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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Canning, Preserving and Dehydrating / Butter and Milk ~ Why Can't They Be Canned?
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    Butter and Milk ~ Why Can't They Be Canned?

    Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:54 pm
    Forum Host
    Often times, Master Food Preservers ponder why it is not recommended to add cream or milk to canned soup recipes. Invariably, an attendee at an MFP public education class will also ask if milk can be canned or ask why canning dairy products like milk and butter are discouraged. The common response, that it is not recommended or deemed safe by the University of California/Davis Co-operative Extension satisfies most Master Food Preservers and students.

    But, for those who want to know the real reason, it is quite simple—chemistry and microorganisms.

    Look no further than a post by Dr. Elizabeth L. Andress, National Director of Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia Department of Foods and Nutrition. Dr. Andress, a Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist, commented on several questions posed regarding the safety of home canning soups that contained butters and milks. According to Dr. Andress, there are no established safe procedures for canning dairy products.

    She echoed the stance that many personal internet sites that share canning recipes and information pose safety concerns: For a recipe to be safe, it needs to be thoroughly challenged in microbiology studies to confirm a safe product is achieved every time it is processed. Dr. Andress further explained that the “amount of heat that would have to be applied to kill harmful bacteria” that grows in dairy products in a processed jar held at room temperature would be “extremely detrimental to its quality.” She went on to say that, “Milk is a finely balanced emulsion of proteins in water. If the proteins are over-heated, they drop out of suspension and the milk separates
    (, Sept. 25, 2007).”

    Dr. Linda Harris, U.C. Davis, agreed with Dr. Andress’ comments adding that safe home canning of milk and butter is simply impossible to do. She recommended freezing as the best home preservation method for these products. In addition, Dr. Linda Harris reiterated that milk and butter are low acid products that “support the outgrowth of C. botulinum and toxin formation in a sealed jar at room temperature.” She explained that fats can protect botulism spores and toxins from heat if they are in a product during a canning process. This is why canning milk, butter and/or the addition of milk or butter to other products to be canned is not recommended.

    More information on this and other subjects can be found at the University of Georgia’s National Center for Home Food Preservation website ( and the Joy Kitchen (

    By Ruth Woods
    UCCE El Dorado County Master Food Preservers
    Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:34 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    So, after reading all this, the pins on pinterest about canning butter should be removed? I have pinned them, but just can't bring myself to try it, Im glad I didn't. Basic common sense should tell you that milk would never work. I generally keep a lot of canned milk on hand and rotate like a mad woman!
    Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:03 pm
    Forum Host
    There are a great many people posting about heirloom or unsafe canning practices online, leconnx56. I don't see how its possible to police the internet effectively.

    It's one thing for folks to follow family recipes. You'll often hear them say things like "I've been doing it that way for years and haven't gotten sick yet" or "granny did it that way and she lived to 100". Maybe what they say IS true, but unfortunately things always will be just fine until they aren't. We cover many of their methods here: Canners and Methods NOT Recommended and Why. The big problem arises when people who are just starting to can believe that these methods are proper and safe.

    The thing I find truly odd is that these same people (the ones using non-recommended methods or recipes) will cherry-pick and follow some of the current guidelines faithfully but not all of them.

    My recommendation is that people (particularly new home food preservers) should follow laboratory-tested recipes for optimum shelf-storage safety. Trusted sources are the NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation)/USDA, from the pectin companies, the jar/lid manufacturers (The Ball Blue Book and the Ball Complete Guide to Preserving are examples of their publications) and from So Easy To Preserve by the University of Georgia.

    I'd like to invite you to click on THIS LINK to see some terrific threads about canning/preserving. We're looking for inspiration for future threads. If you would like to see anything or talk about a particular preserving subject, please feel free to speak up! icon_smile.gif
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