1 EAGLETON NOTES: Use By....

.

.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Use By....

This morning I had, in the fridge, a small amount of milk left in a 1.1 litre plastic container it was supplied in. It was labelled 'Use By 2 Jan'.  I've been using it until today and it smelt okay but then I've just had a dose of not being able to smell anything. So I disposed of it down the sink. That's not good because milk is quite a pollutant.

I was eating my banana and muesli quite happily with the fresh milk when I was informed on the news that the supermarket chain Morrisons is to replace the  'Use By' date on milk with a 'Best Before' date.

Doubtless other supermarkets will all follow suit. I hope so. In any case I will now continue to rely on the smell test.

This has made me think about milk in glass bottles and delivery of milk to the doorstep both of which were common when I was a child. Perhaps another post in due course. 

In the meantime I hanker for the days when the bluetits used to peck through the milk bottle top and drink the cream floating at the top.

56 comments:

  1. I remember the crates of opened milk bottles delivered to our primary school classroom each morning. They sat in the corner of the room gently warming until break time, when we were then required to drink our lukewarm milk because it was good for us. It probably was but it tasted horrible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Jaycee, I didn't like milk as a child at the best of times so the horrible warm school milk was a real trial.

      Delete
  2. We had two cows: Blacky and Rusty. We were swimming in milk, churning cream. Sorry, it feels like I am bragging. It amazes me that it has been decades since then. Your photo is super.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, living in a suburban situation we had local dairies but the only animal we ever had was a very vicious black rabbit. I didn't take the bird photo by the way.

      Delete
  3. We still get milk delivered in bottles by a milkman. The blue tits can't get through my home made wooden milk cover. Some other kind of tit stole the metal one we used to have. All already blogged about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tasker, there were dairies on the Island when I came but they are long gone. Many crofters still had a milking cow too. A friend in Glasgow still has hers delivered in bottles but you are the only two people I know of. For me the problem would be needing such an irregular supply.

      Delete
  4. But what about the old days before we knew about avian flu? We happen had it from a Blue Tit but called it a cold or in my case ManFlu.
    Smelly meat I hated the stink of it raw but stewed up or roasted it is grand.
    Milk can go funny when you add it to tea or coffee, I don't like that but the same stuff is fine on cornflakes or muesli. Only chuck it when is lumpy, even then I bet it's little different to cottage cheese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adrian, I'm fortunate in drinking tea and coffee black. In the "old days" milk was not "interfered with" as much as it is now and went 'off' naturally. Now it goes 'bad'.

      Delete
  5. Lumpy milk ssems to be a feature of our fridge management (or lack of it) and scones to use it up a regular feature on the household menu.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm fortunate, Tigger, in. that I drink almost all my milk before I even look at the 'use by' date.

      Delete
  6. Best buy for folks with sensitive digestive systems, I think, will help. A day or two before that date or use by date, is when I stop using milk because the sour nasties in milk are growing before they send off a scent.
    Ah, for the days of going to school not forgetting my milk money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maywyn, the nasties in most things are growing before they can be seen or smelt but they don't usually do us much harm.

      Delete
  7. I grew up with cows and a billy full of fresh milk, then had glass bottles and daily delivery when I married and moved into town - but I have never experienced a bird sharing my milk with me! That must have made quite a sight :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, it was very common if you didn't bring the milk in straight away for it either to have been pecked into or, much worse, got heated in the sun when it went sour very quickly.

      Delete
  8. The activity of those tits opening the milk bottle caps to get at the cream has been the topic of countless papers on avian intelligence. People always thought it cute and never worried about the possibility of disease being transmitted by a Blue Tit, but had the perpetrator been a crow or a starling, I am willing to bet there would have been a different reaction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David, I would agree with you but using the rationale that starlings and crows eat carrion and are far more likely to leave nasties in the milk than the Blue Tit.

      Delete
    2. Ah, but Graham, BlueTits are not averse to picking choice morsels from cow patties!

      Delete
    3. True. But whereas we like, and therefore defend, BlueTits we don't, as a rule like crows and starlings (although we may admire their intelligence).

      Delete
  9. I have always used the sniff test and I was brought up on milk straight from the farm. These days it has become quite 'trendy' to drink raw milk. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jules our milk when I was a child came from the farm in that our milkman also had a dairy farm. Now it comes to the Island from heaven knows where.

      Delete
  10. I'm sure one of my mother's tricks to raising twelve healthy children was the crate (12 bottles) of milk that was delivered daily to our doorstep. The only time we ever used the sniff test was to the stuff that we were made to drink at school and it had to be very whiffy before the nuns would excuse us from drinking it. I don't think any birds ever got the chance to peck through the tops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Pauline, milk was very good for us as children and I'm sure played a huge part in our healthy growth.

      Delete
  11. We have best before dates here.

