There’s a quart of milk in my fridge. A several-weeks-old quart. And it’s about to get thrown out.
It’s a curse when you live alone. Every once in a while you need some milk for cooking. A cupful, perhaps. Certainly not often enough to use up a whole quart. (Nope, I don’t use it for anything else.) But if a recipe calls for milk, there’s no good substitute.
So I buy milk, whole milk, in the smallest available amount. A quart. I never give it much thought when ordering groceries. (A holdover from the lockdown; I indulge my laziness and still have groceries delivered.) I just look for a quart of whole milk on the website and click +1.
So, long story short, I figured the current quart was well past its useful life even though still almost full. (Yes, I throw out a lot of milk.) So I looked for the expiration date, just to be sure:
January!? But it’s already several weeks old! Who keeps milk for months?
Some of you probably already know what “Ultra Pasteurized” means. But I had to look it up. It’s a special high-heat pasteurization process that kills all the bacteria. (They weren’t all killed with regular old-fashioned pasteurization??) Then the bottle is specially sealed and — voila! — it has a shelf life of several months.
Well, that extra shelf life may be great for the grocery stores, but it means nothing to me. For my entire life, milk has been something that keeps for a couple of weeks at most. Then you toss it … before it starts separating, smelling, and curdling. Ick!
In my book, any white liquid that keeps for months, doesn’t need refrigeration until after it’s opened, and has to be shaken before it’s used is, at best, a milk substitute to be viewed with great skepticism. And while I might buy it again, I guarantee it will get tossed in a couple of weeks, just like the real stuff.