If you're anything like us, you may have wondered what condensed milk is anyway. How can milk be canned and safely sit on a shelf? And how does it get so sweet and delicious? So before we get into ideas for how to use the extra condensed milk from your August BakeKit - refreshing Margarita Icebox Cake - let's start with a little FAQ.
What is condensed milk made of?
It's cows milk with water removed. Usually, sugar is added, which is why it is most often called sweetened condensed milk, although there is an unsweetened variety as as well.
How is it made?
"Raw milk is clarified and standardised, and is then heated to 85–90 °C (185–194 °F) for several seconds. This heating process destroys some microorganisms, decreases fat separation and inhibits oxidation. Some water is evaporated from the milk and sugar is added until a 9:11 (nearly half) ratio of sugar to (evaporated) milk is reached. The sugar extends the shelf life of sweetened condensed milk. Sucrose increases the liquid's osmotic pressure, which prevents microorganism growth. The sweetened evaporated milk is cooled and lactose crystallization is induced." Thanks Wikipedia!
How long does it keep?
Apparently, it can last for years in an unopened can.
But, more importantly, what can you do with it now that you have opened the can? Here are some ideas we like:
- Use a spoonful or two to sweeten coffee, tea or lemonade.
- Add it to a meat marinade for a sweet-meets-savory twist.
- Drizzle it over your favorite fruit or ice cream.
- Top waffles, pancakes or french toast.
- Add a little with fruit and ice in a blender for a tasty smoothie.
- Simmer in a pot over low heat to make caramel.
- Transfer from the can to a covered plastic or glass container and refrigerate for up to a week to enjoy several of these tasty ideas!