Anyone who has purchased milk lately knows that the price of this popular beverage is much lower than it was last year at this time. Historically, milk prices rise and fall. When prices are low, it’s a great time to stock up on canned and powdered varieties when they’re on sale – a move that can save you money when prices begin to rise again. It’s also a great time to experiment with some alternative uses for milk. As well as being fun, some of these uses are thrifty and can save you money.
Try making your own:
Cream. When a recipe calls for cream, but there is none on hand, blend cold water and powdered milk until desired consistency is reached. For whipped cream, mix with beater and add about one tablespoon of sugar. Lemon or sugar may be added for flavor. Ice cream can also be made. Mix one cup of cold water and
Milk-based skin conditioner. Make a paste with about one part water to two parts milk – recipe can be modified to achieve desired consistency – for a luxurious skin conditioner. The conditioner can serve as a shaving cream, hand cream or all-over body cream.
Cheese. Making homemade Parmesan-style topping is easier than it sounds. Combine equal parts water and powdered milk in a saucepan with about three tablespoons of lemon juice. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and continue cooking until small curds form. Strain through cheese cloth, dishtowel or strainer. Place in bowl and use a fork or whisk to break up curds then spread onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake on 150 degrees for about half an hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Pulse dried curds in food processor for several seconds, adding salt if desired. When curds are ground into a powder-like consistency, transfer to a container. For a cottage cheese-styled cheese, combine one cup of powdered milk with two cups of water and bring heat in a sauce pan – do not boil. Remove from heat and add about one-third cup of vinegar. Curds should separate from whey. Add additional vinegar if necessary to achieve clear liquid. Allow to cool then strain. Place curds in bowl and add about one-third cup of fresh milk and stir. Amount of milk may be altered to reach desired consistency.
Other possible uses
1. Treat a sunburn. Rub a bit of milk on scorched skin for soothing relief.
2. Take a milk bath. Add one cup of dry powdered milk to the bathtub for a skin softening soak. Add a touch of honey or a bit of olive oil for extra softening properties.
3. Add unique color. Milk based paint was the basis of early American furniture decorating. Making homemade milk paint is a wonderful use for past-its-prime-milk that that is no longer drinkable. Various recipes are easy to find online but most use various amounts of powdered milk, lime and food coloring. Other recipes recommend combining milk with water and Tempera paint for a diluted, “milky” paint color that is kid-friendly and easy to use. Milk paint must be used the day it is mixed or refrigerated.
4. Stain removal. This works only on white clothing. Dab milk on the stain and use a sponge to rub milk into the stain. Allow to sit then launder. If necessary, mix the milk with a bit of bleach.
5. Conditioning hair mask. Combine equal parts powdered milk and baking soda and mix in enough water to make a thin paste. Slather onto hair and allow to sit for about 15 minutes then rinse. Hair will will soft and clean.
6. Make facial cleanser. Whisk together one tablespoon of olive oil with one-half cup of fresh milk. Saturate a clean washcloth with the mixture and use to wash the face to remove dirt or makeup. Rinse with warm water. Powdered milk may be combined with oatmeal and honey to make a facial mask.
TIP: When finished with the milk, don’t toss the carton. It can be reused in a number of projects such as bird feeders, planters, piggy banks, pencil holders, terrariums, or a variety of other things. Some schools and children groups collect the cartons for use in group craft projects.