>>I was wondering if you purchase raw milk? I know you have linked to the Weston Price foundation before and I know they are very supportive of drinking raw milk. I was just curious because it really intrigues me. I have actually been doing some research on it and was thinking you would be a great person to ask and then this post reminded me to ask you.<<
Yes, we do drink raw milk.
>>I am thinking about trying some for my family. We are not big milk drinkers, in fact I do not drink it at all, but I have been researching all of the health benefits and think it is definitely worth a try. Did it take a while for your family to adjust? <<
We also weren’t milk drinkers before discovering raw milk – I can probably count on one hand the amount of times my kids had milk in their lives. I had never even heard of raw milk as a possibility until three years ago, and I did a lot of research and reading before I was even willing to consider the possibility that dairy could be good for you. It didn’t take any of us any time to adjust, physically. The harder part was thinking of milk as something that had a positive nutritive value – I had always attributed my kids’ good health to staying away from dairy products. My husband was reluctant to try it, because he had allergies when he was younger to milk, but was surprised to have no reaction to raw milk. Many people who can’t tolerate dairy find that they can digest raw milk just fine, thanks to the nutrients not being denatured.
>>I was told to take a probiotic (which I do anyway)for a week or so before consumption.<<
That seems unnecessary to me, but probiotics are good to take at any time, so it couldn’t hurt! But having just a small amount and seeing if you have a reaction would be prudent, if you’re concerned. I’d be more cautious about suddenly using something like kefir, which is a powerful probiotic – in that case, to avoid your system suddenly cleaning itself out, it’s good to start off taking just a small amount and giving your digestive system a chance to adapt.
>>Also with such a limited shelf-life, do you freeze the milk?<<
Both farmers I bought from told me that the shelf life was a week. But we found that the milk stays fresh in the fridge for two weeks in the summer, three weeks in the winter. I think they are choosing to err on the side of caution – when I questioned one of them a second time, he said that they find it stays two weeks but don’t want to take a chance of someone’s spoiling before that and getting upset. Remember that I get it the day it comes from the cow, so it hasn’t been sitting around. I refrigerate what I think we’ll use within two weeks, and put the rest in the freezer. Interestingly, raw milk doesn’t spoil in the way that regular pasteurized milk does because of all the good bacteria in it – it changes form as it gets thicker and more sour, but remains useable and good for you. So even if you had it sitting in your fridge for six months, you could use it (it’d be more like sour cream by that point). Pasteurized milk putrifies, though, and I’d hate to think of doing anything with it but pouring it down the drain once it started to go off!
Freezing raw milk changes the consistency, but not the flavor. The cream, since it hasn’t been homogenized, will freeze into tiny pieces and stay in tiny pieces after defrosted. Not bad, but not as smooth once it’s defrosted. If you blend it up with some fruit, it’s not noticeable. We definitely prefer it before it’s frozen, but no one turns up their noses afterwards!
There’s alot of misinformation and disinformation out there about raw milk, and most of what people say comes from simply not being educated about it – like too many things, there’s an excessive amount of fear mongering that comes from ignorance. But the taste is great (some people notice a difference more than others) and the health benefits are wonderful, so if it’s something you can get hold of, it’s a good addition to your family’s diet.