17 March 2012

Milk is different

A six pack of liters of milk
Milk keeps longer in France and comes in six-packs.
A gallon of milk
 In the States milk is a staple.  It comes pasteurized (using a process created by the great French scientist (Louis Pasteur), homogenized, with Vitamin D added, with differing levels of milk fat, in a variety of containers of different sizes and it spoils fairly easily. If the average American has to run a quick errand in the week for food, it's most likely to get a bottle of milk.

Par contre (on the other hand), in France milk is different. OK, it's homogenized and comes with differing levels of milk fat. After that:
  • The basic container is a liter and typically comes in a six-pack. 
  • Milk does not routinely contain Vitamin D (you pay extra for that kind of milk).
  • It has been subjected to an ultra-high-temperature process that kills the germs in the milk. Consequently, unopened milk is stored unrefrigerated and keeps for weeks. Only after you open it do you have to keep it in the fridge. 
Since it only holds a liter, the container gets used up quickly, especially by Americans who often drink more milk than the French. (Some think the UHT process changes the taste and insist on buying raw milk.)

Incidentally, when a Frenchman goes out in the week on a quick errand to get food, it's most likely for bread - not milk, and the bread is most likely a baguette.





Added 18 March 2012: The only UHT-treated product I know in America:

15 comments:

  1. By no means is all milk the long life milk. Regular milk is in a refrigerated case. I usually buy the Bio which is a little more expensive than regular pasturizes milk. The use by date is stamped on the cap. I usually find milk good for two weeks. True that it comes in one litre bottles and dkoes not ordinarily have vitamin D added. I have noticed that most people at check out with the long life milk have several kids in tow. No dou t it is cheaper.

    ReplyDelete
  2. UHT milk is good for making yogurt and other things where milk would be scalded or otherwise cooked. To drink, it tastes horrid IMHO, but some brands are better than others.
    Raw milk (cow or goat) is occasionally available in our French grocery stores.
    "Normal" pasteurized, homogenized milk is usually available in a cooled section at the grocery.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with Kaye - UHT milk might be OK in coffee but it's vile with tea or on cereal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm...subjective judgement. Having no palate, I use it on and in everything: tea, coffee, cereal, to make yogurt or Southern biscuits.

      Delete
  4. Hey! How come the Captcha words that verify my humanity include the word "Fesses"?

    Have you programmed your blog to be rude to me, Harvey?
    :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - I had a similarly scatological word in my "verify" too!

      Delete
    2. Folks, that's Googlen not me. You do remember how hung up Americans are about sex.

      Delete
  5. In the US you find UHT milk in stores that cater to people who go for long walk in the mountain or camp in the wilderness and US UHT milk tastes horrid has a nutty taste. I like the taste of French UHT milk.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In some open markets, and in some supermarkets, you can find unpastuerized milk (lait cru) which tastes, at least to me, just like fresh milk in the US. And, if you buy the non-skim version, it is not homogenized and there is a very tasty layer of cream on the top.....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks, folks, for teaching me something about milk in the US and France.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What I wonder about is why does the organic milk taste so bad here in France? It has a bitter aftertaste that even French people don't like. (they've routinely returned it as being "bad" when used for coffee) There must be good milk in France, but I can't find it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree. I've been living here in France now for four months and I can't find good tasting fresh milk. I've tried all the brands, including farmers direct milk from that day. It has a metallic, bitter aftertaste. For a country that is so proud of its food and dairy, the milk is aweful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tried the Leader Price unrefridgerated blue label sterilized uht and after cooling it, it tastes smoothly sweet. Its demi-creme...half the calories of their labeled double the fat lait.
      I love the taste...maybe bc I'm drinking sweet cream....

      Delete