What do whole, semi-skimmed, skimmed, homogenised, condensed, evaporated, 1%, organic, UHT, soya, oat and nut all have in common? They’re all types of milk. It’s a very versatile liquid that is a staple in the diets of billions around the world. Because of its adaptable nature, it also has a great number of uses that extend far beyond simply drinking it.
Read on to find out more about milk and some of its uses.
What is Milk?
Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid drink that is commonly produced by the mammary glands of animals. In recent years milk alternatives have seen a surge in popularity, such as plant-based or nut milk. Most milk requires storage in fridges or it will go sour in less than a week, but long-life milk and milk alternatives can normally last longer outside of refrigeration.
Most mammal-made milk is pasteurised which involves heating it to a certain temperature to remove dangerous bacteria that are present in raw milk. The most common milk is from dairy cows, but many kinds of livestock can be milked. This includes goats, sheep, camels, donkeys, yaks, water buffalos and horses.
Some of the main types of milk include:
- Whole Milk – Whole milk is pasteurised but apart from that is not altered at all.
- Skimmed/Semi-Skimmed – This type of milk has fat removed from it to become lower in calories.
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk is made from the liquid leftover created in the process of making butter. It can also be made by mixing milk solids with skimmed milk and culturing with lactic acid.
- Soya Milk – Soy milk is a vegan alternative made from grinding soya beans.
- Nut Milks – Nut milks are made by soaking the nuts in water, then blending and straining them. Common types are almond, hazelnut, cashew, macadamia, walnut, coconut, pistachio and peanut.
- Oat Milk – Oat milk is made by soaking oats in water then blending until smooth
- Evaporated Milk – Evaporated milk has a reduced water consent, making it double the concentration of ordinary milk.
- Condensed Milk – Condensed milk is evaporated milk with sugar added to it.
- Flavoured Milk – Milk can be enhanced by adding a range of flavours. Popular choices are chocolate, strawberry and banana.
This isn’t even an exhaustive list. There really is a type of milk to suit everyone. Some kinds of milk are better suited for specific applications than others. So read on to find out which milks to use when.
Uses of Milk
The most common application for milk is drinking it! Some enjoy a whole pint of the stuff or adding to teas and cereals. Milk is very good for you, packed with nutrients such as calcium, potassium and vitamin D. It aids bone health and is a great source of quality protein. It can be mixed with other ingredients to make smoothies, milkshakes and other delicious beverages.
Milk is great to drink if you’re eating spicy food. It helps to soothe the sensation of heat by dissolving capsaicin, the ingredient that makes food so spicy. Water doesn’t dissolve capsaicin, so that’s why it’s best to pour yourself a glass of milk when eating something spicy.
Frothing milk is a great way to enhance a cup of coffee with warm foam. Oat milk is great for this, as it foams very well. A lot of milk alternatives have a barista version which is specially designed to froth better. The best way to make foam is with a milk frother, which can heat the milk to a set temperature over a predetermined amount of time.
Milk is an ingredient used in baking a wide variety of treats. Cakes and cookies are the two most common types of bakes milk is used in. Milk moistens the batter/dough and adds flavour, colour and protein to baked goods. Evaporated and condensed milk are popular options in many desserts.
A milk stout is a type of dark beer that is made by brewing beer with the addition of lactose sugar, which comes from milk. It can make beers sweeter, cutting through the bitter edge other stouts have. A lot of craft beer companies experiment with milk stouts, as it is a versatile beer with the potential for a diverse flavour palette.
Polish a Bag
Scuffs and marks can be cleaned off a leather handbag with ease using a little milk. Dip a rag in some milk, rub onto the scuff and stain then wipe down the leather with warm water.
Milk is a natural skin softener, so consider adapting it into your skincare routine. You can make a milk face mask by mixing powdered milk with water until it forms a paste, then applying it to your skin. If your hands feel rough, worn out or you have calluses, make a paste of milk and oatmeal to soften and soothe your skin. This will also get out any stains on your hands.
If you’ve been out in the sun too long, a mix of milk, water and salt will help relieve even the worst sunburn. Need a good makeup remover? Use milk as an alternative to store-bought versions. It will both clean and moisturise your skin. If you have sun spots, dark patches or other blemishes, milk can aid in the shedding of pigmented cells, brightening up your skin.
You can also add it to bath water as it is filling up for a full-body application. If you’re suffering from eczema, this is a great way to relieve your skin. A mix of milk, honey and nutmeg in a bath will create a relaxing and soothing experience.
DIY Shaving Cream
You can make your own shaving cream by using powdered milk. Mix the milk, water and some powdered sugar to make a paste that you can apply just like any other shaving cream. It’s perfect if you need a quick solution to shave with but can’t get to the shop.
Mixing milk with paint can give surfaces a vintage feel, with a saturated colour and translucent finish. It’s perfect if you want to make furniture have an antique look or just enjoy less vivid colours. Milk paint is available to buy, or you can make your own by mixing the juice of a lemon with milk and leaving it to curdle. Then strain through a sieve, add dry colour pigment to the curd and stir. The sour smell from the curdled milk will disappear as the paint dries, but painting outside will help to keep the smell out of your house.
Soaking silverware in milk can help remove any tarnish. Simply soak for about an hour, rinse with warm water then polish with a cloth. Your cutlery will look good as new in no time at all. This method only works for light tarnish, anything heavy will need a more powerful cleaning solution.
Milk can actually help mend cracks in china. Put the plate, cup or whatever is cracked in a pan, cover with milk and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer for around 45 minutes. The protein casein in the milk will mend the cracks good as new, acting as a binder.
You can water your plants with milk that is thinned with some water. Because of all the nutrients in the milk, it is great for the health of your plants. Do be careful not to use milk constantly, as this can offset the bacteria balance.
Milk on soil can also keep away certain insects, with the lactose acting as deterrence and spraying milk on leaves can give them bright, vivid leaves.
Pen burst on your clothes? Try leaving it overnight soaked in milk and then wash it as usual. The stain should come out easily.
For all your milk needs, shop with Freshways. We are the UK’s largest independent milk supplier, sourcing all our fresh milk from cows in the UK and stocking a range of milk alternatives for all dietary preferences. All our milk is of the highest quality, guaranteeing quick and reliable delivery to clients ranging from small cafes to large hotels.
As the largest independent family-run dairy product supplier in the country, we don’t just supply milk, having a range of cream, eggs, yoghurts, cheese, butter, spread, juice and bread on offer for our customers. So give us a call now on 0203 696 7960 to talk to one of our friendly and professional staff. Or visit our website now to browse our full range of products and even order online.