- Mar 13, 2015
- Reaction score
- Shadow Hills, CA
Handling is paramount. My goat milk goes into a freezer within minutes of going into the jars -- I always use glass.
This is absolutely right! Milk stored in plastic can take on the flavor of other food or surrounding. Always store milk in glass and chill immediately. Absolute cleanliness of udder, pail, strainer, etc. also will help taste of milk. Is the milk clean? Straining the milk is imperative. Immediate chilling is best accomplish using glass containers which conduct cold more efficiently. Place the glass container of milk in an ice water bath to chill. You can use quart canning jars and an ice chest with ice and water to accomplish this easily.
One question - did you taste taste the milk when you bought your milking ewes? If you plan to use the milk for the house it is usually a good idea to taste the milk before buying the dairy animal since not all milk tastes alike.
Also milk can take on the taste of any strange foods that the sheep may eat. If your sheep are pasture fed, check the pasture to see if they are eating any strong flavored grasses or weeds. Wild onion or garlic can flavor the milk, as can sagebrush, etc. Check the grain mixture you are giving. If you are adding any feed that is unusual (some people like to experiment with homeopathic herbs, etc.) check that flavor since it can come through in the milk.
Here is another suggestion - do not mix the milk from all the ewes together. Taste test each ewe's milk separately after chilling. Some individual animals have better or milder flavored milk than others. If you find that one ewe in particular has sheepy milk, then you can isolate her milk or sell her. Likewise, if you find that one ewe has very palatable milk for your wife's taste, keep that ewe's milk for the house.
If you still have sheep flavored milk, I suggest you shear around the hind quarters, particularly the belly, udder area, and into the vulva/rectum. Be aware that if the ewes are carrying heavy fleeces, they are also carrying heavy lanolin since that collects in the wool. You might try shearing twice a year or more depending on your climate. The wool from milking sheep may not be of as much value as a fine wool breed so if you are not using it yourself, shearing the milkers additional times to control the amount of lanolin in their wool may help.
Also in goats, at least, some breeds have different tasting milk than others. Toggenburgs have very sharp tasting milk with a distinct flavor (yucky) that makes very good sharp cheese. Other breeds have much milder flavored milk. Our Nubians had the best milk (yummy) and since we fed alfalfa and dairy cattle feed, it tasted like very rich cow's milk. Our LaMancha milk was very similar to Nubian while the Alpine breeds had a goatier? flavor more approaching the Togg milk. We also only drank the night milking in the am, and the am milking at night, with everything else being used for cooking or raising calves or kids after pasteurizing. We also drank our milk raw.
Remember too that the level of butterfat in milk varies from animal to animal and breed to breed. This extra butterfat can also affect the taste compared to store bought milk since commercial milk usually has most of the butterfat removed. Cream brings more money so it is removed at the creamery to use separately for cream, butter, ice cream, etc. All these things can change the taste of the milk.
Hope this will give you some ideas to help.