Home Canning Milk Via Pressure Canner

Obviously, if you don’t agree that home canning milk is safe, then don’t do it. This isn’t something that everyone feels safe with and, as always, use your judgment!!!

Hmmmm…well, if you are only able to get groceries once a month like I am, buying several gallons of milk makes sense. BUT, trying to store the milk in the fridge and freezer is very space constraining.

So, being that I use a lot of milk for cooking, I decided to try and can some.

canned milk post

And you know what? It works! The flavor doesn’t change, and the texture is just fine! We use it to cook, and if I need some for granola or drinking, I chill it well before opening.

The following tutorial is based on my research, and what I felt was the best method for doing this.

Is Pressure Canning Milk Safe? Disclaimer

Well, the jury appears to be “out” on that. For many, it’s not safe to can milk at home. According to Clemson University, it’s not safe to do it at home.

However, many homesteaders, preppers, and home canners disagree. As always, please use your own best discretion and if you don’t think it’s safe, don’t do it.

What does the USDA have to say about this? Their latest guideline (2015) actually mentions milk among the list of low-acidic foods that could potentially cause botulism. They actually do it under a section titled “Food acidity and processing methods”.

In addition, on the same page, they state that:

Whether food should be processed in a pressure canner or boiling-water canner to control botulinum bacteria depends on the acidity of the food.


This and the lack of warning for canning milk suggests they didn’t deem it dangerous. If they had, they wouldn’t be mentioning a risky food right in their canning guidelines.

So why do people get sick with botulism, then? According to this study, however, they do not follow the canning recipe to the letter.

Even so, the fatality rate when it comes to foodborne botulism is extremely low, 25.6 Americans a year based on these stats.

A 2004 study suggested that 20% of households do home canning in America. Let’s say 15% because people aren’t canning so much anymore.

Average household size is just shy of 3 people / household.

About 40-50 million Americans consume home canned goods every year, around 26 of them die of foodborne botulism, and we can assume all of them because they didn’t follow the recipe.

The downside to all of this is that there are no studies to show exactly how dangerous milk canning is, so you can either:

  • A) rely on the stats above to deem it safe or
  • B) decide it’s not worth the risk

The key thing not to get this bacteria is to follow the canning recipe to the letter.

As such, the website thehomesteadinghippy.com and the current owner of this piece of content disclaim any liability for any injury or any side effect as a direct or indirect result of applying the advice given in this article.

We won’t be there to ensure you do this right, so please follow the recipe to the letter. 🙂

Here’s How I Can Milk!

First, you are going to start off with well-washed jars. I used pints because it was much easier to work with in terms of storage, and usage.

My hubby even knows one-pint jar for a batch of mashed potatoes.

I then rinsed the jars out with vinegar to sanitize them.

I didn’t want any water in there, nor did I want the jars hot, so this was what I came up with. I then rinsed them out to get rid of the vinegar and placed upside down on a towel to dry.

Then, I got the lids simmering…this softens up the seal and gets the lid ready to can. Muy importante!

I then poured the milk into clean, rinsed jars. Yes, this milk was cold, so that’s why I didn’t want to have hot jars.

Wiped off the rim, added the lid and band, and screwed on finger tight.

Waited until steam vented, and then let the steam vent for 10 minutes. This part took about 35 minutes to get to, then the 10 minutes=45 minutes of waiting time total.

Added the rocker for 10lbs pressure.

As soon as the rocker began to rock, or the pressure was 10lbs., I IMMEDIATELY turned off the heat, and let the canner cool. Removed the jars, wiped off, and voila! Canned milk!

Pressure canning milk may be an option for you in certain situations. Do your research and make an informed choice.


updated 04/23/2020 with an expanded section on safety

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175 thoughts on “Home Canning Milk Via Pressure Canner”

    1. From my research, the average shelf stable time is 18-24 months. I would plan on using this up before 18 months, just to be on the safer side of quality.

    2. I used this method a couple of years ago. One thing to note is the lighter the fat content (I experimented) the less ‘cooked’ the milk tastes after. I used 1% and it came out like light evaporated milk. Stored the jars in a cool, dark basement. Now for the down side. It kept nicely for six months. After that it starts to separate. After a year it’s not pleasant anymore, though it kept its vacuum and smelled ok. The USDA does not recommend home canning dairy products, though my butter and ghee is fine. I will not be canning milk anymore, though. It’s easier and better tasting to use a good brand of powdered milk (I recommend Saco, when you can find it) prepared with COLD water. Carnation is ok, but Saco is better.

      1. Same thing happened to me Mrs Wagner, all was good for a yr and it got lumps. But seals were all good. I guess I’ll just store powder milk from now on. It’s about the future for me and not the now.

  1. Hello, I am going to try this, makes sense for my situation. I am a single widow who loves to cook. I get tired of buying milk only to have it spoil before I can use it up. I can buy a gallon of milk, can in pints, and use as necessary without the milk spoiling before I use it up. Has to be the best canning idea I have seen yet.