    ReplyDelete
  12. At my childhood home we had a VERY long drive; the milkman must have hated us. I too used to love seeing the foil tops all pecked away, and in very cold weather the milk would freeze and be forced out past the top of the bottle. Things of the past.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Cro, the cream used to freeze and expand. I'd forgotten that.

      Delete
  13. While the use of glass bottles has its own impact on the environment through production, cleaning and transport, it is better than plastic, especially when it is a return-and-use-again system.
    I very rarely have to throw out dairy products (or anything else); most of the time, things are still perfectly fine even long after their "best before" date, as long as they have been properly stored and not been left standing outside the fridge for too long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The question, Meike, of glass v plastic is not as simple as some make out but there are so many problems with plastic waste now that anything that reduces it must be a good thing.

      Delete
  14. You can always add a bit of lemon juice to the milk that tastes 'off', make yourself a bit of sour cream and put it on a baked potato.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debbie, that's a bit too subtle for me to taste. Having said that the small amount I disposed of a few days ago is the first I can recall throwing out for a very long time.

      Delete
  15. Gosh, you reminded me of the milk we used to get at school and I hadn't thought of that for years and years! It was awful in those little cartons and never cold enough. Ugh!
    I didn't know that we are not supposed to pour milk down the drain. Why is it bad for the drain if we can pour it into our bodies? That confuses me...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ellen, dairy farming can be quite a pollutant unfortunately but milk disposed of or spilled into large bodies of water propels the growth of bacteria. Large-scale milk spills can lead to the death of many aquatic animals and can render the water undrinkable. It learned it was a big problem when I lived in New Zealand.

      Delete
  16. I grew up on a farm with a small Jersey dairy herd, and we had fresh milk twice a day straight from the cows after going through the cooler. I've never tasted milk from anywhere else that could match that. Now I live in a courtyard built over the farmyard that used to be where our local milkman from more than 40 years ago operated when we first moved to the area. His round disappeared nearly 20 years ago when he retired, although an enterprising businessman has now restarted local household milk deliveries and is doing quite well in the current pandemic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown, it sounds as though you are happily and inextricably linked with your milk supply.

      Delete
  17. I remember milk in glass bottles from my childhood too, but we did not get them delivered to the door. Nowadays we get milk and similar products in cartons and that's been the standard ever since they stopped selling it in glass bottles. I think we have "best before" dates on most groceries here. I agree it can be tricky to go by smell when one has a cold, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Monica, I think we can still get milk in treated card cartons but I haven't seen any for a long time. It occurred to me this morning when you mentioned smell that nowadays a lot of the milk appears not to go 'sour' but to go 'bad'. I must look into that. It may be the way it's treated now.

      Delete
  18. Ahhhh.... milk! When I was a child, in 1960s Long Island, we had an alumin(i)um milk box on our doorstep, and my sister and I took turns getting the milk in the mornings. It was toward the end of the whole milk-delivery system, so we did not have bottles with bulbous tops to hold the floating cream - the cream had been pre-harvested and we got regular milk.
    Nowadays I go between believing health gurus that we should not be drinking milk as adults, and caving in and buying milk because there's nothing better than taking a pint glass out of my freezer (yes, I keep pint glasses and huge glass mugs in my freezer) and filling it with milk, and drinking it with a huge bowl of popcorn, or breakfast, or a hot bowl of tomato soup. Bear bemoans my milk-drinking... he hates to drink milk, he just uses it as coffee dressing if we've run out of the bottled creamer we usually have in the fridge.
    As for the use-by situation... I smell it, and if I'm in doubt I pour a little bit and see if it's lumpy. The reason I don't just trust the smell test is that sometimes wee bits of milk get caught in the twist-top grooves of the carton and they make it smell funny even though the milk inside the jug is just fine. At which point I'll take hot water on a paper towel and wipe the mouth of the jug clean and take another sniff.
    Another milk memory... when making Irish soda bread, I take a tablespoon full of white vinegar and put it into the milk, which creates a "buttermilk substitute" that gives the bread a wonderful flavor. As for buttermilk (which my mother and grandmother drank by the glassful with gusto)... I can't get it past my lips. Awful stuff!
    Another milk memory (who knew there were so many)... when I was a teenager, my family had friends who lived in upstate NY on a farm. They had two cows, and thus their own milk supply. When we were visiting, we kids (my sister and I and their four kids) would get up in the morning and shake the milk bottle (mixing the milk with the heavy cream floating on top) before pouring it over our cereal... there was nothing to compare. This helps to explain why the mother of that family moved to the farm with an eighteen-inch waistline and ended up with one about four times that. Farm food is delicious, but it really packs on the pounds!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your interesting anecdotes, Marcheline. I don't drink milk at all or in anything as a drink per se. I may have a cappuccino occasionally if I'm out otherwise I drink everything 'black'. Our milk is sold as 'full fat', 'semi-skimmed' and 'skimmed' (ie coloured water). I use semi-skimmed. I might suggest that the large waistlines are not so much caused by the quality of the milk but by the fact that any nation that can serve a stack of 12 huge syrup pancakes for breakfast is NEVER going to be slim.

