Here we are at the farm for another week, posting about various thoughts concerning living a more simple, wholesome, (if somewhat) rural life.
The thought for this week is … the dairy goat and her many virtues.
Of course the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful gift of goat milk. Before you turn your nose up (as some in my extended family who read my blog may be tempted to do), let’s spend a few minutes discussing the various benefits of drinking raw, unpasteurized goat’s milk.
First of all, for those with a milk allergy (lactose intolerant) goat’s milk is a great choice. The calcium content of goat’s milk is reported to be superior to that of traditionally processed cow’s milk, without the adverse side effects that usually accompany cow milk consumption.
There is less mucous production from goat’s milk consumption due to reduced fat content in goat’s milk, which results in fewer allergy-related symptoms and less inflammation of the gut. Also, raw goat’s milk more closely relates to the chemical make up of human milk, making it more easily digested in young children and babies.
There is research to support the idea that there are more bone-building amino and fatty acids in nutrient dense goat’s milk than there is in cow’s milk. One cup contains almost 35% of your daily calcium needs. It is also high in riboflavin, giving you 20.0% of your daily recommendation. There are also high amounts of phosphorous, Vitamin B12, protein and potassium in raw goat’s milk. (Source)
So, now that we know it’s good for us, the important question remains …
Does it taste nice?
That all depends on you, really. If you are not particularly fond of cow milk, goat milk might really hit the spot. However, if you are a cow milk connoisseur, (we have a couple of those around here), goat milk might take a little getting used to. (Note: if you are milking during breeding season, your milk will tend to taste a bit “bucky.” Translation – it tastes a little like the big, smelly, disgusting Billy that has been courting your Nanny.) However, under normal conditions, (and if you keep the buck well away from the milking ladies), if you milk into a stainless steel bowl and immediately strain and cool your milk, it should taste really nice.
Goat’s milk isn’t only good for drinking (or adding to your hot tea, like some British folks around here do). There are several other ways to enjoy it.
We have made our own yogurt using a heating pad and a quart-sized canning jar. Simply add a tablespoon of regular yogurt to your uncooled, fresh goat’s milk. Place it into a box or bowl with a heating pad on low heat surrounding the jar. Leave it for 24 hours and then cool it in the fridge. It isn’t always as thick as store-bought yogurt, but it has all of the probiotic and wholesome goodness of raw goat’s milk. (We like ours plain, but I have read that you can add flavoured jello to the mixture before it sets to make whatever flavor you like best.)
Fresh ice cream is always a hit around here. I add a bit of sugar and some peppermint oil with a few ground up chocolate chips and a tsp of vanilla to the goat’s milk before I put it in the freezer in a quart-sized jar. (Be careful not to break the jar with opposing temperatures and don’t use that jar for canning in high heats in the future. It’s best to have designated “milk jars.”) As the milk is freezing, shake the jar every couple of hours. It makes a delicious soft-serve consistency. (It may eventually harden, but we always eat it up before that state!)
Lastly, you can make the very popular goat cheese with fresh milk. We haven’t had as much success with this project, but I know it can be done. (Our attempts at making cheese have laughingly become known as our “squeaky cheese” endeavor. It literally squeaked when we ate it! If you can tell me what I did wrong, PLEASE leave me a comment!)
Oh, one more idea. I was given a lovely gift once of “goat milk lotion.” I have no idea how to make beauty products out of goat milk, but it obviously can be done.
For more information on dairy goat keeping and milking, I highly recommend Jerry Balinger’s book Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats.
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