Skip the Trip to the Store & the Preservatives…..
I try to keep my family eating as healthy, preservative free, and economical as possible. I use to love sugar free Coffee-mate Sweet Vanilla Creamer in my coffee. I couldn’t wait for it to come on sale! Then during one of my study sessions on nutrition I found out that there is an additive, Carrageenan, which is being put in quite a few foods, and drinks, to thicken and preserve them, and is unable to be processed by our bodies. Of course when I looked at the back of my creamer, it was there. After finding this out I was determined to create a coffee creamer that had fewer ingredients, fewer additives, and was cheaper. And after some research, and a couple of tries, I did it! I made a sugar free creamer that only had 4 ingredients, and zero preservatives. Or so I thought.
One of the ingredients I was using was canned evaporated milk. I should have figured that since there were so many “natural” and “organic” products that had the red seaweed thickening agent I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that canned evaporated milk had it to! But I was. And I felt completely deflated and disappointed that the creamer I was making was no better than the stuff being sold in the stores. But there is a solution to every problem, and of course there was a way to make evaporated milk… there had to be!
And there is. 🙂 After doing some research, and trying to make it a few different ways, I landed on a winner. I think it was try #6. 😉 Making homemade evaporated milk isn’t a hard process at all, it’s much cheaper, and when you are done your only ingredient is MILK! There are a couple of tricks to make it turn out just right that I will definitely pass on to you so you don’t have to make it a bunch of times before you have the perfect outcome.
- Use a heavy bottom pan. This is key in keeping it from burning, or scorching. There will be some brown milk stuck to the bottom of the pan when you are done, but that isn’t anything to worry about.
- Cook it on MEDIUM heat. Cooking it higher will burn it, and lower will take forever.
- Stir the milk a couple of times before it begins to boil, and then continue to stir it about every 5 minutes or so to keep the “skin” from preventing the evaporation process. You can just stir it right in. It will be removed later. This will take about 30 minutes.
- You know it is done by the color, it will be a light caramel yellow, the smell will be sweeter, and it will be slightly thicker. If you have ever bought canned evaporated milk you know the thickness that I’m talking about. It should yield around 1 cup. Toward the end really keep an eye on it because it can evaporate from 1 ½ cups to ½ a cup in a minute or two.
- Strain it 5 times. This just seems to be the magic number. This is where you will get rid of any dark pieces that were stirred up from the bottom of the pan, and the “skin” that you stirred in earlier.
- After you have strained it pour it into a plastic or glass container, cover it, and pop it in the fridge for up to 14 days.
I know that it sounds like a lot of work, but after you make it the first time you can do a bunch of other things while it is cooking and the straining process is rather simple. So, no worries about it being time consuming, or difficult. It is so easy if you were using it for a pie, you could make the crust and almost all of the filling while the milk cooks down enough to be used. For less than .50, and without having to drive to the store, and zero preservatives…. You have evaporated milk!
Homemade Evaporated Milk
By: Angie Gouchenour
1 ½ cups of Whole milk
1 ½ cups of 1% milk
Combine milk in a heavy bottom pan
Stir frequently over medium heat
This takes approximately 30 minutes
To insure a fool proof cooking experience please read the tips above.
Yields: 1 cup
NOTE: I have tried just using 2% instead of whole milk and 1% milk together and it just doesn’t turn out as good. But if you would like it extremely creamy you can use 3 cups of Whole milk.