      Delete
  19. My hubby has milk on cereal, and has drunk a full pint of milk with his evening meal all his life. He rarely suffers even a slight cold and never has to visit a doctor so it seems to suit him. I only like a mere splash in coffee (horrible memories of warm milk in a plastic beaker in school put me off I suspect) but I will happily scoff dairy products such as cheese, and if yogurt is a week or so past a "use by" date it doesn't bother me....to me it's already "fermented" so another few days is not going to harm me.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Like you, Jane, I eat a lot of yoghurt. Just looked at the lid of the one I'm half way through as I type. 12/1. Pure luck. I've got another three in the same pack so they will be OOD when I eat them. I would really struggle to drink a pint of milk. My fluid of choice is carbonated water of which I drink between 1 and 2 lites a day (in addition to all the black coffee!).

    ReplyDelete
  21. I remember the days of milk bottles, we use to put empty ones out by the letterbox with coins inside one of them for the milk boys. Shame we don't use those anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy, I have a feeling they will make a partial comeback.

      Delete
  22. I stumbled upon your blog...what a delight to read from across the miles (US) about "real" milk. I've always wanted a cow...can't talk hubby into it, but fortunately a friend shares her fresh milk with our family. A simple thing that absolutely thrills me. Hmmm, maybe I'll ask for a cow for my birthday! Looking forward to reading more of your previous posts, Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see you Mary. I hope that you have thought through the implications of having a cow to look after. It was common here on Lewis many years ago but then the womenfolk in particular rarely left the croft.

      Delete
    2. Most certainly...we live on a farm with goats, chickens, and honeybees so hard work and early mornings would be nothing new. My mother-in-law grew up on a dairy farm and has shared both the ups and downs of the lifestyle. And honestly, as Gladys Taber said, "I suppose I am a sparrow...a stay-at-home bird." Yes...I'm a homebody who is quite content with the lifetyle...

      Delete
  23. We saw a TV show I think it was "The Lakes" where a guy was always smelling the milk and his wife was always saying "I wish you wouldn't smell the milk". We often say it to each other in our house.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane it always amuses me when thing like that become family favourites.

      Delete
  24. Growing up my parents also had milk delivered by a milkman and the bottles would be left on the front porch in an insulated metal box. I'm not exactly sure when this practice stopped but it was only in my very early years and I was surprised to have recalled it at all. I never knew about birds pecking through a milk bottle top to drink the cream on top. Certainly, that never happened in our city neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beatrice, the worst thing for the milk was being left in the sun. Our front door had an unenclosed porch and the milkman used to put the milk round the corner out of the morning sun. Our deliveries were also very early. We had no fridges in those days so milk didn't last long.

      Delete
  25. Yep! When I was a kid the milkman delivered milk bottles to our door, too. The iceman cometh, as well. We had an ice chest, not a fridge.

    Take care, Graham. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, I'd forgotten about the ice-man. We didn't have a fridge in those early days but I can remember that my grandmother had a cellar with provision for ice blocks and I have seen an ice chest in a museum.

      Delete
  26. I pay no attention at all to use by dates, my eyes and nose do the job. I'm not sure how my children will manage when they fly the nest, I am regularly asked to give the all clear on some random food item.

    I remember the days of putting the milk bottles out but I don't remember if any birds every took a sneaky drink. I must ask mum and dad.

    A colleague of mine uses "it's time to put the milk bottles out" as his signal that people should vacate his office as he wants to head home

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kylie, I can only trust my nose up to a point because I have a very limited ability to taste and smell. Yor colleague is, presumably, of a certain age.

      Delete
  27. We were given small glass bottles of milk to drink at school break, probably a quarter of a pint. I disliked it intensely because it wasn't chilled, but in post-war Britain I had to drink it down, it couldn't be wasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rosemary, like you I detested the warm milk we got in those little bottles. I didn't like milk anyway but we had no choice but to drink and be thankful.

      Delete
  28. We used to buy tokens from the Co-op that went out on the step to pay for the milk that was delivered. The milkman knew how many pints to leave by the number of tokens. Dad put a hinged cover on the top of the milk bottle rack to stop the blue tits from pinching the cream. Nowadays all the milk seems to be homogenised, so there's never any cream on the top any more - I think that this is probably also part of the reason that milk now goes bad rather than sour.

    My aunt's husband was a dairy farmer and they had some Jersey cattle - now there was seriously creamy milk - you could scoop it off the top with a knife!

    ReplyDelete

Comment moderation is activated 14 days after the post to minimise unwanted comments and, hopefully, make sure that I see and reply to wanted comments.