    1. One thing you can do to extend your store-bought milk is to add a pinch of salt when you open the bottle. The salt [the original preservative] stops the bacteria turning it sour for at least a week. I’ve been doing this for many years. A pinch is too little amount to taste.

      1. Hi Lynne,
        Did u mean to add the pinch of salt before u can the milk? As in when u open a gallon of milk when u bring it home from town? Do u shake it or do u let it rest? How long do u waite before u can it?

      2. I’m single so it take a while to go through a gallon, but it’s way cheaper than buying a half-gallon, so when I get it home, I fill up two 1-quart glass bottles that have been run through the dishwasher and are cool. I put the lids on and stick them in the back of the fridge, and then I drink the rest that is left in the gallon container. The milk lasts for a good 3 weeks or longer! Amazing! I love those glass milk jars (they are thicker than Mason jars). I now do that with my heavy cream, too.

          1. Wow! When i saw the title of the post, i said to self; i’ve gotta read thus one. And i did. I was amazed to learn of this process and if i find it necessary to can milk,i will learn. I plan to stock up on instant milk but this is an ulternative to keep in mind. Thanks so much for this valuable info.

          2. Emily Hutchinson

            Yes I totally found this out today it’s crazy how much the organic dairy lasts longer

          1. I found them on Amazon. Quart size or 2 qt size. They even have plastic tops that snap on, with or without pouring spout. We use raw milk, so the glass storage preserves it best.

    1. the canned milk is just stored in the jars it’s canned it, on a shelf in a cool, dark place. To use, I just stick some in the fridge the night before to chill.

    1. I have often come across a statement made by the USDA ore others that milk is not safe to can. However, they have never produced any scientific proof of such. I think the USDA makes a negative statement regarding some foods, because there may be too much room for human error. Most canned items are processed for up to 90 minutes and that keeps the USDA happy. With milk, the processing time is 1-10 minutes, depending on the amount of caramelization desired. I believe the USDA has a problem with giving the okay to such a low process time.

      I have canned store bought whole milk in increments of 1-10 minutes, depending on the caramelization effect that I want. The 10 minute processed milk tastes excellent in coffee and cooked cereals. The 1 minute preocessed milk is good for cold cereals.

      My canned milk has kept for 2 years in my dark, cool pantry without any change in appearance or taste.

      1. It’s not about your personal experience, nor is it about the “appearance and taste.” It’s about science, repeatable experiments exposing danger, and the bacteria clostridium botulinum. It has no taste or aroma, nor can it be seen. But if your milk was not PERFECTLY pasteurized (and I know anyone who cans has had bad jars before, so don’t try to pretend…), it can KILL YOU with one sip of tainted milk. Seriously. ONE SIP. Is it worth it for $3 a gallon milk? I don’t think so…

      2. What do u mean please by 1 minute for cold milk for cereal? Is this also drinking it too? Also, where’s the 1 minute at in process for pressure canning. Thank u in advance for a response. ?

    2. I appreciate this comment and your concern, but I don’t trust the USDA! AT ALL! I am a 2x Cancer survivor and Ive done a lot of research. There are MANY Dr.’s out there that disagree with the ISDA on many topics. The USDA makes too much money by giving us the wrong info. We are sick because of the ASD. So Im sure they dont want people saving money on the purchase of milk either. By the way, Dairy is very bad for us. Much research has been done proving it. I still drink it though, Im just saying, just because the USDA says something, does not make it a fact. Just food for thought.

      1. Sharon, Totally agree with you.
        I too am a cancer survivor.
        Love the power of Canning my own foods, use my instapot for jams, fruits and my pressure canner for meats, and lots more.
        If you look at grocery stores, The do sell canned Milk, variety.
        What makes it safe for the government to be trusted , as crooked as they are.
        I trust myself to make the Correct Judgement for cooking for my family.

        1. Mom, you have made the best argument for canning milk “grocery stores sell canned milk”. That is proof enough for me. Since canned milk isn’t very ‘caramelized’ that tells me it doesn’t take long under pressure at 250 deg F to make it safe.

          1. Hi there… I have been reading all the comments here and still do not know if it is safe to use right out of the jar without heating it up ? I’d appreciate it if you can let me know 🦋🦋🦋

      2. Thank u,, j dont trust USDA, or FDA,,,, yes, they R 1 of the bigst reasons tht we get sick,,, they allow all kinds of crap 2 b put n foods, craps tht kill,,,,,,,,, i stopd buy,n milk bcause of prices, jst myself, but ths cann,n idea sounds great 2 me,,,, thanks again 4 ur nput,,,,,,,

        1. My husband found a video on canning milk, and we tried it. We live on a mountain and the nearest place to get a gallon of milk is a service station. It cost over $5 a gallon. It’s an hour to the nearest big grocery store. Something I did learn is that whole milk canned is like condensed, 2% is whole, and 1% is 2%.

