When I started storing shelf-stable items, I asked myself: “How will I store milk and dairy?” We love cheese and go through shameful amounts in this house every week and it’s something we will undoubtedly miss almost immediately from our diets. I was resolved that we would have to live without it. No lasagna, no yummy breakfast sausage balls…but I was wrong.
You have a few options for most dairy. My choice, and what seems most practical is to purchase powdered milk and dried cheese. Dried cheese? I can see you curling your nose at me now. Stop it. Yes it is dried and you rehydrate it in a bit of water—a few minutes and you have real, melty, flavorful cheese just like you would any other time. There are also options for powdered butter, sour cream, and even cheese sauce if you would like them. Packaged in a variety of sizes I get #10 cans (about a gallon or so) and hold up to 80 servings of dairy goodness. 80 servings will last me a long time and also saves me the worry of how I will substitute these items in my food plan.
Another less healthy option is shelf-stable pasteurized food product. You know—Mr. Yellow Box—”with lumpy oily cheddar, who knows what may come out…” you know the rest. It’s okay for some things, but certainly not my first or favorite choice. I also store parmesan cheese keeping in mind that it must be rotated pretty frequently. I try to use mine within 6 months but we go through it much more quickly.
For milk, pay attention to what you buy. Look for whole powered milk—not INSTANT. And good luck. I have a seriously hard time finding anything but instant powdered milk in my stores so be prepared to purchase it online. Instant milk has a lower nutritional value compared to powdered whole milk. If you have chosen this option for storage be aware that you will need to store about twice what you had planned to make up for its faults. You will also find milk ALTERNATIVE, which when compared to whole powered milk has been described as the difference between Tang and Orange Juice. One is a mirrored, but sadly created attempt at the original. Not only is it far behind in nutrition, it’s even further in taste.