Food Waste Tips

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

How To Keep Milk Cool on Your Doorstep In Summer

Does your milkman deliver milk in the dead of night? In winter, it’s no big deal, but in summer, it can cause milk to spoil quicker. Here’s how to keep milk cool on your doorstep in summer to help reduce food waste.

Way back in January we switched to getting our oat milk delivered by our local milkman. And boy, has it been one of the best plastic-free switches we’ve made. We’re not discarding tetra-paks anymore. Instead, the oat milk is delivered in returnable glass bottles, and the milk itself is made by a UK-based oat milk company – Oato. In fact, I need to add the company to my guide to the best oat milk as I think it’s hands down the best milk. If you happen to be in Central Scotland, then I get mine delivered through McQueens.

We’ve had zero problems with the milk since January. However, over the last few weeks, when it’s been really warm, we’ve noticed the milk going off really quickly, and I couldn’t work out why. I had entertained the idea that perhaps the milk was going off on our doorstep, as it hasn’t been particularly cool in the mornings lately. But I thought the milkman delivered our milk at around 5 or 6 am, and that an hour or two sitting outside wouldn’t have much effect on the milk.

The Ah-Ha Moment

Then one evening, I had been beavering away working on Moral Fibres whilst the rest of my family slept. In the summertime, when my kids are off school, it’s the only time I really get to work on the site undisturbed, and I ended up working until 11:40 pm. Whilst I was creeping through the hall, trying not to wake anyone, I heard a clanking noise outside my door. I thought someone or something had knocked over our empty milk bottles. That was until I realised it was the milkman. It turns out they deliver our milk before midnight! This means our milk is usually sitting outside on our doorstep for more than 7 hours before we get up, which isn’t particularly cool. This isn’t a problem for most of the year, but in summer it’s not ideal.

That evening, I was able to bring the milk bottles in and pop them straight into the fridge. However, I’m usually in bed way before 11:40 pm, so I started to think how best to keep milk cool on our doorstep until morning, to stop it from going off. Here’s what I came up with.

How To Keep Milk Cool On Your Doorstep Until Morning

tips on how keep milk cool on your doorstep in summer

If your milk has been going off on your doorstep in the summer heat, then don’t worry. My best and easiest solution to keep milk bottles cool on your doorstep until morning is a simple freezer bag. Just before I go to bed I pop an ice pack inside a freezer bag (just a standard freezer bag from the supermarket) and leave it on my doorstep. The weight of the ice pack not only prevents the bag from blowing away but also keeps the milk nice and cool on our doorstep until we wake up. No more off milk, and less food waste.

For another top tip, on the first evening, I left a note on the door for the milkman saying to pop the milk in the bag. The milkman knows the drill now.

If you don’t have a freezer bag and ice pack to hand, then there’s no need to go out and buy anything new. I’ve also heard of people leaving a shallow bucket of cold water outside their front door, for the milkman to pop the milk into. I’d also reckon that would work pretty well.

Any other tips or techniques that you use? Do share in the comments below!

Food Waste Tips

Yes, You Can Freeze Coconut Milk – Here’s How!

Can you freeze coconut milk? Yes, you can! Let me show you how to freeze coconut milk in a tin can, as well as the fresh stuff.

Food waste. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

Well, for a start, food waste is a huge issue. In fact, food production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. So much so, that horrifyingly about one-third of greenhouse emissions globally come from agriculture alone.

Despite this, both at the household level and at the manufacturing level, we are very wasteful when it comes to food. 30% of the food we produce is wasted. That is about 1.8 billion tonnes of food a year that goes to waste. So much so, that it has been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.  Isn’t that terrifying?

When It Comes to Food Waste Every Little Helps

I’m of the firm belief that when it comes to food waste, every little action we can do to reduce food waste helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why small steps, like using your freezer to freeze things like excess coconut milk all help to eliminate food waste, and are a great step forward.

Something I used to waste a lot was coconut milk. I use a bit of coconut milk in my cooking – like in this vegan lime and coconut curry (one of my favourites!). However, many recipes call for just half a tin can of coconut milk. I had been decanting the leftover coconut milk into a glass jar and then popping that into the fridge. When we’re organised, there’s no waste. For example, I always plan to make something like this vegan macaro-no-cheese the next day to use up the remainder of the can of milk before it goes off. However, sometimes life happens, and the coconut milk doesn’t get used in time.

What to do? Freeze your leftover coconut milk! Yes, you can do that – here’s the full how-to!

How To Freeze Canned Coconut Milk

Can you freeze coconut milk? Turns out that yes, you can!  Here's how!

The good news is that is incredibly easy to freeze canned coconut milk.

There are two different methods, depending on how you tend to use canned coconut milk.

If you use canned coconut milk for cooking, and you have enough left over to make one of your favourite dishes that contain coconut milk, then you can put the leftover milk straight into a tub or jar. Then simply pop your tub or jar straight into the freezer.

If you’re worried about freezing glass, or are new to the concept, then here’s the best way to freeze food in glass jars to avoid breakages.

If you use coconut milk in smaller quantities, for example, for making a sauce or for adding to a smoothie, then I’ve got a more efficient technique for you.

Similar to my technique for freezing oat milk, I swear by the ice-cube tray method.

Here you simply pour the coconut milk into an ice-cube tray and then stick the tray in the freezer. Once frozen you can then decant the frozen ice cubes into a tub or bag in your freezer for when you need them. This frees up your ice cube tray for whatever you need to freeze next!

How To Use

You can use frozen coconut milk in a couple of different ways.

If your coconut milk is in a jar or a tub, then it’s best to defrost your milk before use. I defrost mine in the fridge about 24 hours before I plan to use it. You can then use the defrosted milk in your cooking, as you would if you had just opened up a can.

If you used the ice-cube tray method, then there’s no need to defrost the milk. Simply drop the desired number of frozen cubes directly into your cooking, or into your blender if you’re making a smoothie.

How Long Can You Freeze Canned Coconut Milk For?

Frozen canned coconut lasts for around 3 months in the freezer. I find labelling and dating your container before placing it in the freezer helps reduce food waste further. This means that you won’t be scratching your head over what the contents of your tub are, or wondering just how long that tub of coconut milk has been languishing in your freezer.

What About Cartons of Coconut Milk?

The good news is that you can freeze unfinished cartons of coconut milk too. For cartons of coconut milk, I prefer the ice cube tray method. This is because defrosted coconut milk can separate and have a grainy texture, so it’s not so great to drink or have on your cereal. Instead, I find defrosted coconut milk works best when cooking, such as in a soup, or whizzed up in a smoothie.

If you use the ice-cube method then, again, there’s no need to defrost the coconut milk. Simply drop the ice cubes into the sauce that you are making, or drop it straight into the blender, if you are making smoothies.

If you have picked up any more tips on freezing coconut milk then do let me know. I’ll be sure to add them to this article, for Moral Fibres readers to learn from.

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Image of a cut coconut and a glass of coconut milk, with a blue text box that says how to freeze canned and fresh coconut milk to avoid food waste