What Is A Dairy Food?
Dairy foods are usually those items which contain milk. These include milk, from raw to skim, including dry powdered milk; cheese; yogurt; butter; ice cream; and ice milk. Eggs are also often placed in the category of dairy foods as are puddings and custards sometimes.
- Milk in the United States usually comes from cows. However, sometimes in America and in other parts of the world different animals including goats, reindeer, and yaks are milked to produce milk for human consumption.
- The first cheese was made over 4,000 years ago.
- Not all yogurts on the shelves at stores are true yogurts. To be a real yogurt it must contain live bacilli which has important nutritional benefits for people.
- There is still a dairy located in California which packages its milk in glass bottles.
- All female mammals produce milk for their young including the whale and the platypus. Platypus young have bills, so rather than sucking upon a nipple or teat, the mother excretes the milk through pores and the young lap it up with their tongues.
- When a human infant is unable to drink milk from his or her biological mother, caregivers can apply for milk from a milk bank where other lactating mothers have donated their own milk for use.
- Although cats like milk it can cause digestive trouble for them and should be given to them in small quantities or not at all.
Today when a cow is milked most farmers use a milking machine. First the cow’s udder is washed. Then a small amount of milk is drawn by hand before the milking machine is used. A milking machine is a pump which sucks the milk through cups which fit over the cows teats. The milk then travels through a pipeline to a cooling tank. Later the cooling tank is emptied into a tank truck to be transported to a dairy.
At the dairy the milk is placed into a refrigerated storage tank. From the storage tank the milk goes to a clarifier where the milk is blended to standardize the amount of cream throughout all the milk. Next the milk is heated to 161 degrees Fahrenheit, in a process called pasteurization, to kill any bacteria.
The milk moves from the pasteurizer to a homogenizer. The homogenizer forces the milk through tiny openings to break up the fat. This distributes the fat evenly through the milk. After being homogenized the milk is packaged.
Milk and milk products contain several different nutrients the human body needs. Calcium, protein, vitamin C, and phosphorous are all present in milk. It also contains sugars, carbohydrates, sodium, and fat. Vitamin D is added to most milk in order to provide people with this harder to obtain vitamin. Sometimes vitamin A is added also.
Milk contains cholesterol which some individuals must avoid. Other people have an allergic reaction to milk or a lactose intolerance. Lactic acid found in milk can be difficult for some people to digest and process. In addition some people must avoid the fat in milk. There are different types of milks now available which have these problem portions of the milk removed.
Yogurt can provide a nutritional benefit that other dairy products do not. Cultured yogurt has live bacilli, acidopholis, which thrives in the human intestines. This bacteria is beneficial to humans in digesting food.
Try this as a drink before bed; its fun, soothing and easy to make.
You will need:
- vanilla extract
- nutmeg (optional)
- small sauce pan or microwavable pitcher
- 2 mugs
Pour two cups of milk into the small sauce pan or microwavable pitcher. Heat the milk until it is warm, but not hot. In the sauce pan heat it over a medium heat stirring occasionally until it steams. In the microwave heat on high for approximately two minutes.
Put one teaspoon of vanilla extract into the bottom of each mug. Pour half the warm milk into each mug and stir. Garnish with a pinch of nutmeg. Serves 2.
Churning butter was once a household chore. Now butter is bought packaged at a store. Just like in the past, try making some of your own butter.
You will need:
- ˝ pint heavy whipping cream
- small glass jar with a lid (for very young children a baby food jar works well)
- table knife
Fill the jar ˝ full of the heavy whipping cream. Put the lid on tightly. Shake the jar vigorously stopping to observe the cream and rest. Continue to shake the jar until a large lump of butter has formed inside it.
Pour off any excess whey. Use the knife to spread the butter on the crackers. Enjoy!
There are more recipes to try on our Food And Nutrition page.
Books For Children
- Baby Calf by P. Mignon Hinds - This book pictures the life of a calf on a family farm. Appropriate for children just learning about cows ages 2-5. This book is currently out of print so check your local library for a copy.
- The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons - A detailed explanation of where milk comes from, its processing, packaging, and distribution. Appropriate for ages 6-10. (amazon.com has it)
- Milk: From Cow To Carton (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Book) by Aliki - Another good book which describes where milk comes from and how it becomes the milk most children see packaged in stores. For children ages 6-10. (amazon.com has it)
- 700 Kids On Grandpa’s Farm by Ann Morris - This book describes a goat dairy farm and the process of making cheese with accompanying photographs. Children 4-8 will find this book interesting. It is currently out of print, check your local library for a copy.
- Horizon Organic Dairy has a section about organic milk.
- Ice Cream at the University of Guelph includes information about the structure, history, mix calculations of ice cream, and more including a secondary school lesson.
- Cooking with Chemistry - if you are interested in chemistry here is a page for making ice cream with Liquid Nitrogen.