This post was most recently updated on September 15th, 2020
If you are anything like me, you might like to know how to freeze milk or other liquids without using plastic. I have a great solution that you can use to freeze soup, stock, milk or stew.
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Mason Jars. I am a homesteader. Of course the answer is mason jars, right?
If you have ever bought a milk on sale, or ended up with a surplus from a dairy cow or goat and wondered if you can freeze milk, I am here to tell you that you can!
Even human breast milk can be frozen in mason jars!
Freezing milk in mason jars is easy once you know how!
You may realize that freezing liquids in glass has a bad reputation, but I have some tips to help you avoid the disasters!
We currently have my mother’s dairy goat hanging out at our place with our Edith and stinky Freddy the buck.
Hopefully this will mean we will have babies from the girls again later in the season. However, in the meantime I have a lot more goats milk than the odd bowl of cereal can keep up with.
After jumping on the plastic free bandwagon, I am trying to avoid using single use plastic. Or plastic at all, if it is possible.
Mason jars solve many of my plastic free requirements. Including storing food, makeshift lunch boxes, storing leftovers in the fridge and now, freezing liquids.
Tips for Freezing Breast Milk in Glass Jars
If you are pumping breast milk and need a safe, zero waste way of storing it, mason jars are perfect! Simply make sure the jars are very clean – you can sterilize them by heating them in the oven at 200F/100C for 15 minutes then allow them to cool.
Place lids that have been boiled for 10-15 minutes on the top, then you can store the jars knowing that they are super clean and ready to add your milk.
Make sure you add the date to the jars before placing them in the freezer. Human milk is amazing stuff and you can keep the jar in the fridge and add to it for 2-3 days before moving it to the freezer.
Follow the directions below regarding how full to fill the jars and how to defrost them. Once defrosted human breastmilk should be used within 5 days.
Can you freeze milk in glass bottles?
The simple answer is yes. But it depends. You can freeze milk in glass bottles if you follow the tips below.
Another alternative to using glass to freeze milk is to invest in some reusable silicone freezer bags. These are perfect for freezing liquids in without the risk of them smashing, and they do stack better than mason jars or glass bottles do in the freezer.
This means that if you over fill the jars they will crack. This leaves you with both a big mess, ruined food and a wasted jar.
What Liquids are Suitable for Freezing in Glass Jars or Bottles?
Basically any liquid that you want frozen can be frozen in glass jars or bottles if you do it correctly.
Common choices are excess milk, bone broth, stock, soups and stews. Pureed fruit also needs to be frozen following this method, anything that is sloppy or runny needs to be frozen carefully so as to not shatter the jars.
So what is the trick to freezing milk in glass jars?
1) Use wide mouth jars and bottles if you can.
2) Keep the liquid an inch (2.5cm) below the shoulders of the jar.
Wide mouth jars have very little, if any, shoulder to the shape of the jar. The shoulder of the jar is where the wide bit starts to get narrow. It is also the area most likely to break when you are using glass to freeze things.
As the jar contents is freezing it will freeze from the outside inward. This means the piece of liquid sitting under the shoulders will be solid fairly near the beginning of the freezing process.
As the inside of the liquid freezes it pushes back against the outer layer that is already frozen, expanding the liquid upwards towards the space that you have left for it.
If there is not enough space below the shoulders, as the ice is forced straight up it will push right through the glass in it’s way causing it to crack.
SO, to ensure that you don’t crack all your jars, keep your liquid at least 1 inch below the shoulders of the jar.
Better yet try and get wide mouth jars that have very little shoulder.
Another option are glass flat dishes with re-usable lids like these. They are great as they are able to be stacked in your freezer. While they are not totally plastic free, they are very high quality and will last you a very long time.
Remember to label and date your jars so you know what is in there and what to use first!
Tips for Freezing Gallons of milk
If your milk is already in a plastic gallon bottle, you can freeze it by following these tips:
1. Leave the jug of milk sealed
This stops the air affecting the milk.
2. Shake the milk bottle very well before placing it in the freezer
This helps keep the milk from splitting when you thaw it. Sounds crazy I know, but it helps!
Thawing Frozen Milk so it doesn’t Split
Frozen milk has a tendency to split when you defrost it. To help reduce that, follow these tips:
- Place the milk to defrost at room temperature on a tea towel
- Shake the bottle well every hour or so until thawed
- Once thawed, place in the fridge
If you milk does split, it is still perfectly fine to drink, or use it in baking or making bread. You can use a nutribullet to blitz split milk and it will re-emulsify it.
So there you go, you CAN store your soups, stews, stocks and spare milk in the freezer without using plastic. Freezing liquids in glass ain’t so tricky after all.
How do you freeze liquids in the freezer? Let me know in the comments below.
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I love the Ball canning book recipes and instructions combined with my own canners recipe book.