From the Off-Grid Food Preservation Stratagies post came this comment from Robin:
I would be interested in learning how you can milk.
Unfortunately, before we get to the good stuff I must present a couple of disclaimers. 1) The USDA does not recognize canning milk at home as a safe practice. 2) Being somewhat of a rebellious soul I make decisions on a daily basis that run counter to academic recommendations. The fact that you might see me do something or omit something in no way is intended to imply that you should do the same. Do your own research, trust your instincts as they develop and make your own decisions.
Now, I’m ready to can milk.
A search of the web reveals lots of warnings and several methods for canning excess milk at home. The method I use is pretty much the same as Mary Jane Toth’s method seen here on the Hoegger Farmyard site.
First, assemble your gear. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a canning project just to realize that you’ve forgotten something important, like lids. Trust me, I know. Speaking of lids, you’ll notice that I’m using re-usable lids and gaskets. The technique for canning milk is the same as with standard lids except for a few minor differences in how you handle tightening the rings. I hope at some time to do a post on canning with re-usable lids.
I use freshly washed jars, lids, gaskets and rings. I don’t sterilize. For my purposes the canner gets plenty hot to do that for me. Make sure there are no chips on the jar rims.
Fill the jars with fresh milk, leaving 1/2” of headspace. I actually leave just a bit more.
Wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth and position the lids and rings.
Place the canner on the stove with enough water to come within an inch or so of the top of the jars. Load the jars into the canner. Experience will teach you how much water to use. This load of 8 pints takes not quite 1 1/2 gallons of water. It is not necessary or even desirable when pressure canning to cover the jars with water as in water bath canning.
The way I do this, in not heating the milk before I pour it into the jars, it’s important that you not have the canner water boiling or even too hot when you put the jars in. If you put cold jars into hot water you’ll blow the bottoms out of your jars.
I’m using a wood cookstove this morning so I’ve juiced the heat up with some smaller wood before filling the canner.
Place the canner lid on without the weight and allow it to heat until it begins to exhaust steam. Let it exhaust for 10 minutes then place the weight.
Heat until the pressure reaches 10 pounds then turn off the heat and let the canner cool until all pressure is released. Don’t try to rush this when pressure canning by messing with the weight or using other methods to speed cooling. It will cause your jars to boil over and ruin the seals. Let the canner cool undisturbed.
Once the canner is depressurized remove the hot jars carefully and allow to continue cooling undisturbed for 24 hours before checking the seals, labeling and placing in storage. I remove the rings after 24 hours, but opinions vary.
Canned milk is great to have on hand for cooking – gravies, cream soups, puddings, baking. I’ll plan to have at least 60 pints on hand to get our family of usually 2 through two months of no fresh milk plus some extras for just-in-case.