Freezing milk is a great way to save money, either by storing excess that would otherwise have gone to waste or by purchasing in bulk when it is on offer. Bulk buying also reduces trips to the store, this not only cuts down on fuel use but also helps avoid the temptation of buying extra things you don’t really need while at the store! We buy our milk locally and use it to make all of our dairy products. As skimmed and low fat milk freezes best, we skim the cream from the milk before freezing and use that to make butter. Milk with a lot of fat can be chunky, separate once thawed and become grainy, it is fine for cooking, but you probably wouldn’t want to drink it neat. With skimmed or low fat milk however, it is very difficult to tell that it is not fresh milk once it it fully thawed.
Each fortnight I buy 10 litres of full fat milk locally, skim a litre of cream then freeze the remaining 9 litres of low fat milk in litre glass jars. I fill each jar about 90% full to allow the milk room for expansion otherwise the jar could explode. If you simply want to freeze the milk in the containers you buy from the shops, just remove about a cup full to allow for expansion. Freeze at a temperature of 0° or below. The milk turns yellow when frozen and looks fairly unappealing, but once it is thawed it will return to the normal colour.
When you are running out of milk just remove one of the jars and place it in the fridge until it is fully defrosted. Thawing in the fridge will take 2-3 days so be sure to plan ahead. If you want to thaw the milk more quickly, place it in the sink in cold water. Never thaw at room temperature. Make sure that the milk is fully thawed before use and that there is no ice block in the centre. Shake the bottle/jar to help recombine the fat and milk.
The milk can be stored this way for 3-6 months, any longer is not recommended as it will become more yellow with time and will start to absorb the smells of other foods kept in the freezer. If you are freezing milk that is about to go out of date, write the number of days remaining on the jar/bottle before freezing to remind you how many days are left once it is thawed. If you freeze milk that is three days before the use-by date, it will have three days remaining once defrosted.