Milk has always been a staple in Americans refrigerators since the inception of the refrigerator.
As such, it is assumed that all milk must stay in the fridge or else is spoils. And it spoils in such horrid ways, doesn’t it? The horrible smell arrives, or maybe instead of cereal and milk you end up with cereal and cottage cheese. Or how about some lemon milk with your coffee? All of this scares the junk out of us, so milk is only kept in the fridge, right? Wrong. It is also sold in what is called shelf stable containers. It is able to sit on a shelf in your pantry along with your dry pasta for quite some time, up to six months. After that point the milk is still good but there is a loss in nutritional value and such, but it has been done. Just be wary. Once it is open it must be refrigerated, and will last about 7 to 10 days.
You may be asking, as I did, what is added to my beloved milk to make this shelf stable version? Honestly, nothing. Shelf stable milk goes through a process of ultra pasteurization in a closed system which brings the milk to a much higher temperature for a shorter amount of time in a sterile environment. After this super heating, it is put into a special tetra package to keep all the baddies out. So it is the same stuff, no preservatives or additives. For more details about the process check out Milk Unleashed.
An interesting usage of self stable milk is school lunches. Instead of juices or water bottles, another possibility in milk. It is sold in single serving containers which fit perfect in lunchboxes. It comes in many different flavors like chocolate and strawberry for a treat.
In regard to taste, the flavor of the milk is the same. You get the same creamy taste with a crisp sweet on the back of your tongue. My only suggestion is to refrigerate for a bit before opening. Drinking room temperature milk can be something to get used to. But is possible, of course. Kids don’t seem to mind it a bit when given in their lunches, which is always nice too- Little has yet to complain 🙂