If you do a lot of holiday baking, like I do, then you have probably made dozens of recipes with evaporated or sweetened, condensed milk. My favorite recipes usually call for one or the other (my husband’s grandmother has an amazing pumpkin pie recipe that uses sweetened, condensed milk), and I never gave a thought to the contents of the cans in the past.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don’t like the idea of canned milk. Who knows what preservatives are in there, and the cans leech metal into the milk. Yuck. So this year, I decided to try my hand at making my own versions.
It turns out, the recipes are incredibly simple. All you need is milk, sugar and a stove.
Evaporated Milk Recipe
- 4 cups of milk (will make 2 cups of evaporated milk- slightly more than the standard can size of 14 or 15 ounces)
- Small pot
- Pour the milk into the pot on the stove. Turn the stove to “low.”
- Keep the milk hot, but not boiling, until the milk has evaporated to half its size (it took me about 2 1/2 hours). Stir the milk every 10 minutes or so. You can remove the skin from the top of the milk, if you like.
- Allow the milk to cool to room temperature before using in a recipe.
- Store the milk in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Sweetened, Condensed Milk Recipe
- 4 cups of milk (for 16 ounces of sweetened, condensed milk)
- Small pot
- 1 ½ cups of sugar, honey, or sweetener of your choice (I used raw sugar)
- Mix the sugar into the milk, then place on the stove under “low” heat.
- Wait about 2 hours, stirring about every 15 minutes. After 2 hours, the milk should be about half the size it was before.
- When it is reduced by half, remove it from the stove and allow to cool before using in a recipe.
- Store the milk in the refrigerator for up to a week or can it for later use.
- Note: With both milks, overcooking can happen quickly. I overcooked my milk twice trying to make it for this recipe. What happens is you think, “Oh, this is looking pretty good, but I think it can cook down a little more.” If you allow the milk to start boiling (particularly with the sweetened milk), it will turn into milk candy. Then it will burn. Very quickly. So watch out. 2 to 2 ½ hours is about all the heat it can take.
If you can condensed milk, it can last for several months without refrigeration. This is a perfect way to ensure the canned milk in your stockpile is healthy and chemical-free.
Have you made your own condensed milk? What tricks or sweeteners do you like to use?