California became the nation’s leading fluid milk–producing state in 1993 and has led the nation in milk production ever since.
That’s great news, because fluid milk produced and sold in California abides by higher nutritional standards, exceeding the federal standards for protein, calcium and other nutrients. California milk producers accomplish this by fortifying milk with nonfat milk solids, which improves taste and adds additional nutritional benefits. The California dairy industry is also a leader in dairy farm management, herd health and fluid milk handling.
- Pasteurization is the process of heating fluid milk to destroy disease-causing microorganisms and increase shelf life. Various time/temperature combinations are used, with higher temperatures requiring less time.
- Homogenization breaks fluid milk’s fat into very small droplets and disperses them throughout the milk. This prevents the cream from rising to the surface and ensures milk’s smooth, uniform texture.
- California’s standards for fat and nonfat fluid milk solids are higher than those of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This means that Real California Milk contains more protein, calcium and other nutrients than milk that meets federal standards.
- Store fresh fluid milk in a refrigerator set at 38°–40°F in the container in which it was sold. Keep the container closed to prevent the absorption of refrigerator flavors.
- The “sell by” date stamped on fluid milk tells you how long the retail store can keep the product for sale on the shelf. No matter the date, discard fluid milk with an off odor or taste.
- Do not leave fluid milk sitting on the counter for more than a few minutes, and never return unused fluid milk to the original container.
- Freezing fluid milk is not recommended, as it causes undesirable changes to its texture and appearance.
- Fluid milk adds moisture, flavor and texture to custards, sauces, soups, potatoes, baked goods and more.
- Fluid milk can replace cream in baking to reduce fat.
- To heighten the color of a piecrust or bread loaf, brush with fluid milk before baking.
- To heat fluid milk, place in a pan over gentle heat, stirring to prevent scorching. If a skin forms, simply skim it from the surface.
- In hot fluid milk drinks and espresso, reduced-fat and skim milk usually foams more easily. Whatever type, the milk should be as fresh as possible, as any souring can allow the milk to curdle when heated.