My family drinks raw milk. Straight from the cow. Well, practically. The dairy farmer we buy from filters and tests and chills the product before it actually ends up in our fridge. My grandfather was a dairy farmer, and when we visited he would bring in fresh milk after the morning milking. The rest was sold. Little bit of nostalgia there for ya.
Few people my age have ever had raw milk since pasteurization has been around for roughly a hundred years. Everyone buys pasteurized milk, but do you really know what that means? It means that milk is heated to a certain temperature to kill gremlins which cause spoilage. It was implemented to extend the shelf life of milk and other food products before refrigeration was so easy. Sounds reasonable, but the problem with it is that a lot of good stuff is killed in the process, rendering milk, in particular, to a drink that has far less nutritive value than in its original form. Now that refrigeration is a standard, raw milk is far safer and more healthy than before. I drive no further to the dairy farm than I do to a grocery store.
Another term on store-bought milk is homogenized. That basically means that the milk from a bunch of cows from a bunch of farms is mixed together to form an end product. A hundred years ago milking practices were not pursued with, shall we say, cleanliness in mind. Therefore, homogenization kind of evened out the end product. Some bad milk from one farm got boosted a little with good milk from another farm. Then, the pasteurization trick killed all the yucky stuff. Not that it wasn’t still in the milk, mind you, just in a less evil form.
Raw dairy farmers today must abide by a strict health code to sell their product to consumers. I’m not aware of all the ins and outs, but I believe our friendly farmer performs weekly tests on his cows and milk to assure quality. Dairy farmers who sell to food producers do not have to conform to the same standards. I’ll just let you think about what that probably means.
Many food purists call pasteurized milk “dead milk”, and in a way it is. The beneficial organisms are killed along with the ones that contribute to spoilage. What’s left is not much more than white liquid. My kids call it shoe polish, and even my toddlers turn up their nose at it. On the other hand, raw milk, with the cream still incorporated, is a cause for much celebration and arguing over the first cup.
Now that I’ve given you a little, or a lot, of background on one form of natural food, I’d like to enlighten you on how the FDA considers this seemingly innocuous substance.
There are many stories like this in the US and Canada. Really, the government has nothing better to do than to drive family farms out of business and deprive consumers of their choice of food? Don’t get me started.
It might be eaiser to purchase milk from the store instead of making a weekly trip to the farm to pick up our order, but I consider it just one piece of our simple living goal. Eating well. Eating simple.
What do you think about milk. Raw or Boiled?