Don’t throw out that milk!

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We’ve all experienced that moment when we open the half-full milk carton, and the sour smell hits our noses.

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Not the milk. The kids wanted to drink that.

Wait! Don’t throw out that milk!

I know what you’re thinking, “It’s spoiled. I’m not drinking it. My kids aren’t drinking it.”

Save the milk!

Confession time…

My senior year in college, I made it into the most sought-after elective class for most upperclassmen. Only 18 students were allowed to take the class each semester, and I got in. *happy dance*

The Gourmet Foods cooking class taught me how to cook gourmet meals. Long, multi-ingredient dishes.

You would think that would make me a great cook. *blink*

Yeah, no.

I’m digressing. Back to saving that smelly milk.

First, decide the level of spoiledness:

  1. The sour is just starting.
  2. The sour makes your eyes water.
  3. Who decided to make curds and whey in the refrigerator?
  4. You’re afraid you need to call out a HASMAT team to dispose of it.

If the spoiled milk falls into levels 2-4, get rid of it. You have to judge for yourself what the level is. Remember: If in doubt, throw it out.


  • A microwave
  • A microwavable measuring cup
  • An oven mitt
  • A clean pitcher

The process:

  1. Pour exactly 1 cup of the milk into the microwavable cup. (This won’t work if it’s more than a cup. Less than a cup might result in over heating.)
  2. In the microwave, heat the milk on HIGH for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the heated/cooked milk into the clean pitcher. (Use an oven mitt if the cup is hot. Safety first!)
  4. Repeat until all the milk has been heated.
  5. Cool the milk in the refrigerator.

The cooled milk should last a few more days. Yay!

Note: The re-Pasteurization works only once.

Remember that coveted Gourmet Foods cooking class? That milk-saving trick was one of the only things I remember and still use from that class. The cookbook (in all it’s traditionally-typed and photocopied glory) has a place on my book shelf, but the recipes are long and complicated.

Soooo, my parents should be thrilled to know the money spent on my college education helps me save money by rescuing spoiled milk.


Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping food fresh longer? What are things you do to save food from spoilage?

15 comments on… “Don’t throw out that milk!”

  1. Widdershins

    Boiled milk. Would it taste the same? If not what would you use it for?

    • Diana Beebe

      After it cools, it tastes the same. One time, I saved nearly half a gallon of milk this way. We had drinkable, usable milk for a few more days past the sour date.

  2. Hmm. That’s interesting idea. We’d either throw it out or cook something with it, like biscuits. But how does it taste after you nuke it (and cool it of course)?

  3. If it saved me from making yet another trip to grocery store? I’d love that! LOL I do, however, fear judging which step the milk is at. What happens if you do that when it is step 3? Will it make you sick?

    • Diana Beebe

      It works best when the milk just starts souring. It might have been good the day before, as a general guideline. Also, you can re-Pastuerize only once. (I’ll edit the post.)

      If the milk is at 3, throw it out. I wouldn’t risk it. Bleh. 😛

  4. Liza Caruthers

    A great bit of advice! And really, really important if you are trying to make mac and cheese and realize you don’t have new milk!!! thanks!

    • Diana Beebe

      Nothing worse than going to make something and finding the milk is going bad. 😀

  5. My trick is…eat/drink it faster! LOL Though I do love freezing aging fruit for use in smoothies. DELISH! Awesome tip, Diana. I’d never heard of home re-pasturizing.

    • Diana Beebe

      Lately, the girls drink the milk so fast that I can’t keep the fridge stocked. LOL. Freezing fruit for smoothies is a great idea. I just can’t bring myself to do that with bananas.

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