    3. Than why do USDA sell canned milk if it’s not safe to drink. Sounds like hypocrisy and greed to me. Besides canning milk happened before USDA existed.

      1. Because they have $100,000 flash pasteurizing machines and you don’t… It just can’t be done as shelf stable at home without SERIOUS danger!

        1. it seems to me that ole Justin Wilson is ASSUMING that everyone here is talking about non pastured milk… possibly from your own cows. Apparently he hasn’t considered the fact that many of the people talking about this subject matter are referring to store bought milk that has ALREADY BEEN PASTEURIZED… so in that case you don’t need a $100,000 flash pasteurizer at home. You simply can the ALREADY PASTEURIZED milk in the proper way and it CAN be done at home safely. Drink up Justin!!

        2. But if you are using store bought milk it should already be pasturized.
          If not the the USDA has messed up royally. Just saying.

    4. The research I believe was referring to people canning milk in a water bath which is not canning. Or canning in the oven. No studies I have found have proven that pressure canning milk is unsafe.

    5. I’ve canned milk my whole life an have never had a jar go bad. So don’t always believe what you read.

      1. Tamara TAPP-WILKERSON

        Kathy, maybe you can help me…I followed these instructions on canning milk….I was canning raw goat’s milk….when it cooled on the towel it was curdled like if it was cheese or the middle stages of butter….my friend canned the same was and her’s curdled also…what was the issue?

    6. Yes and the government loves its payoff from the meat industry and thus has several tiny green paper reasons to say you must buy it in the store because 25 poeple die from it every year. This isn’t really relevant if you don’t buy it in the store anyway. Incidently most poeple who can milk are using their own animals and they fed them and they are thier own quality control. I would never can store-bought milk or dairy.

  2. I did as you said with canning milk and most of it spoiled. Dont know what i did wrong. I used 2%milk from canada when i went to United states i got some and it was the milk that spoiled. Could it be difference in fat content? I want to be sucessfull with this as its ideal for my situation. Thankyou

    1. without being there, I am honestly unable to answer you correctly…usually the fat content shouldn’t matter, though. Perhaps you left vinegar in the jar and it curdled the milk as it was processing? I am sorry that this happened!

      1. Vinegar does not sterilize or even sanitize anything. Use iodophor or Star San on your jars at least if you MUST can milk (which you shouldn’t!)… And most importantly… DON’T RINSE THE JARS WITH WATER AFTER YOU SANITIZE THEM!!! Water isn’t sterile!! You’re just recontaminating your jars if you do that!!

        1. You have to sterilize the jars then air dry. I put just a bit of bleach in my rinse water…just enough to sterilize them!

        2. I put clean jars into a glass cake pan with a little water in the pan under/around the jars. I place them in my oven around 200 degrees. I pull them out of oven and load, This was taught to me by a lady that canned for 40 years, and I have canned 30 years since.

        3. The water from the tap already has additives that make it “safe.” Like the pasteurized milk, he’s assuming contaminants in water that the USDA and FDA tell us is safe and clean. Sounds like this individual is not thinking through his comments, or simply doesn’t trust the USDA and FDA regulations unless it fits his line.

          1. Tell the residents of Flint Michigan that their water was safe, because additives were added to make it safe….

    2. Well I do a little different method I start the same then vent for 10mins then at 10lbs of pressure for 20 mins n it’s stayed shelf stable for 6m it would probably b good a bit longer but it’s used up by then hope this helps those that mennchened it going bad my option it’s cause it’s not left to pressure long anuff but like she said this isn’t something they recoment my granny did this it will b more like a carnation type milk tho where it’s cooked at a longer periods.

    3. BarbaraFerrington

      If the milk was not extremely fresh, this could cause curdling also. I canned fresh goat’s milk. The last that I canned, older milk, curdled…

      1. The pH changes over time, promoting curdling when heated (heating also alters pH). Older milk is more acidic from Lactobacillus natuarlly present in the milk. You should still not can milk even if it’s fresh, it can kill you!!

        1. Good Lord Justin. I understand you want to SAVE THE WORLD, but go do it someplace else please? Some of us don’t have our grandparents left and we want to reclaim this lost knowledge. This is what my grandmother used to do and it never killed me.

        2. Justin, can you talk more about the Lactobacillus & what heating does to the pH? Thank you! I believe the concern is C. botulinum spores surrounded by fat globules in terms of canning safety–will home cream separators and a home pasteurization unit eliminate the that concern? Once again, thanks!

    4. I would never “sanitize” my jars with vinegar. One little drop could curdle the whole jar. I run my jars through the dishwasher on a sanitize cycle, then leave to drip dry and cool down in the dishwasher with the door open and the racks pulled out. Never spoiled any milk this way and I’ve been canning milk for 40+ years.

