-fat, partially, skimmed, or whole. There is a reason for this low cost. Then, we get the ones that are hormone and antibiotic-free. The non-addition of these two items costs you a couple dollars more. Every now and then, you might get lucky enough to find milk that hasn't been subjected to the final humiliation of homogenization. The lack of that process will cost another dollar or two per gallon, but it's definitely worth it for the cream on top.

And right there, some of you just said, "Whoa!" I'm going to pay extra for fat!? And the Nourishing Traditions answer to that is that this fat is GOOD for you, and when you read the facts on saturated fat there, you will discover that contrary to the bologna we've been fed over the years (pardon the pun) about fats, this is totally true. But I'm not here for debate, I'm here to tell you what I found out about my grocery money.

As we continue to climb the milk scale, we next find 'lightly pasteurized' milk that has been heated to the lowest degree possible to be allowed to pass as pasteurized. This milk hasn't been subjected to 'violent' pasteurization, and because of this, some of the beneficial enzymes have survived. This is often non-homogenized as well. This is the best, next to raw milk and you will, of course pay for that quality.

So, we eventually get to the cream of the crop, (there is a reason 'cream of the crop' means the best, you know), and that is unadulterated but clean, raw milk. The enzymes and beneficial bacteria thrive within, as well as perhaps as much as 3 inches of cream.

This is what I use, from my cow that a local farmer keeps, tends and milks for me. I am paying for my part of this cow, (I share in it's cost with others), and the cost of her shelter and superb farmer and vet care. (It's how we roll with our cowshares here in Virginia.) My husband and I absolutely love the taste and the benefits drinking our cow's milk brings us.

But still, the cost of food and board is quite a bit above the cost of just going to the store to pick up a gallon of milk, so I have sometimes had to re-talk myself into the benefits.

This is true no more, thank you, Katie.

As I said, Katie inspired me. I sat down and put a few numbers together. When I figured out how much I am saving by making my own yogurt and butter, (still leaving plenty of cream to help with the absorption of the milk's nutrients), I immediately saw that I was only paying a little over $2.00 more per week than I used to when I purchased store milk...and that was the cheap kind. That was enough, but then I remembered that I also make cream cheese about every other week from yogurt. Not only do I get the cheese from the procedure, but whey as well. Whey is long-lasting in the fridge and I use it in many of my soaked grain recipes-several times a week.  There's also the occasional batch of creme fraiche, a type of sour cream that's more cultured and not as thick as the kind bought in the stores. And let's not forget that wonderful-for-biscuits, buttermilk!  Also, I probably make whipped cream as much as once each month, too. Then, there's the greatest probiotic offering of all, (about 9x more than yogurt)...kefir. I just learned how to make that at GNOWFGLINS, and am sure I'll be adding it to our weekly foods.

So now, we come out, not barely behind, not just neck-and-neck, but ahead of the game both financially and gut-wise. It really is enough just knowing we are building immunity as we build the flora of our intestines. It is enough knowing we are not consuming what has been proven to be toxic synthetic vitamins A & D when consumed in their non-natural states. It is enough knowing we are absorbing all the nutrients milk affords. Really, it is enough.

But it turns out, we're saving bucks while saving our guts...How great is that?

It's so good to know that on the money end of things, raw milk is literally worth every penny. And 'old Nana' that I am, I guess I might be a little on the naive side because I still believe if this kind of news makes me happy, it's going to make you happy, too.
Just for fun, I'm adding a few pictures to today's post of some of the ways I use our raw milk:

Buttermilk is the 'whey' product from butter making. Some love to drink it just as is, but most of us Southerners know it's a great ingredient to add to biscuits. In fact, it just might not be 'real' Southern without it. And if you happen to have some tough meat, try soaking it in this...You'll  chew the difference!

Herbed Cream Cheese is simple to make just by adding your choice of herbs to the cheese made by 'hanging', (a type of slow strain), yogurt. Other ways to enjoy it are as-is, mixed w/honey or homemade jams, spices such as cinnamon, or even small bits of fruit such as pineapple. I have discovered that leaving it alone in the fridge for about a week after making causes it to taste milder with less 'twang'.
Cream for Coffee...I learned via GNOWFGLINS that the topmost cream is the thickest and best for butters & whipped cream, while the bottom 'layer'...the part closest the milk best for mixing into warm beverages.


Heavy Cream for Butter making or even Whipped Cream!
I never use all the cream from a jar, because the fat is so important
to the assimilation of milk's nutrients. Instead, I ladle a little off the
top of several jars, sometimes over a couple of week's time.
Remember, raw milk does not spoil, but instead, cultures...And culturing
actually increases it's nutritional benefits!

Butter Spread from raw butter & coconut, flax, sesame & EVO oils.

Whey is the by-product of strained yogurt (see the cheese above.) It is useful in soaking grains & beans to neutralize phytic acid by releasing enzymes. It is also full of protein and therefore a great addition to soups and other recipes. It has preserving powers so it adds shelf-life when added to such things as bread recipes and mayonnaise. Don't confuse it with powdered whey. It's value and purity far exceeds that!

Creme Fraiche adds richness to all sorts of dishes, just as our typical sour cream does. It is a creamy, smooth and delicious cultured cream.


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