Evaporated and Condensed Milk

canned milk

The U.S. government ordered huge amounts of Condensed Milk as a field ration for Union soldiers during the American Civil War. A typical ration in a 14 oz) can contained 1,300 calories, 1 oz each of protein and fat, and more than 7 oz  of carbohydrate.  After the war as soldier returned home, this became a well-known popular product.

evaporated milk Pet has been making canned evaporated milk since 1885.  The milk is evaporated to remove the water content from the milk.  When you open a can of evaporated milk it is much thicker than ordinary milk you’d buy at a grocery store.  Canned milk both evaporated and condensed became popular because the cans of milk could keep far longer than fresh milk, and didn’t require refrigeration until after they were opened.  About 60% of the water is removed from evaporated milk, accounting for its thickness.  Evaporated milk is fresh whole milk, with a little over half the water taken out.  It has vitamin D added.

Foods from the milk group provide important nutrients like calcium.  A ½ cup of evaporated milk provides approximately one cup from the milk group.

If you need milk around but lack refrigeration, as in the case of emergencies where you might lose power, evaporated or condensed milk is an excellent choice.  Without refrigeration the storage life of opened cans of milk are very short.

Store unopened cans in a cool, dry place off the floor.  Both Pet and Carnation indicate that the storage lives of their milks are approximately one year.  In reality, they are probably very conservative in saying one year.  Do not use evaporated milk if can is rusted, bulging, or dented.  Throw it away!

See also  The Problems of 30 Year Old Wheat and Mold.

Evaporated milk can be used straight from the can in coffee and tea, on cereal or for mashed potatoes, gravies and sauces.  It can be used as a milk replacement in almost any recipe.

To use evaporated milk in place of milk or for drinking, mix with equal amounts of water.  Evaporated milk can be used for sour milk, or buttermilk.  For each cup needed, stir in one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into one cup diluted evaporated milk.

What is the difference between evaporated & condensed milk?  Condensed milk is much sweeter.  In the 1850’s condensed milk Borden was first on the market with condensed milk.  The main difference between evaporated and condensed milk is that no sugar is added to the evaporated form.  It is merely whole milk from which water has been removed.

Sugar acts as an excellent preservative, extending the life of condensed milk.  It is important to notice the difference in sweetening between condensed and evaporated milk, especially when you are baking.  If you intend to substitute one for the other, the amount of sugar in the recipe has to be adjusted.

Both can be great additions to your storage.



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6 thoughts on “Evaporated and Condensed Milk”

  1. Matt in Oklahoma

    I have shyed away from it because of the short shelf life on the can. Soooo any other input on how long it might last?

    1. Matt
      I don’t keep a lot of it, but a few cans would be very convenient during the first few days of a disaster. I have open and used cans that were stored under ideal conditions and were two years old

  2. I don’t understand why a desire or a perceived need to store milk products would not be better met with dried milk products.

    I do not consider canned food products a viable alternative given their comparatively extreme bulk and weight.

    That opinion and $4.50 will get you a latte, I reckon.


    1. I store a large amount of powdered milk, but at the beginning stages of an emergency it may be nice to have some canned milk just for convenience.

  3. Storing this milk for the average prepper…is a great idea. I’ve used it many times when I’ve run out of milk and did not want to run to the store in winter. However, if the short storage life is off-putting. It would be a good idea to re-constitute with water and then pressure can it in mason jars. This will ensure that a) it lasts a very long time and b) that when the SHTF, you are not using up your stored water to re-constitute the milk for use.

    I think that would work well all around.

  4. I have about ten cans of condensed sweetened with date expiration dates from 2008 to 2015. Should t throw them out. None are bulging and other than being moved last year have stayed in a cool dark pantry continually. I hate to throw them out but they will just go back into the cupboard. Thanks, your assistance it’s most appreciated.

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