      1. For keeping milk for cooking ill with cook longer with more pressure of just buy canned milk. At 6300 ft elevation we need more pressure and longer processing times for everything to keep it. I don’t mind the cooked flavors in gravy or other cooked foods.

      2. How long was ur shelf life since I’ve been canning it for 40 years. I have a cellar and that’s where I will store it. It’s nice and dark and cool there. Thank u in advance for ur info!! ?

    5. Pour any milk in clean jars . Can on 10 lbs pressure for 35 min. Put in cool dry dark space. Use within a year.

  3. Is there a reason that you did not process this for any length of time being that it is a non-acid liquid? Thank you for your help. Sandy (aka Grannie)

    1. this was done according to the research I did…to process it any longer, the milk would curdle. this was what I considered the “best” of all the processes and times out there.

      1. You’re right Heather! This process keeps the milk “drink-able”. Iv used it on store bought milk and raw goats milk. Usually at the 6 months mark it starts to discolor and maybe clump a little. I can’t wait to try cream in small jars for coffee. …..thanks!

  4. I have canned, milk, cream 1/2 & 1/2, goat milk & butter for years…I am 55 and still kicking, my grandmother’s who taught me passed on in their 80″s. I do sterilize my jars in the oven for 30 minutes then shut the oven off leaving the door closed until they cool. I did not have luck with the vinegar method. I DO use RAW milk from our local dairies (store bought has REALLY been cooked with additives and then cooled). I completely remove canner from the heat. Other than that I do the same method as Heather. I am glad you posted that. Of course my Grannies didn’t have access to any professionals or the internet to find out what they could and couldn’t can they were canning for survival. Their motto was I like it…I can it! Now mine ( I am “modern” is if you can buy it you can can it & if I like it I can it! I am glad they survived or I wouldn’t be here! Good job Heather keep posting & canning. It is a great life skill to have :)!

    1. I am so glad others use time feasted canning by their grannies. I come from a long line of scanners and my mother who is 78 still cans to this day and we share great memories canning together. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I have a dial gage. After I have let it vent, hold at 10 lbs of pressure, how long should I let it go for? Thanks in advance.

    1. What my research has shown me as once it starts rocking, turn the heat off. don’t let it “go” any longer than that

    1. shirley k smith

      I had to also JUST found me a supply of raw goats milk! so excited to find this “reluctant granny” and “heather” thank you!


  7. I have been canning milk for a long time and it is really easy I use whole milk and I do the normal prep with jars however because the milk is cold my jars are cold but my lids are hot to soften rim and they go into cold water pressure canner then water heats with jars 10 lbs of pressure bring to pressure and time for 5 mins tops remove from heat and let canner cool, does not get a Carmel color comes out right every time and have never lost a jar yet.

      1. It does taste fresh, but not exactly the same. more condensed is how I would describe it. And, yes you can put it on cereal or drink it too 😉

    1. I got here trying to find the “recipe” for evaporating milk, then placing the hot milk into hot jars them pressure canning.
      I was also hoping to find hints to can cream as well! I love cream & always want it on hand. Store bought is getting so expensive! Was over $9 quart while visiting family in Oklahoma.

      1. I buy ultra pasteurized heavy cream at Aldi, here in Oklahoma for $1.55 per PINT. (It’s usually $1.89 per PINT there. It keeps in the fridge for months. I just used up some that had a use by date of April (used the middle of August to make ice cream). Even though it’s ultra pasteurized, you can still make cultured butter from it. I got recipes from Mary’s Nest, a wonderful food prep site. I probably won’t be canning milk or cream, but will start stocking up on canned evaporated milk, and shelf stable ultra pasteurized milk if I can find it.

  8. If my canner has a dial pressure gauge rather than a rocker, should I turn off the heat as soon as the gauge reads 10lbs pressure?

    1. I honestly have it used up within 3 months…I have read anywhere from 3-15 months storage life, but I personally would use it within 3 months.

      1. Just Plain Marie

        I process mine a bit longer than you. Because it’s a protein and liquid, I treat it like broth. So 20 minutes at 10 PSI. It caramelizes a little, but it still works just fine everywhere. Anyway, with that in mind, I have traveled cross-country with jars of milk in a U-haul truck, and I’ve stored them for over a year without an issue.

    1. What I used here was raw goat’s milk because that’s what I had. I have seen it done with pasteurized as well, though.

    2. Heather HippyHomesteader

      goat, cow or whatever I have…raw or pasturized. I have used this for all, depending on the season and what I have available to me.

  9. I’d like to know if you have made evaporated milk and then pressure canned it for storage. I’m going to make evaporated milk but I’d like to know if I can make a large batch and “put it up”. I use evaporated milk everyday in my coffee. I had a light bulb moment and read the back of the can…duh? I do not want to ingest this anymore.

    1. I got her trying to find the “recipe” for evaporating milk, pouring hot milk into hot jars then canning. Also hoping to find info on cream!
      I love the taste of evaporated milk in mashed potatoes, coffee, tea, snow ice cream, Mac & cheese!

