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By Carolyn Shearlock, author of The Boat Galley, with over 350 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too – plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers! The print edition of The Boat Galley Cookbook, written with Jan Irons.
Feb 08 2013

How do you have enough milk for a week if you've only got a tiny refrigerator?  or if you just have a cooler?  In the US. campers will typically turn to powdered milk or evaporated milk...  but there's a much better product available.


Boxed Milk 

If you're going to be away from grocery stores for more than a few days, boxed milk can be a lifesaver!  It's widely available in developing countries where there's less refrigeration, but you can get it many stores in the US-- if you know what to look for!

I took this photo a couple of days ago at my local Walmart Supercenter and I've bought boxed milk at other Walmarts across the county when we've taken some extended camping trips.  It's typically in the baking aisle, of all places.  I've also seen it in various other chain groceries and even once in a convience store along the ICW.

So what's so great about boxed milk?  Well, you'll notice that it's on regular shelves.  It doesn't have to be refrigerated until you open it. Unopened, it's good at least three months -- and I've used some that was over 6 months old with no problems.

Use it just as you would regular milk -- which is what it is except that it's been ultapasteurized and packaged in a Tetra Pak, which totally prevents air getting to it.

Back in the days before my husband  Dave developed his milk allergy, I used boxed milk 100% of the time on the boat.  We used it on our morning cereal and in cooking.  Dave occasionally drank a glass with a sandwich.  Some people say they notice a slight difference in the taste when drinking it:  Dave didn't.  and I never noticed any difference in cooking or on my cereal. 

You can store the boxes just about anywhere -- we had some shallow lockers behind settees that were just perfect for stacking these in.  They fit into lots of other small spaces -- just make sure to rememver where you've stashed them all.

Here in the US, almost all boxed milk I've found has been the Parmalat brand, available in 2% and whole milk.  The tops shown in the photo above are the most common.  You flip the plastic back and pull a foil tab off to open the box, then flip the plastic top back to close it -- it sort of clicks into place.  On a boat, thought that little plastic flip top can easily jostly open in the refrigerator or cooler.  If you're going to be in fairly protected conditions, you can just put a piece of duct tape over the top.  I usually transferred the milk to an old clean juic bottle with a screw top.

Before opening a new box, be sure to shake it up well in case any of the milk solids have settled and then just use as you would any other milk!

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