Food Storage Friday: Evaporated & Sweetened Condensed Milk

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Before we end the Food Storage Friday segment on milk, Brandy and I thought it would be beneficial to highlight evaporated and sweetened condensed milk as an important part of food storage.

First of all- what exactly are evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk? Both are shelf-stable types of whole milk where half of the water in the milk has been removed, resulting in a much richer product. Condensed milk has lots of added sugar, thus adding the term, sweetened.

I've seen various recipes for making evaporated milk using powdered milk, however, I can't imagine it would have the same qualities being as powdered milk is non-fat and really, the benefits of evaporated milk come as a result of the fat included! For that reason, we feel like evaporated milk, though not as necessary as powdered milk, is still an important part of food storage.

Condensed Milk
Due to the added sugar, condensed milk is mainly used in desserts. This type of milk is certainly the least essential to have on hand, however, I use it often enough and plan to have several cans in my storage. If something were to happen that required my family to live exclusively out of our food storage, I'm sure they'd appreciate of my idea to store dessert items!

A couple simple ideas for making a frugal treat with condensed milk are Snow Ice Cream, fudge, and the infamous Magic Cookie Bars. Yum.

To make condensed milk from evaporated milk, simply heat the milk slowly and add 1 1/4 cups of sugar. Since condensed milk is more expensive than evaporated milk, it might be a good idea to store just a few cans, and then make it using evaporated milk as needed.

Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk, on the other hand, is very useful! Evaporated milk used to only be made with full-fat whole milk.  However, there are now low fat and non-fat versions sold everywhere. It is important to note that without the fat, these versions won't work very well when you're relying on the fat to add creaminess to your food!

Also, you can add water to evaporated milk and the result is whole milk, which is very beneficial to have in your storage if you have toddlers in your family. Just add 1 can of water to a normal 12-oz can of evaporated milk and chill, just as you would normal milk.

Since it's essentially a very rich milk, I substitute it for cream in a variety of recipes. Cream is expensive to buy and often time you only need a small amount in recipes, so instead, just use evaporated milk. We can hardly tell the difference and I love not having to spend the extra money.

To give you an idea of just what evaporated milk can do, check out this incredible chocolate mousse cake Brandy from The Prudent Homemaker made with it! She just substituted evaporated milk for the heavy whipping cream and voila! An easier version of the recipe she used can be found here. She also has several recipes on her site featuring evaporated milk, including Chicken Enchiladas, fudge, and Tomato Basil Soup.

I've gotten evaporated milk for as little as .24 a can, however, sales like this are not common. I just bought a case at Smith's and paid .65 a can, which is a decent deal.

Go here to see even more ideas for using evaporated milk.
Recipe photo is copyrighted and is being used with permission from The Prudent Homemaker.

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6 thoughts on “Food Storage Friday: Evaporated & Sweetened Condensed Milk

  1. Marne says:

    It is actually SUPER easy to make your own condensed milk and evaporated milk. MUCH cheaper than buying it too. It is a great way to rotate your powdered milk. Plus, I like adjusting the recipe since sometimes I don't need to use a full can. Here is how I do it:

    Sweetened condensed milk: (14 oz can)
    1/2 c. hot water
    1 c. dry powdered milk
    1 c. sugar
    1 T. butter

    Blend VERY WELL in blender.

    Evaporated Milk: (12 oz can)
    1 1/2 c. water
    1.2 c. + 1 T. dry powdered milk

    Mix well before adding to other ingredients.

  2. Utah Deal Diva says:

    Marne- awesome recipe, thank you! I guess I'm still confused though as to how well homemade evap. milk would work in recipes as it still doesn't have ANY fat. Have you tried it? Does it work as well? I just doubt you could make things like a chocolate mousse cake using homemade evap milk that doesn't contain fat.

    I guess what it comes down to is, I need to be assured I can make creamy, chocolate desserts in the event of a disaster. 😉

    Maybe I should give it a whirl and let everyone know what happens…

  3. The Prudent Homemaker says:

    The important thing is that the fat in evaporated milk (whole milk) is important for young children. When you're living on your food storage, like I am again and have done many times over the last few years (often years at a time), and you have small children as I do, the fat in whole milk is important for brain development.

    Powdered milk can be made into a whipped topping as well, but it isn't very tasty. Some would say that's putting it mildly. 🙂

    I also use evaporated milk to make ranch dressing. I can use powdered milk for a thin dressing, but when I use evaporated milk, it becomes very thick, like a dip, which is wonderful when you're making fried zucchini from your garden, and buying sour cream or yogurt for making dip is impossible because you're living from your pantry and garden.

    I've also used evaporated milk to make luscious puddings.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I love the flavor of evaporated milk, as a concentrated milk it adds richness to the foods I prepare with it. I wanted to point out that Carnation makes skim, 2% and regular evaporated milk. So it comes in different fat levels just like a jug of milk does. The texture and flavor of powder milk made into condensed milk or evaporated milk is different than the canned varieties but a great way to use your powder milk.

  5. Sara says:

    Great info! Thanks! One question though…what is the nutritional value of powdered milk versus jugs of fresh milk? And what about preservatives/hormones/etc?

  6. The Prudent Homemaker says:

    yes, Carnation does have several kinds of evaporated milk now, but the traditional evaporated milk is whole milk. If you're buying at the case lot sale this week at Smith's, it's whole milk.

    When you don't have money to go shopping and you're living on your food storage, powdered milk and evaporated milk are invaluable. I LOVE milk. I would love to be able to go buy milk, but it just isn't possible for me right now (and it hasn't been for a very long time), because I don't have money to go grocery shopping. Because I have powdered and evaporated milk in my pantry, my family can still have milk. I honestly haven't compared the difference in nutrional content. If I was zoned for farm animals I would have a cow and have fresh milk, but since I cannot, powdered and evaporated milk are how we get milk now.

    The cake that you see above was made for my son for his birthday. I used pomegranates from our garden. I didn't have money to get cream to make his cake, but I was able to use evaporated milk instead, and it was WONDERFUL.

    So, Sara, if you don't have a cow of your own, I would encourage you to have some form of milk in your food storage. You never know when you might need it, and it could save you a trip to the store "just for milk" some day!

    Besides having powdered milk and evaporated milk in your food storage, there is another option that Jessica and I have not mentioned: shelf-stable milk.

    Shelf-stable milk is UHT processed. It comes in liter containers and should be used within 6 months of purchase. (They also have snack-sized versions). When I lived in Europe, this was the ONLY way to buy milk at the grocery store. It's a strange thing to see milk on the shelf and not in the fridge.

    For a college dorm fridge, this stuff is great! You just keep the milk on the shelf until you need to open it. You can refrigerate it first, or afterwards, just like canned milk. Unlike canned milk, you don't have to add water! It comes in whole, 2%, 1% and skim as well.

    Here in the U.S., it's quite expensive; a liter of UHT milk is almost the same price as a gallon of pasteurized milk. Walmart carries it, as do some grocery stores. The boxes look just like the liter boxes of rice milk.

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