  10. I am sure this would work great for making things like yogurt (where the milk is heated anyway), but does it taste good for things like cold cereal? I love the idea of saving freezer space!

    1. With the goat or pasteurized milk, leave it…with raw milk, I skim the cream. But that’s only because I use it to make butter.

  11. Does this not work with a non-pressurized canner? I would love to do this since I can get raw locally, but can NEVER use it all before it gets old.

    1. I *personally* wouldn’t do that, since it’s low acid, you need the pressure. However, you can freeze it, make cheese, kefir or ice cream with it as well 😉 And raw soured milk is awesome for biscuits, or sour milk cakes!

    2. No. Pressure canning is ABSOLUTELY required if you’re canning something with a non-acidic pH or that has low salt/sugar (solute) concentration. Do NOT can milk in a water bath canner.

    3. Heather HippyHomesteader

      NO…that would NOT be safe. If you don’t have a pressure canner, then you can always freeze the milk, but water bathing is not enough

    4. You can but it takes a lot longer! You would have to boil it for a half hour and it doesn’t last as long! But you can, I used to not have a pressure canner . We did everything with hot water bath! Meats and beans have to be bathed for 3 hrs. I pressure can now for the sake of time! I grew up in the lowest amish setting and we canned everything! Cause we weren’t allowed to have freezer or fridge! I still have a jar of steamed cake that I had canned 7 years ago!??

  12. Searchnrescuebarbie

    Actually, the Amish can with a water bath canner for everything, including meat. It’s just more difficult because you have to maintain a steady temperature for twice the amount of time. For instance, when they can meat, they process for 3 hours instead of 90 minutes. Pressure canning is shorter and it’s easier to maintain the high level of heat.

      1. amanda sharples

        I spent 10 years in Bulgaria where theyve never heard of a pressure canner and EVERYTHING is canned in a water bath.They do have the advantage of having done it for generations and recipes are just ingrained in their blood.I learnt how to can food there with some amazing old ladies.We canned 2 fully grown pigs,every bit of them went into jars and was boiled for 3 hours.That was 2 years ago,i still have 1 jar left as i brought the jars with me when i moved back to ireland.Research hhas to say its unsafe as we dont have the knowledge of these old ways and if someone said it was safe and some fool did it wrong and got food poisening then there would be a law suit.
        that said,i bought a pressure canner from US,as it is much faster and uses less fuel.i loved your article.ive been canning my goats milk and i have just ordered a separator and i am wondering if i can put the canned milk through the separator and get cream from it.i only have 1 goat so it didnt seem viable with a small amount of milk,il let you know how it goes.

      2. Many bacteria can survive at temps up to 212F in water bath canning. To kill those bacteria, temps need to be raised to 240F as in pressure canning, The lengthy processing times for both processes is to ensure the entire contents within the canning jars reaches the proper temperature to ensure the demise of any bacteria, rendering it “food safe”. I had spent my entire working profession of 40+ years in commercial food production, with one of the largest companies on the Nation. We average home canners cannot conceivably mimic or obtain the level of expertise these companies developed to provide us with shelf stable foods. There are just some food items that are better left to the commercial processors to provide us. With that said, we should continue to home can our foods that have proven processes that are tried and true, and Safe. I too, home can foods, but only with strictly followed proven techniques and procedures. Just because Grandma canned a certain way, does not necessarily make it right or wrong, it was a sign of the times they lived in, and perhaps not recommended today.

  13. We have a vacation home where we just need only small amounts of milk for a short amount of time. It is most convenient to buy evaporated milk and mix with equal part water. Recently our last child moved out of our home and I am considering doing that at home as well. Tastes good with no waste.

  14. Hey. I love your post. Thank-you. I’m just starting to learn how to can. I have a question about something different. Canning Pumpkin purée. I’ve read that you can’t. But then people say their granny’s have been doing it for years! But no posts about how to do it. …. can someone help? I have no room for freezing it. But want to use really pumpkins in stuff all year long. [email protected]. Thanks.

    1. Huh! Didn’t know you couldn’t do this! I can mine as a purée I think 90 min at 10#. I bake pumpkin first, removes skin and purée in blender. It’s been awhile since I’ve canned pumpkin. I used to do shorter and always spoiled most of it but this works fine for me. Keep time? At least 6 months. Usually used it all by then.

    2. Anastasia Sakawsky

      Hi Reba,

      It is not safe to can pumpkin puree, even in a pressure canner. It is too thick when pureed to heat evenly all the way through and is therefore susceptible to botulism. You can can cubed pumpkin or you can freeze pureed pumpkin. I personally would not can milk either as most modern research concludes it is not safe to can dairy products.

      Hope this helps!

    3. I have canned pumpkin puree for years! I bake it, remove the skins, puree, put in prepared pint jars, add a pinch of salt per jar, and can at 15lbs (I am above 1700) for 30 minutes. I have NEVER had one spoil and I still have two jars on the shelf from last year. I use them up quickly during the winter so I really don’t know how long they would actually stay good.

