Milk is a staple in our house. I like to say we are a family of milkaholics. We are a family of 4, with 2 growing boys, and we go through 4 – 5 gallons of milk a week. No lie. I really feel blessed that my family likes milk and are hearty milk drinkers.
I know so many who don’t like milk. It’s a concept I can’t fathom. There is absolutely nothing else you can drink with chocolate cake, cookies or peanut butter. Of course this is my opinion, but really, there is no other drink for these foods.
Florida is known for many things including citrus, tourism, sunshine, beaches and great seafood. But did you know there is a huge dairy industry too? Honestly, I had no idea and am so glad I learned this information. I like to buy my foods as close to home as possible. It’s interesting to know some of these Florida dairy facts. The more than 130 dairy farms in Florida are primarily owned (and operated) by second and third generation Holstein (the black and white cows) farmers. These farming families are committed to providing a fresh supply of quality milk that is wholesome and good for you. Not only do these hardworking families take care of their herds, they are stewards of the land and leaders in their communities. While there are dairy farms in much of the state, the leading dairy counties in Florida are Lafayette and Okeechobee and herds can range in size from 150 cows to 5,000 cows. What’s interesting to me is these counties are no where near each other. Lafayette is in the central northern part of the state and Okeechobee is lower central Florida near the lake of the same name. All of these cows, nearly 123,000 in the state, produce about 2.34 billion (!) pounds of milk a year translating to 277 million gallons of Florida-produced milk in supermarkets. Of that, at least 260 gallons goes through my refrigerator in a year. Florida’s dairy farmers are also conscientious about recycling the 170,000 tons of byproducts, including citrus pulp, brewers’ grain and whole cottonseed, that are consumed by the cows so this does not end up in landfills. Meet the Florida dairy farming families who work to bring us delicious and healthy milk.
The farmers aren’t the only hard workers. Each Florida Holstein is milked 2 to 3 times a day which yields about 6 to 8 gallons of milk. If you drink 3 cups of milk a day you will achieve your recommended daily dairy allowance plus fill up on essential vitamins and nutrients including protein, vitamins A, D and B12, the all important calcium to build strong bones, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and zinc. So much “good for you” stuff packed into 8 ounces. If you’re interested in learning about a day on the Florida dairy farm you can read more about it.
Dairy products are not only for drinking. Follow this link for “home spa” recipes such as a lavender milk bath and yogurt based facial masks.
Florida dairy farmers are committed to teaching children about the health benefits of milk. Their Dairy 101 Resource Kit is an educational kit you can view online.
In our house we not only like to drink milk, we like to make ice cream with milk. I’m always trying out new flavors and the newest favorite flavor is my nutty cookies and cream. I’ve already made it twice since developing it and it doesn’t last long. What I think is really unique about this version is I lightly toast the slivered almonds to bring out an even nuttier quality. Plus, the addition of the almonds gives the ice cream a nice crunch.
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 20 regular sandwich cookies, such as Oreo, crushed
- In a small skillet over medium-low heat toast almond slivers until fragrant and just beginning to brown, being very careful not to burn. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium pan, over medium-low heat combine the milk, salt and sugar, stirring continuously until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Remove from heat and cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and vanilla. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
- Prepare ice cream according to your ice cream makers instructions adding the almonds and crushed sandwich cookies once ice cream nears the end of churning and has begun to set up. My Cuisinart ice cream maker makes a soft ice cream so for a firmer texture I put it in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours before serving. It was the perfect scooping consistency.
Recipe notes: When you first taste the ice cream you may think there is an overpowering vanilla flavor. As the ice cream flavors meld, the vanilla flavor wanes. This recipe tested in a Cuisinart ice cream maker.
This post is sponsored by Florida Dairy Farmers in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.
Learn more about Florida Dairy Farmers
Florida Milk in the News: Read here
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