That's a good idea. We originally were doing the ice in a big bucket and then the milk bucket in that.
Lately we've started putting ice in a ziplock sandwich bag and adding it right to the milk pail. That way, we only have one bucket. Then when we're done, we just throw the bag away. Gets and keeps the milk nice and cold since it's right in the bucket with it. On really hot days the ice in the bag is almost melted.....but the milk is still cold when we get back to the house. Then we put our mason jars directly in the freezer for a half an hour or so. Probably overkill, but I like it COLD!
I made up a couple of quart jars of saturated salt solution yesterday to use today. I don't have a larger bucket to put the milk bucket in, so I was going to just use the jar with a tight lid right in the bucket.
The reusable ice packs are a good idea too. I have one made from foam, I put it in a ziplock and kept it right in the milk bucket. It worked GREAT. It has a hole in it I think I can repair so I'll keep it to use as well.
I like the idea of the ice packs...the sport type freezer pack. How do you keep it clean and sanitized? That's the reason I went with the throw away zip locks. I had also heard of freezing water in a soda bottle. I wasn't sure how to keep that clean enough. Be cheaper, though.
Another tip that may beat the heat is to have an ice chest next to the milkstand. In summertime, put a frozen jug of water in it and keep your milk in there. It will be signifigantly cooler in the ice chest than out of it and it is just someplace to put your milk while you finish up your milking. It's a great way to use leaky old ice chests. There are many hot days that the milk actually will WARM UP after it leaves the doe if I'm not careful.
My concern with putting somthing *in* the bucket I'm milking into is keeping it sanitary. The blue ice thingies I have aren't smooth enough on the outside surface for me to be comfortable that I've got them clean after each milking. Well, and it's another thing to wash.
I don't like chilling my milk immediately, I like doing it after I strain it. It seems to go REALLY slow if I chill it first. I have two stockpots, one I use as a milking bucket and the other holds two baggies full of frozen water. I also have a 2 qt bucket with strainer. I milk, pour the milk through the strainer into the 2qt, and then into the stockpot with the frozen baggies. It works great. And, I can do my other chores and leave the milk in the milkroom for a bit and not worry about rushing it to the house. I used to milk into the separate stockpots and strain inside, and not even chill whatsoever... Then I realized maybe chilling it had an effect on taste (and my milk was rather disgusting in taste, hehe) and now I love the taste.
I've saved all those refrigeration packs you get when you order vaccines etc. They say "nontoxic" on them, so I washed them and put them in new ziplocks right in the milk bucket. It's in the nineties daily lately, and the milk was at around 66 F by the time I got it in the house.
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