I remember as a child staying at my friend’s house out in the country. In the morning we’d be sent up the driveway (and it was long) to collect the milk at the gate. Two big bottles of fresh milk would be waiting there.
Being a city girl I wasn’t used to seeing milk like this but I loved watching my friend take off the lid, stick in her finger to scoop out the thick cream that settled on the top, knowing full well that if we took too much we’d be in trouble when we got back to the house. Gone are those days!
Many people say that organic produce tastes ‘how it used to’ and milk is no exception. If you were born before the 1970’s, you’d remember how milk tasted; the first taste of organic milk will take you right back there.
The difference between organic and non organic milk is not just the taste. Research has shown that milk from organically reared cows contains higher levels of key vitamins and nutrients; these include 50% for vitamin E, 75% more beta-carotene, three times more antioxidants and higher levels of omega 3. As well as being a great source of calcium, organic milk is a natural, wholesome drink and great for kids (and for making cappuccinos!).
Before the organic milk gets to your fridge, this is the process of organic diary farming. Herds are supported with good nutrition and care, produced without harmful pesticides, artificial hormones and antibiotics. Cleaning products for the milk collection vats are still used, but they are natural and safe.
Biodynamic milk comes from herds, again with no harmful pesticides, artificial hormones or antibiotics to boost milk production and the health of the herd is maintained by close observation, well-balanced feeding techniques and herbal and mineral-based treatments.
So, what is the difference between pasteurised and homogenised milk? Pasteurisation is the process of heating milk and cooling it quickly to destroy harmful micro-organisms that may be present. If milk hasn’t been pasteurised it must be labelled with a warning. There are two types of pasteurisation, heating milk to a minimum of 72 degrees Celsius for at least 15 seconds and the other is heating milk to 62 degrees Celsius for 30 seconds. The later method has less effect on flavour; however pasteurization has become the norm even if the process degrades the flavour of the milk.
Homogenisation is when the cream or milk fat that normally rises to form a creamy layer, is evenly distributed throughout the fluid. This process involves passing the milk under pressure through tiny holes, which makes the fat globules the same size so that they remain distributed throughout the milk. This has also said to affect the taste as the aromatic fat molecules are surrounded by almost flavourless proteins. Unhomogenised milk seems to have more flavour.
So, with all that information, we are still inundated at the supermarket with different types of milk; full cream, reduced fat, low fat, skim, UHT (ultra heat treatment) milk, plus non diary alternatives, there is no such thing as good old plain milk. Speaking from someone who has never been a fan of drinking milk as an adult, I can honestly say that I am a converted milk drinker after buying organic milk and the kids love it too.
Information source: Clean Food Organic, Volume 2.