    4. I do it all the time! You wash and junk your pumpkin! Peal it, let it cool enough so you can purée in blender! Put in jars put lids on tighten rims like you would for anything else! Pressure can at 15# pressure for 30 minutes
      Remove as soon as pressure is released, so they don’t turn dark! It’s still good I just prefer it nice and yellow!

    5. Its recommended to can pumpkin in chunks not pureed.my Gramma didn’t can it she stored the pumpkins whole in a storage we called the cave dug in the side of a hill

  15. My husband and I are dairy farmers in Canada, so we drink milk straight from the tank. Love it. When we were in Barcelona this past winter. We were looking for snacks in a grocery store. We came acrossilk in cans, and those cardboard. Waxy containers. And not refrigerated. We were shocked! Lol
    Told the parents when we got home. They said that’s what you’re Gramma use to do with extra milk. Thank you for sharing this. We didn’t buy it in Barcelona cause we didn’t trust it

    Wish I had heard of it before we went

    1. Same in Costa Rica plenty of eggs and Dairy for sale in tropical room temps. No AC in the open air stores. None of us got sick.

  16. Heather, I canned milk about a year ago, and like one comment above, mine turned a caramel color. It tastes fine and I use it with cooking … I just tell my husband it’s the vanilla in the recipe that turns it brownish! Not sure I could get him to drink it. Do you think I canned it too long? I can’t remember how I did it, but I will say, a year later, it still tastes just fine.

    1. I don’t think so. From what i understand, it does change color a bit over time. I haven’t ever kept it more than 3-6 months, but many other bloggers have it for a year, and say the caramel color is normal.

  17. I have heard a lot of negative advice about how unsafe it is to can dairy products such as milk, but i was always under the impression they were talking about fresh milk straight from the cow not already pasteurized milk do you know which they are speaking of. I have heard many people speak positively about canning milk, and butter buy when it’s cheap and can it.

  18. The recommendation elsewhere is 20-25 min for a quarter at 10psi. That does carmelize a little bit which gives the color. Supposedly that lasts more than a year. This may have something to do with the fat content as using 1-2% is supposed to reduce the evaporated taste and color.

    One of the posters above says 5 mins at 10psi is ok and doesn’t carmelize, and the original article removes heat after it reaches 10psi. Sounds like these lower temps don’t last as long in storage.

    Milk can be pressured canned, it’s how we did it before commercialized dairy’s came along. It’s in the older canning books. Treat it as a low acid meat/protein.

    This article was awesome! I didn’t realize you could can milk. Just never thought about it. This would make camping or other storage so easy. Wouldn’t need a big icebox. Just put it in pints or size jar per use.

  19. Please reread over the instructions. For some reason it seems the part where you load the canner, put the lid on, bring the canner up to temperature, or whatever, seems to be misding. I assume it’s just like raw packing meat, but I’d like to know definitely.

  20. I must say, with Hurricane 2018 Season coming to Puerto Rico your article will help us here. We pay $6.05/120 oz for milk. It is really insane! We mainly rely on Dry-Instant milk. I am glad to know that milk can be canned. Thank you for sharing! Bye. 😉

  21. I was wondering what the difference is between canning milk and the shelf-stable milk in cartons like Parmalat (sp?)?

    If milk can be preserved safely that way, why not canning?

    1. Shelf stable milk is irradiated , the same as goods that are for military meals ready to eat from the Government, which have a shelf life of up to 10 years. I have had store bought shelf stable milk in the Philippines, it’s just “okay”, no real replacement for refrigerated milk
      I worked over 40 yrs in commercial food processing. The home canner cannot replicate the processes that foods go through in commercial canning, you’re not comparing apples to apples here. Commercial food processors MUST fools strict State and Federal good safety guidelines that ensures food safety for the public. Do not believe everything on the net…everyone seems to have made a better “wheel” there. As Momma Gump says.. stupid is as stupid does! ‘Nuf Said!

  22. I’ve read a lot of the comments… and I know this is a bit off topic but I have been wanting to make homemade caramel sauce forever and can it, but there are no recipes for it do to the fact that its deemed unsafe. I’m now convinced more than ever that it can be done. I’ve also heard a few times that you can somehow use a little baking soda which is supposed to balance the ph levels??? Do you or anyone reading this know how to can caramel sauce? I understand it’s not recommended, but I would be very grateful for any insight. Thanks for posting this!

    1. Holly, I would first pasteurize the raw milk. Simply put, I would put it in a big pot and bring the temp up to 185. Then, dip/pour it into the sterilized hot jars, place lids and rings on the jars and put the hot jars of milk into a pressure canner with hot water in the bottom of it. Secure the pressure canner lid and follow canning guidelines.

