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Why evaporated milk? Makes no sense to me.

I just don't get it- why do some people call for evaporated milk in their recipes?(I'm not just talking 52ers; I mean people all over.) I could certainly understand if canned evap.milk is the only milk available in a certain location, but that is not the case with the recipe chefs I am referencing. (example: my mom's 1960's? chiles rellenos casserole where flour and evap. milk are combined and forked into a layer of grated cheese and chopped green chiles- to produce a souffle like effect when baked.) Isn't light cream the viscosity of evap. milk? and it certainly tastes better than a canned product, yes? Is it a cost thing? I think it confuses alot of cooks who think they have to have IT in some recipe. Have always wondered this and thought you smart 52ers might have some thoughts on it. Maybe it was a wartime/ post-war habit or trend....

asked by LE BEC FIN almost 3 years ago
13 answers 3510 views
21cce3cd 8e22 4227 97f9 2962d7d83240  photo squirrel
added almost 3 years ago

p.s. http://en.wikipedia.org...

this gives the history of it. but, except for having some around in case one runs out of milk for a baking project or maybe pancakes, i just see no reason to use it. Do you?

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added almost 3 years ago

My view is that evaporated milk has a strong add campaign and no one has questioned it. It has been around for a long time, much like Spam. Don't use it. People I know who do use it have strong memories from childhood about it and are very loyal.

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sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

I didn't gow up with evaporated milk and just a few months ago used a can for the first time for a mac and cheese recipe. I've read about it, but still don't understand why its so bad and negative connotations. The big benefit seems do with its non curdling properties & shelf life. Certainly a decent dessert or entrée is missing the healthy train. What am I missing?

21cce3cd 8e22 4227 97f9 2962d7d83240  photo squirrel
added almost 3 years ago

lamby, just to clarify, i don't have a big negative feeling about it, i just never understood why a contemporary cook would call for it in a recipe. With the answers here, i have a much better understanding now. thx all!

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added almost 3 years ago

I don't have anything against canned milk in recipes--particularly those retro recipes that are meant to evoke memories of comfort food. It's one of those things that can be kept on the shelf and used when needed--like on the snowy day that you decide to cook up something that calls for milk--but you don't want to use the fresh milk because you are not sure you have enough to last through the storm.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added almost 3 years ago

Yes! Pumpkin pie made with canned pumpkin and canned milk, but a home-made, flaky crust! Loved it.

Wholefoods user icon
added almost 3 years ago

Evaporated milk can give you extra richness for fewer calories and fat grams with less total liquid. Kind of a double whammy of richer texture. But yes, to reconstitute it and drink it is extremely unappealing to me. Try fat free evaporated milk in your custards, mac and cheese and gratin-y type things to lighten them up!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added almost 3 years ago

I love it, and I'm a total ingredient snob. For me, I do a lot of "impulse baking", however I don't consume enough dairy to keep it stocked in my fridge. I always have a few cans on hand for rich breads, sweeter breeds, and naan. With a teaspoon of cornstarch, it even works to cream sauces, like tomato and roasted red pepper. Handy stuff!

Bac35f8c 0352 46fe 95e3 57de4b652617  p1291120
added almost 3 years ago

It is a relic of an earlier age. It still has a purpose/use (see above comments about disaster planning and warmer climates) and was a "miracle" in an age when neither electricity nor reliable refrigeration were standard. Still serves that purpose in some developing countries.

As a result, it is in a number of older recipes -- particularly the type that has been handed down for generations and "wouldn't taste right" if something else were used. Also essential for tres leches (again, a food from a warmer climate). It depends on what you're making and the result you want as to whether you use it or a fresh half-n-half. Personally, I'm hooked on the new packaging that allows shelf-stable whipping cream (totally different than condensed milk; it really is whipping cream that you keep in your pantry. You can find it at Trader Joe's) since, like Diane - my impulse baking may otherwise find me short of a favorite topping!

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ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 3 years ago

We lived 4 doors from the local grocery store when I was growing up, and my mom was a farm girl, so fresh milk was always close at hand. I don't remember it in the house at all, except maybe at cookie-baking time. I've never gotten in the habit of buying or using it.

7067f558 60f9 4573 b1dc 739127675a76  fb avatar
added almost 3 years ago

I always just assumed it was a way of adding a greater amount of milk solids (maybe that's not the right term) with a lesser amount of liquid. Like adding powdered milk to dry ingredients. I figured this would affect flavour without changing the fat content as much as subbing cream?

3162c11b e070 4795 95d1 fd9492a6b582  lulusleep
added almost 3 years ago

Evaporated milk has a different flavor is great in some recipes. I love it in tea and coffee as you just can't get the same flavor with regular milk or half & half.