As most goat owners know, goats only milk a few months out of the year. If you are really lucky, and have a good milker, you may be able to get milk for up to ten months. Some goat farmers alternate the breeding times of their goats to make sure they get milk for most of the year, however, if you have just a couple of goats, or limited space, alternating breeding times may not be the answer for you.
Here at Exotic Gardening Farms & Wildlife Habitat, we have three dairy goats, Sugar, Spice – pictured above and Darla. The first year we bought them, they were in milk. We did not buy the babies, so we were able to keep all of the milk. We bought Darla in March, Sugar in May and Spice in June. We milked until late August, then decided to dry them up due to a lack of time to milk. During that time we milked twice a day, every day. We had plenty of milk, butter, buttermilk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products. However when we quit milking, there was no reserve.
Then we failed to find a buck to breed the girls with, so we went a year without milk. Then in July 2008 we bought our buck Leonardo, a colored angora which can be seen in the photo above. Our grandaughter Trinity is petting him.
So, the late spring and early summer of 2009 bought baby goats and milk!
However with the babies we did not get as much milk as we did the first year! We still had plenty though, with a little left over. So, I decided to figure out if there was a way to preserve the milk without it taking on a “goaty” taste.
Several ladies on a list I belong to suggested freezing the milk. Now there is a trick to this. First, as soon as you are done milking, either pasterurize it or if you drink raw milk, go ahead and cool it. The best way is to strain it, then pour the strained milk into several small canning jars. I use pint jars that I fill 1/4 of the way full of milk.
I leave this in the freezer for half an hour, uncovered. I open the freezer door every ten minutes and swirl the milk in the jars. Once cooled, pour the milk into a larger canning jar such as a half gallon jar. Do use a canning jar as they will freeze and thaw just fine. Other types of glass may break.
I then put a plastic lid on the canning jar. You can buy these in the canning section of most stores. They are designed to be used on canning jars.
Once the jar of cooled milk is sealed with a lid, put the jar into a large storage or freezer bag and seal. Be sure to write the contents and date on the jars, bag or both.
Put the bags filled with the canning jars on the bottom of a chest freezer making sure they will not easily tip over.
Now, here is the rest of the trick. Do not thaw the milk at room temperature or in a microwave. When you are ready to use some of the milk, sit the frozen jar in the refrigerator and let it thaw naturally. This may take two to three days depending on how cold your refrigerator is.
Once the milk is thawed, use it as you would fresh milk. I had some on cereal and it tastes just like it came from the goat, the only difference is it was ice cold. Delicious! What a great way to preserve goat milk and have it year round!