      I offer my suggestion to pasteurize, as a safety measure. If you find that pasteurization is unnecessary, then, do as you think is better.

    1. I have freeze dried milk with great results. It works best if you freeze the milk first, then put it in the freeze dryer for the whole cycle. It keeps the milk from spilling when you handle the trays. If put in mylar bags or glass jars with an oxygen absorber and sealed, it can be stored 20 to 25 years.

  23. Just spent an hour reading in here. I’ve been canning bath & pressure, for 40 yrs. Only two jars failed. I’ve never done dairy/meat/fish because of all The Warnings!

    Some pathogens, bacteria, and parasites can survive a 212F boiling bath, regardless of how long you boil it. But, hanggggg onnnn!

    As long as we cook flesh to the recommended temperature, (165F…185F, depending), it’s okay to eat it at the table tonight? Huh? Lightbulb moment – this seems illogical. I’ve pressure canned meat stuff Properly*, and always found it results in useless mush. Yuck!

    Can anyone solve my newfound conundrum.
    …hot enough to eat/but not hot enough to can?? Hmm.

    (I contracted ascaris from a stray cat I adopted. Got liver flukes from swimming in a very nice pond. Twas the ducks/snails. Canadians are warned against eating bear meat ever, says Govt, because 97% have tapeworm, so…why bother?)

  24. Can you use the boil canning method since it’s not acidic? Like caning jellies and jams? What about fresh cows milk from your own cow?

  25. Why is it sites that promote unsafe canning practices always have great success and nobody every gets sick and nothing ever spoils? I have read some reader comments on other sites promoting such nonsense from people who actually canned milk and their disasters a few months into storing it when the seals released (not from poor technique) and they had a big mess to clean up. One stay in the ICU from botulism will cost a lot more than using scientifically based, approved canning practices. How much is your family worth to you? They trust you, you know…

  26. williemae solomon

    I have canned milk with out any problems. We canned fresh cow milk to be used in our home made ice cream. My husband always said it was better .

  27. Personally, when I can milk, I time it for 10 minutes at least once it’s reached pressure instead of calling that good. The benefits of pressure canning don’t start until the pressure has been reached and sustained for set amount of time to effectively kill the botulism spores. I get a much longer shelf life out of my milk that way. The downside is, yes, it does basically become evaporated milk, but it’s shelf-stable.

  28. Just a giant heads up. This IS a low acid food and to be safe it needs 75mins at 10-15psi-pint weighted. You would also have to start with hot jars and boiling liquid.

    If you want canned milk cheap without the hassle and —> possible botulism<— go to the dollar store and buy the soft cartons of milk which are good dated for 1.5yrs. They are only $1 dollar. You cannot buy the milk, jars and lids not to mention fuel/electricity that cheap. And…..bonus…..they are safe!

    Putting a disclaimer at the top probably wont keep relatives of a dead person from suing you for posting something that is dangerous. Just an FYI

    And yes I have dangerous things before and got away with it. Its a numbers game. The more you do it the higher the chance of meeting Murphy!

  29. I am a senior citizen, was taught to can by a women that lived through the depression when I was a young teen. Have lived my whole life raised 4 healthy children feeding them with canned food that now adays is considered unsafe. It is only unsafe if the one canning it is. Must be clean and don’t cut corners.

  30. Hello , wanted to double check on the time 35 minutes to get to the steam point , plus 10 minutes after the steam starts before you put the rocker on then let it get to 10# pressure and then turn it off and let the canner with the “ rocker still on “ cold down naturally ?
    Also if I had raw milk “ like goat milk “ and I wanted to can it , what would I do

  31. Sorry, but there is so much in this that is completely wrong and unsafe. There are absolutely no safe, tested recipes for canning any sort of dairy. You are promoting a practice that could easily kill someone. Botulism cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, and can be DEADLY. If you want to can milk yourself, go for it. But promoting it on your blog is completely irresponsible. As someone stated above, your disclaimer is not going to be enough to prevent someone from suing you when someone dies from following your advice.

    1. Hello,

      I’m Dan, I took over this site about 2 years ago from Heather. I’ll get right into it.

      What do you mean by “so much”? Is there anything else beside the safety issue that is allegedly wrong with this article? Please substantiate your claim.

      Safety – the proof below should convince anyone with common sense that canning milk while following the instructions is safe.

      Testing – there is lots of empirical data from lots of people doing this for years or even decades, which suggest it is in fact safe. I have not heard of anyone dying from canned milk, I couldn’t find any death while searching online and none of my readers have reported any deaths.

      There is no USDA guideline saying milk is unsafe. In fact, if you look at the only place in their 2015 guidelines mentioning milk here: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/general/ensuring_safe_canned_foods.html

      … you would see that they do mention milk under the low acidity foods list. If milk were unsafe, they would mention this. Not only are they not doing that, they actually put milk under the list of “low acid foods”, suggesting it is safe to can. So, obviously, when someone sees milk among the other low-acidic foods, the obvious and rational conclusion is that milk is indeed safe to can.

