Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweetened Condensed Milk In Coffee

While drinking my coffee this morning I happen to think about how rarely today you see people drinking coffee with Sweetened Condensed Milk. Today I drink my coffee black but when I was growing up my parents and most people of my parents age used Sweetened Condensed Milk in their coffee. Not being very sophisticated the simple can of Eagle brand Sweetened Condensed Milk came out of the refrigerator onto the table and was used directly out of the can. If you went to a diner and had a cup of coffee you would have to ask for it. As I recall you could buy a round can hole punch that would fit the top of a condensed or evaporated milk can and it would punch two round holes in the top of the can and it could stay on the can when not in use as a sort of lid. I assume people of that age used it more than today because of the lack of refrigeration when they were growing up and due to sugar rationing in World War Two. It still makes a good cup of coffee if you like that sweetness. It is an easily stored item and can be transported anywhere, condensed milk, has sugar, or the non sugar version - evaporated milk is good for camping.

Okay, now a little food history, because I'm nerdy like that: Gail Borden, Jr. in 1853 was inspired by the vacuum pan he had seen being used by Shakers to condense fruit juice and he used this process to reduce milk without scorching or curdling it. Adding sugar to it to prevent bacteria he canned it making condensed milk. Along came the American Civil War and the U.S. government ordered huge amounts of condensed milk it as a field ration for Union soldiers during the American Civil War.

Soldiers returning home from the Civil War soon spread the word. By the late 1860s, condensed milk was a major product. In 1899, E. B. Stuart opened the first Pacific Coast Condensed Milk Company (later known as the Carnation Milk Products Company - the brand is now owned by Nestlé ) plant in Kent, Washington. In 1885 evaporated milk was developed. Condensed milk contains sugar, which acts as a preservative and without that sugar, evaporated milk was prone to spoilage. Until John B. Meyenberg invented a new way to heat the cans evenly, sterilizing the contents. Evaporated milk has about 60% of the water removed from fresh milk

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