Prepping for any SHTF scenario begins with ensuring that the three basics of survival can be met – food, clothing, and shelter. Preppers focus on the short-term, the first one to three months after a disaster, expand their stockpiles and sustainable homesteading efforts to prepare their family to make it for the long haul.
When determining how to spend your preparedness plan dollars or how to stock your off the grid prepper retreat, securing a sustainable source of water and milk should be a top priority when working on the “survival food” portion of the family disaster plan.
Living on a piece of land with a spring-fed pond, creek that stays wet year around, and a well is the first order of business. Without water dehydration could kill your loved ones and allow disease to spread when the home, clothing, and common use items cannot be cleaned properly.
One a sustainable water source has been developed, a wise prepper will set forth on securing an equally available source of milk for the family. While milk is not necessary to the human body like water is, it will keep infants from dying, is used for both cooking and baking, and to make cheese and butter.
As the wise prepper saying goes, “One is none and two is one.” Do not rely solely on just once source of milk to sustain your family through a TEOTWAWKI disaster. A single milk cow could die, disease could wipe out your small herd of goats, or the prepper retreat could catch fire and burn all of your buckets of powdered milk.
Long-Term And Sustainable Milk Option For Preppers
Whey milk is perhaps the perfect long term milk storage option. It not only has a pleasing light, vanilla taste but also boasts a long shelf life and a host of nutrients. The Survival Based whey milk buckets and cases are comprised not of a bunch of loose powder that gets exposed every time you lift the lid, but sealed pouches. Only the whey milk powder in the packet you open is exposed to light, air, and moisture.
When stored as instructed, the whey milk can last for up to 20 years. You just add water to the whey powder, stir, and enjoy a delicious glass of milk. The prepared powder can also be used for cooking and baking.
Dehydrated milk, or powdered instant milk, can be purchased in just about any grocery store or from a survival store. The powdered milk from a prepper store’s long-term food storage section will have a life of up to about 20 years – that’s basically 18 years longer than grocery store powdered milk will last.
You can also purchase condensed milk and evaporated milk in cans and mix with the appropriate amount of water as directed to make milk for baking and cooking. Canned milk also only has about a 2-year shelf life.
Although many folks do not think it is possible, you can dehydrate milk at home without the needs for extremely expensive equipment.
Dehydrating any dairy products is often thought too arduous a task, but I have not found it difficult at all to successfully dehydrate sour cream, cottage cheese, cheese, and even milk in my under $100 dehydrator.
To dehydrate milk you will need some of the plastic dehydrating tray insets known as fruit roll-up trays to put on each tray row of your machine. I use the same sheets when dehydrating other forms of dairy as well as lettuce.
Simply place an insert into each dehydrator tray and slowly pour one cup of milk onto each. If your kitchen cabinet is the tiniest bit un-level and you never noticed, you will find that out quickly as the milk fills the trays.
Setting options vary on different home dehydrating machines. I use the fruit and vegetable about 135 degrees setting when I dehydrate any dairy product.
Dehydrating four to five trays of milk will take approximately 12 hours. The power output of dehydrators vary. Your machine could complete the process in as few as 10 or as many as 12 hours. The more trays stacked in the dehydrator the longer it will take.
I recommend dehydrating just two trays the first time your work with milk to better determine the temperature and time settings required on your dehydrator. Check the milk trays by lifting the top off of the machines and carefully lifting up each tray individually to review your progress about eight hours in.
As indicated in the video below, the milk will harden and crack into multiple pieces as it dries. When it is done it will feel like a thin piece of peanut brittle. Once the milk has dried remove the flaky pieces from the tray and place them into your blender or food processor to powder.
Powdering the flakes is not necessary, but make for more compact storage and easier measuring before use. After selecting the pulse or puree button on your selected kitchen appliance and powdering the dehydrated milk, pour the contents into a mason jar. I vacuum seal the mason jars before dating them and putting them onto a shelf.
Reconstituting Dehydrated Milk
It takes approximately 13 teaspoons of dehydrated milk powder to equal one cup of reconstituted milk. I mix together one tablespoon of hot water to with 13 teaspoons of milk powder to make one liquid cup of milk. If the consistency of your batch still seems more sludge than real milk, add more hot water in ½ teaspoon increments until you achieve the consistency you desire.
Milk From Livestock
Cows eat about 100 pounds per day of feed, a factor which must be taken into consideration when relying either heavily or lightly when factoring cows into your milk preparedness plans. If your cows cannot graze during the winter and early spring months, a multitude of feed must also be stockpiled for their consumption or your dairy cow will soon perish.
“All cows produce milk once they deliver a calf. About 10 months after calving, the amount of milk the cow gives naturally decreases substantially and the cow undergoes ‘drying off.’ About 12 to 14 months after the birth of her previous calf, a cow will calve again, thus providing milk,” according to the Midwest Dairy Association website.
Some folks prefer the taste of goat milk to cow milk and believe it offers a more digestible fat and protein content than cow milk.
The smaller animal will require less feed during the cold weather months, but will still need to be fed in order to survive. Goats are wonderful weed-clearing animals and will happily consume just about any unwanted growth you have around the homestead.
If it is feasible both financially and with space consideration, you should utilize all of the survival milk suggestions offered above. Raising livestock is an everyday commitment. Recognizing the signs of illness in the goats and cows, and having at least a basic knowledge of how to treat the problems, may likely become a must during a long-term disaster.
How are you stockpiling milk to prepare for a disaster?[Image via Survival Based]