Goat milk is a good resource during emergencies. Goat milk is an excellent source of protein. It can also be a base ingredient for dairy products like cheese.
The longevity of goat milk, both raw and pasteurized, depends on numerous factors. Refrigerated goat milk can last anywhere between 3 days to 6 days. On average, goat milk can last from 3 to 10 days in the fridge. Pasteurized goat milk can last up to 6 months in the freezer.
The way you handle goat milk upon harvest largely affects its longevity. There are two main factors that affect how long goat milk lasts: cleanliness and pasteurization.
The cleanliness of the goat, the udders, and your working space largely affects the longevity of the milk. Make sure to harvest from a clean goat. Her udder must appear clean with no signs of infection or pus. Milk the goat in a clean environment. Wash your hands before milking the goat. The containers and equipment you use must also be washed prior to milking.
Before you pour the milk into the storage container, strain the milk for any clumps, hair, dirt, or bugs. Use a disposable milk filter or a stainless-steel strainer. It’s advisable to use glass jars or bottles because they’re more resistant to bacterial growth. They’re also very easy to sterilize. For every rinse, use two tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide dissolved in water to clean the glass containers.
After straining and storing, chill the milk immediately to stop the growth of microorganisms that cause spoilage. The temperature must be kept between 35 to 38 degrees. Avoid any fluctuations in the temperature, which means that you should be consistent in its setting. Make sure to keep the milk out of direct sunlight or harsh fluorescent lights.
Pasteurization helps extend the milk’s shelf life. This eliminates a number of harmful bacteria that makes the milk safe for consumption, especially for kids. The only downside is that it also kills the good bacteria that your body can benefit from. It can also alter the flavor of the milk.
You can only drink raw milk if you are a hundred percent sure that the goat is healthy. If not, pasteurize the milk to extend its shelf-life and to make it safe for consumption.
Pasteurized milk can last up to six months in the freezer. To achieve this maximum longevity, make sure to place the milk at the bottom of the freezer. This will shield it from the warm air that will enter the freezer every time you open the freezer door.
How To Pasteurize Goat Milk At Home
Place the milk in glass jars or double boilers. Place it inside the pasteurizer or canner and then heat it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for only fifteen seconds. Cool the milk immediately by placing the milk in a container, and then placing the container in an ice bath. You can do this in the sink by filling it up with water and some ice. Keep the milk container covered to prevent water from getting in.
Make sure to avoid placing the jars in the refrigerator or freezer right away as the sudden shift in temperatures may cause the glass to break. Placing the warm milk directly in the fridge will also make the cooling down process so much longer, hence giving the microorganisms a chance to grow and to cause spoilage. Store the milk in the refrigerator once cooled.
How To Get Goat Milk
Not all goats produce milk. Milk is exclusive to female goats or does. They need to get pregnant first and give birth to babies before they can produce milk. There will be a lot of milk immediately after giving birth but the amount will dwindle throughout the year.
The best time to harvest goat milk is during the spring which is the typical mating season. You can milk a doe while she is pregnant. You just need to let her dry up two months before she’s due to give birth so that she can make room for nutritional reserves that will nourish her offspring.
When the baby goats are already two weeks old, make sure to separate them from the mother goat during the night so that the goat can replenish its milk supply. When the baby goats are eight weeks old, you can now milk the mother goat both during day and night.
The best milking goats are dairy breeds like Nubian, Alpine, La Mancha, Oberhasli, Saanen, Sable, Toggenburg, and Nigerian Dwarf.
How Much Milk Do Goats Produce?
During peak production, a goat can produce up to half a gallon of milk per day. That totals to fifteen gallons per month. About five to six months after giving birth, the amount of milk will go down to around six cups per day. The total will be eleven gallons per month. At the 8th to 9th month after birthing, the amount will go down to seven gallons per month.