I find this to be a fascinating topic more and more. With so many different types of milk, which one is best??
There’s the typical grocery store cow’s milk, pasteurized and homogenized, organic or conventional. As well as the soy, almond, and lactose-free milks which seem to be more and more necessary with all the milk sensitivities people are developing.
A product that has been reintroduced to our grocery store relatively recently is non-homogenized milk. We got a half gallon in our CSA share this week which is what piqued my interest about this topic. I had never really considered this as they do not sell it in gallon sizes at our store and we go through too much milk to buy half gallons all the time. However, I like the idea of it.
According to the Fresh Fork newsletter, “Homogenization is the process of forcing fluid milk through a very fine filter. This literally breaks the fat molecules up and allows them to suspend in the milk as opposed to rising to the top.” So basically, it is milk with a layer of cream on the top. Pasteurization is the process which kills bacteria in it. Unpasteurized milk is called raw milk and is illegal to sell in Ohio and many other states.
It seems that homogenization began in the 1930’s because certain containers of milk would sell first because they had more fat in them. Retailers did not like that this occurred so the milk industry came up with homogenization. I think it is continued today for the convenience of not having to scoop the fat off the top of the milk. There are arguments on both sides as to the benefits of homogenized vs. non-homogenized milk.
It is argued that it is less healthy because it is more processed. People say it is tastier. I cannot confirm this because I got whole milk for the wee one in our house, and I usually drink skim milk. All I can say is that it definitely tastes better than our skim milk! Also, some people who are lactose intolerant are able to drink non-homogenized milk. According to the Fresh Fork newsletter, “homogenization and pasteurization break down a chemical referred to as “XO.” It’s a chemical found in milk that helps your body digest lactose. Without it, your body may reject lactose…hence, lactose intolerant. Minimally pasteurized milk has more XO in it than ultra-pasteurized milk.” Finally, researchers are split on the issue of whether it contributes to cardiovascular disease.
More of this milk in our future? I think so.