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How to get semi-skimmed milk and whole milk out of the same bottle


This is another of those strange pieces of advice like How to Restore Soft Biscuits so they become Fresh and Crisp Again, but this time it involves milk!

The first thing to know is the fact that milk can be frozen. You can get those 4-pint and 6-pint plastic canisters of milk and put them in the deep freezer, and they keep for years, and can be defrosted a day or so before you need them, turning back into perfectly good milk for putting on cornflakes, and in cups of tea, etc.

By the way, you shouldn't freeze liquid in a glass bottle as it will break. Plastic, however, survives as it has some give in it.

If you freeze a plastic 4-pinter or 6-pinter of cow milk, it will look a bit unusual. For one thing, the canister will expand and bulge, because the water in the milk is bigger as ice than it is as liquid. (ice is bigger than water). Also, the colour may look a bit suspect. Frozen milk is not white, but slightly yellow. That's nothing to worry about, and it's probably because of the same reasons other solid dairy products such as butter and cheese are less white than the liquid milk. Besides, frozen milk changes colour back to white again when defrosted.

Now as if it weren't a good enough conjuring trick already to have milk that changes colour reversibly and can be kept fresh for years, there is also another curious thing about frozen milk. As it defrosts, the cream remains solid longer than the rest of the milk, so if you start to use it before it's all defrosted, the first batch of milk to emerge is watery, like skimmed or semi-skimmed milk (I call it "skimped milk"). The creamiest milk is the last part to defrost. It's a kind of do-it-yourself gold-top milk! (If you want to freeze milk and restore it to its proper condition, you may need to shake it up a bit).

The knowledge that you can successfully freeze plastic canisters of milk and defrost them whenever you need them is handy, because if you've got a deep freezer you can stockpile milk.

Deep freezers are useful things and can be got from Iceland Freezer Shop and other electrical suppliers. You can get milk from various places, including the milkman! However, if you're going to freeze milk, make sure it's not in a glass bottle.

Also see freezer fun to see other tricks that can be performed using refrigeration.


(If you don't believe these warnings about water-based stuff breaking a glass bottle, you can prove this for yourself. Get an old whisky/vodka bottle (these are often found under the tables or in the backs of cupboards etc), fill it with water, and then put it IN A PLASTIC BAG in the deep freezer. Later, when it's frozen solid, it will have smashed, because ice is bigger than water and won't fit in the bottle anymore. Having proved this to your own satisfaction, you can now put the remains including the plastic bag in the dustbin before anyone gets hurt).