Other Pages of Interest

Friday, December 2, 2011

Long Live the...Milk?

This is a photo of our cupboard.  Our room-temperature cupboard that houses our cereal, crackers, oatmeal and.... milk (insert collective gasp from anyone reading this in the US).  That's right, we buy leche larga vida, or ultra-pasteurized (UHT) milk.  It is AWESOME.  It keeps (unopened) for at least 6 months, so I can buy a whole stock of it and then skip the milk purchases for the next few trips to the grocery store.  It saves space in the tiny carts they have here, space better used for things like diapers and yogurt.  Why is this not a thing in the US??  Here are some thoughts:

1) Americans are obsessed with refrigeration.  I'm not judging, I love my fridge as much as the next guy.  But think about it, we balk at other countries that don't keep their eggs in the refrigerated aisle.  We cannot imagine an apartment/house/car without air conditioning.  We laugh at the Europeans that drink room temperature beverages. We are offended if a restaurant doesn't provide ice with their water.  We like our things cold.

2) It doesn't taste good.  The first time my mom drank it while visiting us, she poured a glass of milk from the fridge, then promptly reported that the milk had gone bad.  As I pointed to the expiration date that was 5 months in the future, I thought she was going to barf.  I get it, it is not as tasty as normal milk, but I think it's been 15 years since I had a plain glass of milk so this stuff works when I add it to my coffee, make my oatmeal or cook with it.  It just can't hold it's own without something else to mask the flavor.

3) We've never tried it.  Or have we?  According to the 100% accurate website, Wikipedia, if you've had a McFlurry from McDonald's or had milk on an airplane, you've probably had UHT milk and just not realized it.  That being said, you can't just put a display of room temperature milk in the middle of a Wegman's and expect people to jump on board.

The difference is in the pasteurization method, it is pasteurized at a much higher temperature, for less time than regular milk.  This does change the taste and smell, but again, it's only noticeable for me when you're serving milk alone.

I think it's amazing.  It's doesn't take up all of the space in your fridge and you can buy in bulk without worrying about spoilage. I imagine anyone who has had a long-lasting power outage wishes that they had some standby milk to turn to.  I'd also be willing to bet that anyone with multiple children would love to have a secret stash of milk in their pantry. If you see it on your grocery shelf, give it a go, don't be afraid!

Viva la leche larga vida!


  1. It may be convenient but realize that eating non-foods will eventually impact your health negatively. That might not be as convenient down the road.

  2. Being from Wisconsin, this just doesn't seem normal. I'm sorry but I can't get past the taste and smell two important parts of enjoying a glass of milk.