      I also think that link is doing a better job at describing botulism is and it affects us, rather than your fear-mongering – putting “deadly” in bold letters among other things to scare people.

      The WHO contradicts you when you say that this practice could “easily” kill someone by saing that foodborne botulism is “rare”. Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/botulism

      Where is your proof that canning milk can EASILY kill someone? How many deaths do you know of? News reports? Links? Proof?

      On botulism: there have been on average 25.6 US deaths by foodborne botulism. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/botulism/surveillance.html

      So that includes all canned food, not just milk (if any from milk, or, rather, improper canning practices).

      A 2004 study found that 20% of households had done canning: https://nchfp.uga.edu/papers/2007/canning_survey.html

      There were 128 mn households in the U.S. in 2009: https://www.statista.com/statistics/183635/number-of-households-in-the-us/

      Let’s assume only 15% of households are canning nowadays – that’s 19.2 million.

      Average household size is 2.92 in 2019: https://www.statista.com/statistics/183648/average-size-of-households-in-the-us/

      So 48 million people have access every year to home canned goods. And only 26 of them die from foodborne botulism, from which who knows how many died from canning milk. And how many of those who died from canning milk passed away not because of the recipe, but because they did something wrong?

      Now, let’s look at why people who get botulism actually get it: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22186049/

      Quote: “ In each instance, home canners did not follow canning instructions, did not use pressure cookers, ignored signs of food spoilage, and were unaware of the risk of botulism from consuming improperly preserved vegetables.”

      The key word here is “in each instance”, meaning there wasn’t a single one of them who got sick by following the actual recipe. Your argument that properly-canned milk is unsafe is less and less likely to be true.

      “If you want to can milk yourself, go for it. But promoting it on your blog is completely irresponsible” – it’s actually helping because it’s informing people about the right way to do it, thus minimizing the chances that they get it wrong. The more informed and educated we are, the less chances for doing something stupid.

      In fact, it is you who’s irresponsible because you classify something as unnsafe without bringing proof of even one death, while ignoring the very low (if any) mortality rate stats AND the USDA guidelines which mention milk among the low-acidic foods in their canning guide.

      As far as your other fear-mongering claim, about someone suing me in spite of the disclaimer, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. I will take the opportunity to update the disclaimer, as it seems Heather’s initial link is not enough to provide a bigger picture of the safety of milk canning.

      As such, it’s me who can say that “so much is completely wrong” with what you said. And the USDA seems to be on my side since they mention milk in their canning guide with no mention of canning it being unsafe. If the danger were be as high as you claim it to be, the would have obviously warned us. 🙂

      1. I appreciate your explanation to the doubters. It’s all about following the directions and doing all you can to be safe during the process. I have canned for 45 years and my grandmothers for 60 before that….we haven’t killed a single soul!!

        1. I am still waiting to hear or read about the first victim of canned milk. Not that it would make much of a statistical difference with 5,000 people dying of motorcycle accidents each year in the U. S. alone.

      2. I have come across this website while looking for recipes to Pressure Can. I read your comment and I totally agree with you. Our grandmothers and other decedents have canned like this for years, because they had no other means. I am assuming the people that disagrees with these procedures does not have grandmothers that done this to teach them the proper way to can. Common Sense tells you that you need be cautious and do the steps needed and not take shortcuts. If you do that, you will have a lot of enjoyment and great food that is safe to eat. Thanks for you POST. Hope it helped the ones that are worried about this.

  32. This is right up there with even drinking raw milk!!!

    It’s been done for years — healthy animals, clean handling, I drink it all the time! My goats are great.

    I grow a garden, have meat animals butchered. I can veg and meat and milk products. It’s been a part of my and my families for over a hundred years. What commercial processors do and put into our foods isn’t necessary! Do as each of you feel comfy with…..I have no health issues, take no meds and live well fed….all with “old” methods. Yes, I have the luxury of freezer and pressure canner….saves time, costs more, little else. Home butchered birds, free range eggs, home smoked bacon, garden grown veggies (fertilized with manure!), Fresh raw milk…yep, a walking death trap, that’s me. I sure won’t make it another 75 years. Hmmmmmm.

    1. Love it. I think the ones that considers Pressure canning certain foods didn’t have grandmothers that canned this way for years with a loss of life. It is common sense that if you do not Pressure Can according to specific directions; sterilizing, using specific times, etc. you will be canning unsafe. I am enjoying the canning that I am doing now and will try the milk. Thank you for the POST. I agree with you totally.

  33. this is from the link you offered in your article. ” At temperatures of 240° to 250°F, the time needed to destroy bacteria in low-acid canned food ranges from 20 to 100 minutes. “. so i would think you should process at least 20 mins? interesting tho.

  34. What would cause seepage of milk in my water? Is it okay. I heard we’re only supposed to do whole milk.? True? Tyvm

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