What taste is pure milk

Whole milk or long-life milk: which is better?

Are you in the supermarket and not sure whether you should buy fresh milk or UHT milk? Both types of milk have their advantages and disadvantages. Find out here about the differences and when you should use which product.

Opinions often differ when it comes to fresh milk and long-life milk. Which variety really contains the most vitamins and what about the shelf life of fresh milk?

Milk as it comes out of the udder

The freshly milked milk from cows, sheep or goats, without any additives or processing, is called raw milk. On the farm or in the agricultural cooperative, it flows from the warm udder through pipes into the milk tank. There the milk is cooled down to a temperature of four degrees Celsius. Harmful germs or bacteria can be found in milk. Cooling prevents these pests from multiplying.

Every day the milk truck, a large tank truck, picks up the cow's milk and brings it to the dairy. In Germany, however, sheep and goats are milked almost exclusively for their own needs. However, some small businesses have specialized in this and process this milk into cream cheese and cheese.

The further processing into fresh whole milk

When you buy whole milk, you get milk that always has a fat content of 3.5 percent and a protein content of 3.3 percent. In the case of raw milk, the fat content is usually higher. It is spun in large centrifuges until the skimmed milk (fat content 0.1 percent) separates from the cream. Then some of the cream is mixed again with the skimmed milk. This is how you get types of milk with different fat contents.

This fresh milk contains lactic acid bacteria and other microorganisms. Briefly heating to 72 to 75 degrees Celsius (pasteurization) will destroy most of them. The milk does not spoil as quickly any more. Raw milk, on the other hand, only lasts two to three days when refrigerated, then it becomes acidic.

You can keep fresh milk unopened in the refrigerator for six to ten days. When the milk is heated, it loses little taste and the many vitamins and minerals are largely retained. It is almost free of harmful organisms and therefore has a longer shelf life.

ESL milk: alternative with a longer shelf life

In the meantime, a newer type of milk has established itself in supermarkets: the fresh milk with a longer shelf life ("Extended Shelf Life"), which is also known as ESL milk. With the common shelf life method, the raw milk is heated to 120 degrees for several seconds, then homogenized and cooled. This procedure increases the shelf life of the fresh milk up to three weeks. At the same time, the loss of vitamins is limited, so that this type of milk is almost as healthy as conventional fresh milk.

Long-life milk: longest shelf life, fewest vitamins

The milk with the longest shelf life is "long-life milk", also known as long-life milk for short. It is heated to at least 135 degrees Celsius and therefore stronger than fresh milk and ESL milk. This kills more bacteria, salmonella or fungi than pure pasteurization, but many vitamins are also lost through boiling.

In addition, this milk is homogenized like ESL milk. The fat droplets in the milk are reduced in size until they are all the same size. Therefore, as is usual with whole milk, the cream no longer settles on the top of long-life milk.

Advantages and disadvantages of long-life milk

The advantage is that you can keep the long-life milk unopened for a long time, even several months, without refrigeration. Long-life milk is a good option, especially if you do not have the opportunity to go shopping every day. The homogenized long-life milk is easier to digest for many people.

The high temperature of ultra-high heating has a disadvantageous effect on the taste and nutritional value. Long-life milk therefore tastes less fresh than the pasteurized variants. Another part of the vitamins present in milk has also disappeared. The calcium content, which is also important, remains the same.

Conclusion: Milk is almost always healthy

If you compare the nutrient content exactly, conventional fresh milk is the healthiest variant: It contains up to 95 percent of the vitamins contained in raw milk. Fresh milk is still a good alternative, which also has a longer shelf life. The homogenized long-life milk has the lowest vitamin content, but it is still up to 80 percent. In addition, the calcium content does not change.

Overall, this means that all three types of milk remain healthy - and when it comes to choosing the best type, it is better to focus on taste and tolerance.