Non-homogenized milk–is it better?

This weekend when I stopped by our local market-style shop selling mostly Mennonite products, I picked up a new kind of milk from the cooler: Harmony Organic non-homogenized milk. That’s old fashioned milk with cream that rises to the top just like my dad used to drink when he was a boy.

Apparently, non-homogenized milk is back. It’s being sold across North America by small dairies–I suppose it’s just a matter of time before the corporate dairies bring it back too.

For those of us who were born post homogenization, Non-homogenized milk hasn’t undergone the modern process of homogenization whereby the liquid is shaken or mixed so that the fat globules break down, preventing them from rising to the top in the form of cream.

When I told my dad about my purchase, he immediately started to remember the early 1950s when the glass milk bottles were delivered to the door every morning. The bottle was shaped in such a way that when the cream rose to the top, it was captured in a separate part of the bottle (I need to clarify this with my dad because I can’t really picture this) so they could easily pour it out.

The three bags of organic milk cost me just over $10.

So, you may ask, is non-homogenized milk better?

Yes, it does taste better. Slightly. It is creamier and smoother than regular milk. My husband made the most fabulous cafe lattes with it on Sunday morning. The air bubbles in the frothed milk were stiff and held their shape well. Delicious.

My tea tasted better this morning too but I don’t know if I was imagining it because when I tasted a spoonful of the stuff, I couldn’t detect a difference.

And there certainly was the ooh-ahh factor that all this “what is old is new again” food brings to the eater when it is (re)discovered. I felt nostalgic for the milkman I never knew.

However, today’s non-homogenized milk is sold in bags (Ontario, I believe, is the only place in the world where milk is sold in bags! Correct me if I am wrong: the locavore AT gmail DOT com) which just isn’t as nice as glass. The fat sticks to the plastic and makes the milk look like it has curdled. I had the urge to lick the fat off the plastic, but then I wondered if I would be licking a mouthful of bisphenol with my cream and decided to pitch the bag along with the residual cream.

So the jury is still out on whether or not I will buy non-homogenized milk again.

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