Start with a CLEAN seamless stainless steel bucket. Milk can harden and become attached over time to your milk bucket, so it’s a good idea to use a SEAMLESS stainless steel bucket. It’s the best option for keeping things as clean as possible. After milking, rinse out with COOL WATER, then spray my milking bucket with a natural cleaner, and use HOT WATER to rinse. The reason you need to start out with cool water is that if you use very hot water on milk, it can harden and create milk stone, which is sort of like a buildup of old milk that can make your milk go bad faster. It’s not something you have to really worry about, just remember to rinse with cold water, and wash with soap and hot water and you’ll be good. I don’t usually run my bucket through the dishwasher everyday, only about once a week. Most people buy a seamless stainless steel bucket like this one, but we had to purchase a shorter stainless steel bucket to fit under our mini goats (Nigerian Dwarfs).
Filter the milk as soon as possible. If you’ve ever milked an animal before, you know that dirt, hair, bugs, and flecks of whatever can get in your milk. It sounds way worse than it is. The amount is pretty tiny, but to keep the milk tasting fresh, it’s important to strain every little speck out. I use special disposable milk filters and a stainless steel strainer to hold the filters.
Chill the milk as soon as possible and keep it between 35-38 degrees. According to Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy, to make raw milk last a long time, be sure not to break the “cold chain”. We used to store our raw goat’s milk in our regular fridge, but we noticed it didn’t last very long. It turned out our regular fridge, even at it’s coldest, was around 40 degrees. Now it made total sense why our milk only lasted about 5 days before it tasted “off” or a bit sour. We decided to purchase a mini-fridge and it was the best decision we could have made when it comes to our milk. We had to play around with the temperature a bit, but once we found the right spot, it worked beautifully. A standard mini fridge can hold 4 gallons of milk, which is plenty for us goat owners :)
Store the milk in GLASS jars. Glass is the best option for storing raw milk. We like to use these half-gallon mason jars and plastic lids. To clean them, we just rinse with cold, spray with a natural cleaner and hot water, then run through the dishwasher. They become very clean and sterilized. A couple times a month, you can use 2 TBS. of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and shake around in the jars and allow to soak before loading in the dishwasher.
Now it’s time to drink your raw goat’s milk, share with your friends (or force them to drink it), and enjoy how delicious and fresh it can be.