Evaporated Milk: Food Storage Pros and Cons

I just had to explore the pros and cons of evaporated milk in my food storage. I don’t use it often like some of you, but I like knowing it’s on my shelf.

In the past, I stored more cans, but found I wasn’t using them before expiration And evaporated milk has a short shelf life of about 12 months depending on which type you buy.

Sometimes it’s better to buy a few, experiment, and then come up with a goal amount later. Since my family has shrunk, I’ll only be storing 12 cans.

Reconstituted it would be equivalent to $4.00 per gallon. Pricey. But if it’s for cooking instead of drinking, it’s a great add in. Unless of course we were really desperate. Then I would be happy to share it with my grandchildren or neighborhood toddlers.

However, don’t put something in your food storage that you don’t think you will ever use. (If you want to see what I am focusing on gathering this month, see the my January Emergency Preparedness List.)


  • Useful in soups, desserts, and many other recipes.
  • Evaporation concentrates the nutrients and food energy.
  • Convenient. Just open and pour.
  • Takes up half the space of fresh milk.
  • A safe substitute for fresh milk.
  • 1/2 cup = 1 cup from the milk group.
  • Comes in full fat, low fat and non-fat versions.
  • Typically used to thicken recipes.


  • Takes more shelf space than dry milk.
  • Short-term shelf life.
  • Has a caramelized taste, so does not taste just like milk.


  • PET Milk says use regular evaporated milk within 12 months of manufacturing date; skim within 9 months. 
  • Store at room temperature.
  • Once opened, pour into another covered container, refrigerate, and use in 2 to 3 days.

Evaporated Milk Facts

  • Also known as dehydrated milk.
  • Has 60% of the water removed from fresh milk.
  • It is NOT sweetened condensed milk.
  • Used by U.S. troops in the Spanish-American war, WWI and WWII.
  • In the midst of the Great Depression evaporated milk became an important staple to American families.
  • It is homogenized, canned and sterilized
  • A slight carmalized flavor results from the high heat process.
  • Slightly darker than fresh milk.
  • Manufacturers include: Carnation (Nestlé), PET evaporated milk (Smuckers), Magnolia (Smuckers), Nestlé, F&N, Rainbow, Nordcontor (Germany).
Great Recipes Using Evaporated Milk
Helpful articles:
Powdered Milk and Evaporated Milk, The Prudent Homemaker

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