When it comes to dairy products, there are a lot of ways to think about storage. I’ve chosen to go the cheapest route while still having dairy products that taste good. I plan to use dairy products as condiments or in baking, but not in large amounts. While we lived on our food storage, I think I averaged about 1 serving of dairy a day. I know that’s not what the government recommends, but dairy is not essential to good health. I actually felt better from not eating so many rich, cheese-laden dishes (which I love!) and instead eating lighter, vegetable-based meals.
Some dairy products are really easy to store and don’t suffer in quality. I have chosen to include the following in my food storage:
butter: I store a few extra boxes in the fridge or freezer. When it goes on sale for $2 a lb., I like to snag an extra box or two.
Parmesan cheese: This one’s easy! It stays on the shelf until it’s opened, and then it goes in the fridge. Unlike the freezer, there is plenty of room in the fridge when you’re living on food storage.
yogurt starter: I buy one small container of Greek yogurt to use as a starter. I then divide it up into small containers with 2 T. of yogurt in each one. These stay in the freezer. They don’t take up much space at all. Additionally, you can save 2 T. from a batch of homemade yogurt to use for the next batch. I often forget, but if it really came down to it, I think I’d be more diligent at remembering to set some aside!
grated cheese: I don’t have a Costco/Sam’s Club membership, but I hear that grated cheese is cheaper than block cheese there. Block cheese freezes okay, but it gets crumbly when thawed. I don’t have any in my storage right now because of the lack of freezer space. Updated in 2019: Grated cheese is often the same price as block at Walmart and Smith’s, and it freezes perfectly.
As far as I can tell, there is no good way to store cream cheese, sour cream, or fresh milk for long periods of time. That’s where powdered milk comes in, which will be the subject of my next post.