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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Milk in Canada

I find it rather interesting being Canadian that those from other parts of the world don't know what a bag of milk is. So I thought I would do this short post on how we buy milk so when I say a bag of milk you will know what I'm talking about. Years ago we used to get our milk in glass quart bottles delivered to the house. When I was growing up that changed at some point to plastic gallon jugs. They came with red plastic handles and a pull tab cardboard lid. Shortly after we were married maybe earlier and maybe a bit later milk came packaged in plastic bags, 4 L to a bag divided into 3 bags. I know for sure the bagged milk was quite the norm in 1981 because those are the bags my MIL recycled to show me how to freeze corn. At that time you could still get home delivery and we did until well after moving to our first purchased home. It was only after moving to our second purchased home that we stopped home delivery even though it was still available. The milkman would simply open the screen door and put whatever bags of milk we wanted in the space between the screen door and entrance door. We paid monthly.

Bag of Milk

This is what our 4 L bags of milk look like. Neilson® is one brand but there are others. Inside the bag is 4 L of milk packaged into 3 bags or 1.33 L. The milk packaged this way is available in skim, 2% or whole milk as well as chocolate milk. The bagged milk is in crates in the grocery stores in the dairy section. Above the milk or nearby there are plastic pitchers that usually come with a little corner cutter. If you look very closely at the pitcher you can see two little divots on top of the handle near the bag that holds the corner cutter for easy access.

Packaging milk this way greatly reduces the impact on landfills. Frugal homemakers everywhere immediately saw how the bags could be recycled. The outer bag is great for garbage eliminating the need to buy garbage bags but they can be used for a lot more. The smaller bags can be re-used several times for freezing other food items. I know they can be used for vacuum sealing as well so the bags are not just immediately tossed. In some urban areas the bags are recyclable. Environmentally the cost of production is a lot less and the reduced packaging decreases the weight for transportation. The ultimate downside as just about everyone can attest who has bought milk in bags is a leak can be a huge problem!

Creams

Some of our milk products do not come in bags, they come in cartons. Even those available in the 4 L size are available in 500 ml, 1 L or 2 L cartons. Mind you the cost per ml is higher than the 4 L size but sometimes paying a higher cost to avoid waste is a good economical choice.

Two products we use a fair amount of are half & half and whipping cream. Half & Half is a natural dairy creamer for coffee. A few years back they started adding a plastic twist cap with an inner pull tab likely because enough people complained about having to open the end to pour. I seriously think this in unnecessary but they didn't ask me and they are on all 1 L containers but not on the 2 L so go figure. You won't find non-dairy creamers in our home but half & half is a must have! Whipping cream is used for two main purposes here - fresh whipped cream or fresh butter. Fresh whipped cream is a treat served with dessert about four times a year. Fresh butter is made for special occasions or just when I want something different. The resulting buttermilk is then used in soups, stews or mashed potatoes.


5 food lovers commented:

Ann said...

A friend of mine in NS was telling me about the milk coming in plastic bags. I will have to admit at first it sounded kind of strange, but it does make sense. First you pay less for packaging and second when you do dispose of the bag compared to a jug or plastic container, less plastic going into the landfills.

Here milk comes only in 1 liter containers and the packaging is not always the same. Fresh comes usually in a paper carton with the plastic lid like you mentioned. Long shelf-life milk, either in a tetra-pack or plastic 1 liter container.

Mizé said...

Hi.
It´s curious. When I was a kid, all milk here came in 1l packets. Now those packets are very rare and all milk comes in 1L tetrapacks.
Good Wednesday!

Mizé said...

When I wrote packets I meant plastic bags.

April said...

how interesting! and great for the environment :-)

Garden Gnome said...

I really do think milk in bags is environmentally more friendly especially since many re-use the actual bags containing the milk for freezing. They can be vacuum sealed as well. Occasionally there is an accidental leak but for the most part folks here are so used to them that the bags are treating much the same as a carton of eggs.

@toronto real estate Milk in bags is something a lot aren't familiar with but the idea of spirits in bags brought back a little chuckle. A few years ago we were at a football game. They don't allow you to bring in your own drinks. A few fellows in front of us managed to bring their own drinks in in sealed plastic bags. Their mom must have been so proud at their ingenious use of her food sealer ;)