Eight ways to use up leftover milk

High in calcium, protein and vitamin B12, milk is a common household staple, as nutritionally beneficial as it is versatile. Despite this, the equivalent of 5.9m glasses of milk are thrown away every day in the UK, according to government body Wrap. Read on for our tips on how to keep your milk fresher for longer and some new ideas to help use it up.

  1. Store it right

    Store milk in a sealed container in the fridge. The fridge doors are warmer than the shelves, so keep it there if you can – just be careful it doesn’t leak. If possible, store it away from strong-smelling foods, so it doesn’t pick up the smells. If you regularly struggle to get through your milk before it goes off, consider switching to filtered milk, which stays fresh for twice as long once opened. Use up the last of a pint by stirring into soup for a creamy finish, such as in this easy mushroom soup.

  2. Make friends with the freezer

    Some milks freeze better than others – whole milk freezes less well than semi-skimmed due to its higher fat content, though it can still be frozen. Freeze as soon as possible once opened, and ensure it’s well within the ‘use by’ date. Make sure you use a suitable container, too: milk will expand when frozen. All milk will turn yellow when frozen, so don’t panic! Defrost overnight in the fridge, and shake well before using. Pour a glug into rich mashed potatoes or creamy celeriac gratin for irresistible sides.

  3. Whisk up a white sauce

    Flour, butter and milk are all you need for a rich white sauce. This staple pops up in a wide variety of recipes and is a great way to use up large quantities of milk at once. Add cheese for the base of a macaroni cheese, or keep it plain for a key layer in timeless family favourite lasagne. Try our simple classic recipe, or experiment with a fish lasagne or green veg twist.

  4. Learn a kitchen classic

    If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, channel your milk into a creamy custard. Our video below teaches you the classic method, perfect for pouring generously onto crumbles, pies and hot steamed sponges. You can also bake with custard itself – try a striking fig and custard tart or classic French crème caramel, just set with the perfect wobble.

  5. Pancake possiblities

    Turn a spare pint of milk into an easy dinner – just add flour and eggs, and you’ve got pancake batter ready to go! Stick to savoury flavours with a towering kale and feta pancake stack or Mediterranean aubergine pancakes. For dessert, opt for all-out indulgence with mocha-caramel pancakes and cherries, or try something lighter with these unusual Russian syrniki pancakes.

  6. Perfect panna cotta

    Simmer milk with cream, sugar and gelatine, and you’ve made yourself a panna cotta! This creamy dessert is traditionally flavoured with vanilla, but can be topped or infused with different fruit to work all year round. Keep it simple with a milk and honey panna cotta, or try fruity strawberry jelly panna cottas for a summer treat. For something different, this cardamom and honey set lassi follows the same principles of an Italian panna cotta, with an added Indian-inspired twist.

  7. Treat yourself to pudding

    Transform humble milk and rice into rich rice pudding for an indulgent yet wallet-friendly dessert made from staple kitchen ingredients. Classic baked rice pudding, served with a dollop of jam, is proper nostalgic comfort food. For a Middle Eastern twist, try this pretty rosewater rice pudding with pomegranate and pistachios.

  8. Pour yourself a drink

    Leftover milk will never be a problem again once you’ve tried our best hot chocolate recipe. Using a mixture of cocoa powder and rich melted dark chocolate, this is the ultimate winter warmer. In summer, try a frozen coffee and coconut milkshake for an icy caffeine hit.

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