Friday, January 9, 2015

Evaporated Milk: Food Storage Pros and Cons

I just had to explore the pros and cons of evaporated milk in my food storage. I don't use it often like some of you, but I like knowing it's on my shelf.

In the past, I stored more cans, but found I wasn't using them before expiration And evaporated milk has a short shelf life of about 12 months depending on which type you buy.

Sometimes it's better to buy a few, experiment, and then come up with a goal amount later. Since my family has shrunk, I'll only be storing 12 cans.

Reconstituted it would be equivalent to $4.00 per gallon. Pricey. But if it's for cooking instead of drinking, it's a great add in. Unless of course we were really desperate. Then I would be happy to share it with my grandchildren or neighborhood toddlers.

However, don't put something in your food storage that you don't think you will ever use. (If you want to see what I am focusing on gathering this month, see the my January Emergency Preparedness List.)

  • Useful in soups, desserts, and many other recipes.
  • Evaporation concentrates the nutrients and food energy.
  • Convenient. Just open and pour.
  • Takes up half the space of fresh milk.
  • A safe substitute for fresh milk.
  • 1/2 cup = 1 cup from the milk group.
  • Comes in full fat, low fat and non-fat versions.
  • Typically used to thicken recipes.
  • Takes more shelf space than dry milk.
  • Short-term shelf life.
  • Has a caramelized taste, so does not taste just like milk.
  • PET Milk says use regular evaporated milk within 12 months of manufacturing date; skim within 9 months. 
  • Store at room temperature.
  • Once opened, pour into another covered container, refrigerate, and use in 2 to 3 days.
Evaporated Milk Facts
  • Also known as dehydrated milk.
  • Has 60% of the water removed from fresh milk.
  • It is NOT sweetened condensed milk.
  • Used by U.S. troops in the Spanish-American war, WWI and WWII.
  • In the midst of the Great Depression evaporated milk became an important staple to American families.
  • It is homogenized, canned and sterilized
  • A slight carmalized flavor results from the high heat process.
  • Slightly darker than fresh milk.
  • Manufacturers include: Carnation (NestlĂ©), PET evaporated milk (Smuckers), Magnolia (Smuckers), NestlĂ©, F&N, Rainbow, Nordcontor (Germany).
Great Recipes Using Evaporated Milk
Helpful articles:
Powdered Milk and Evaporated Milk, The Prudent Homemaker


  1. I have recipes that I use for "food storage" evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk that work fabulously!
    Evaporated Milk
    Equals 13 oz. can: 1 c. plus 2 tsp. powdered milk, 1 1.2 c. water
    Equals 1 c.: 2/3 c. powdered milk, 1 c. water

    Sweetened Condensed Milk
    Equals 1 can:
    1 c. plus 2 tsp. powdered milk, 1/2 c. water, 3/4 c. sugar

    They both have a different consistency than the cans, but always works well in recipes!

  2. I store both evaporated and sweetened condensed milks. Not with the intention of using them as beverages. Moreseo because, if disaster strikes and is long term, it would be horrible to try have to live day to day on nothing but beans and rice. You'd miss the comforts of normal life, one of them being able to enjoy desserts. So I store all kinds of items for use in baking or treat making - these milks among them - so that we can still enjoy treats even while riding out a hard time.

  3. My grandmother taught me to make sausage gravy with a can of evap. milk, in addition to regular milk. It makes it taste richer. She also uses evap. milk in her mashed potatoes. Yummy!

  4. I use it in place of cream, as I never have cream in the house and it works well, it seems thicker and sweeter than milk. I use it in casseroles or for coffee when I have unexpected company (I drink mine black). Plus, there are fewer calories in the evap milk than with cream. I will use it to stretch the amount of milk in a recipe on those days when I decide to bake but don't want to run out of milk for the kiddies. if I have too much leftover I just treat the cats....

  5. All of the suggestions in the other responses are wonderful and I've used most of them. The one thing my mom used to do is when money was tight and milk was expensive, she would make a pitcher of instant milk and add a can of evaperated milk to it to give it a richer taste. (Just make sure it is well mixed) Personally, that's the only way I can use instant milk other than baking with it.
    Have a great weekend everyone!

  6. The canned milk I buy has a starch added to it (I am thinking they all do; look for carageenan on the label.). If you let it sit for a long time, the starch tends to separate out. It tends to look like the milk has curdled. It is recommended that you flip your cans of evaporated milk upside down every 6 months, but that is a lot of work, and I don't bother. So when I open older evaporated milk, I go get the can in the food storage room, and shake it all the way back to the kitchen. It really helps the texture. I do store evaporated milk more as a cream substitute than as a milk substitute.

  7. I grew up drinking both evaporated milk and reconstituted milk powder.

    We used the evaporated milk where other families might use cream, and I still love tea lightened up with canned milk. We also used it in place of buttermilk for a lot of recipes (adding some vinegar for the acidic component). My favorite "comfort" food recipes use canned milk (don't taste the same made with anything else).

    When reconstituting the powdered milk, we added salt and vanilla to improve the flavor of certain brands for general drinking. On those occasions when we had coffee, it was usually instant, so we would mix the milk powder with the coffee granules before adding the boiling water and it would mix in better.

  8. I really liked one of the comments on making evaporated milk using powdered milk. I AM A MILK DRINKER and have found the best 100% real instant non-fat milk. It is called "Country Cream" and comes from Grandma's Country Foods in Sandy, Utah. I've even given it to friends who had no idea they were drinking powdered milk. You mix it with cold water and it mixes instantly....And, the #10 cans have a shelf life of 20 years. It's the best, ever!

  9. I think evaporated milk is wonderful, I always try & have a few tins in my cupbards & get quite depressed if I don't have any.:)

    I often put it on tinned sponge puddings - heaven in a dish.:)

    As a joke my Dad often called it "evacuated" milk.

    I don't like long-life milk very much, so this is ideal for me.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!