Milk And Cream

Milk should be stored in a cool place, preferably in the refrigerator, as it is highly perishable. It is packaged in sterile bottles or cartons and so will keep best in its own container. Cover jugs, even in the refrigerator, to prevent milk from absorbing flavours from other foods. Wash milk jugs well before refilling, and never mix new milk with old as this is how bacteria are transferred.


Pasteurised milk (silver cap) Pasteurising is a process which destroys harmful micro-organisms. The milk is subjected to mild heat, 71°C (161°F) for 15 seconds, then rapidly cooled to not more than 10°C (50°F). It will keep perfectly well for two—three days in a refrigerator.

Homogenised milk (red cap) Milk which has been heated and forced through a small aperture to break down the fat globules into small particles which remain evenly suspended throughout the milk, preventing the formation of a ‘cream line’ at the top of the bottle. The milk is then pasteurised. Keeps two—three days in a refrigerator.

Ultra Heat Treated or ‘Long Life’ milk (pink cap) Milk which has been homogenised and heated for an extended time at a lower temperature, and then subjected to an ultra-high temperature treatment of not less than 132°C (270°F) for one second. Keeps for several months unopened, without refrigeration: see the date code on the carton. Once opened, keep as for pasteurised milk.

Sterilised milk (blue cap) Milk which has been homogenised, bottled and vacuum-sealed, then heat treated to not less than 100°C (212°F) for 20-30 minutes before cooling. Once opened, refrigerate; unopened it will keep for a minimum of seven days but several weeks is usual.

Channel Islands and South Devon milk (gold cap) Milk from cows of jersey or Guernsey, and South Devon breeds, with a minimum butterfat content of four per cent. It may be pasteurised or untreated. Keeps two—three days in a refrigerator.

Untreated milk (green cap) Raw milk from attested herds which has not undergone any form of heat treatment; bottled under licence at a farm.