I read an article the other day about the growing glut of organic pasteurized milk across North America. A Big Dairy darling until only recently, consumers are increasingly shunning this pseudo-healthfood in favor of healthier alternatives. One option is grassfed raw milk, whose popularity continues to increase by leaps and bounds worldwide. Wholesome non-dairy beverages are also making significant inroads into the once-thriving organic milk business.
As more consumers make the important transition from processed (organic) milk to more nourishing, less allergenic alternatives, education about proper handling is very important. When it comes to raw grassfed milk, knowing how to keep it fresh for drinking without compromising the significant health benefits is critical.
I’ve written before about how to keep raw milk fresh for as long as possible. Since that article was published, I’ve received a number of inquiries from people asking about using colloidal silver for this purpose. Apparently, it is popular in some raw milk circles to add a few drops to containers of raw dairy (both milk and cream) to keep it fresh longer.
Let’s examine whether this is a good idea or not.
Colloidal Silver and Raw Milk
There’s no doubt that colloidal silver is one of the best natural antibiotics out there. That said, I’ve always recommended to readers of this site to confine its use to external areas of the body. Limiting internal use to gargling for sore throats or other oral infections (and then spitting it out), for example, is optimal in my view. There are a number of far better, natural antibiotics than colloidal silver to use internally, such as fermented garlic.
The reason colloidal silver is best not used internally is because it is powerfully anti-microbial to both pathogenic and beneficial bacteria. In other words, if you swallow some, it has the potential to disrupt or destroy beneficial bacteria in the gut in the same way drug based antibiotics do. For this reason, the practitioners I know who specialize in gut healing recommend against its use internally.
Destruction of Probiotics
Let’s extend this line of thinking to raw dairy.
While using a small amount colloidal silver in a container of unpasteurized milk or cream might buy you a few extra days of freshness, the downside is profound.
For one thing, this practice will likely destroy some, and possibly all, the probiotics. These critters are more than just healthy. They are an important safety feature in raw milk. I’ll explain more on that below. First, though, let’s look at what they actually do.
The beneficial bacteria in raw milk gradually use up the lactose in the milk. It serves as food for them. As the lactose is consumed, the raw milk naturally sours into clabbered milk, a very healthy beverage similar to buttermilk.
Remember that pasteurized milk contains no probiotics. Heat processing, even low temp (vat) pasteurization, destroys them. This is why pasteurized milk goes putrid after the “use by” date and doesn’t transform into sour milk like fresh from the cow.
Most people I know consider the probiotics in raw milk to be a big health benefit. Hence, compromising these friendly critters in any way reduces the value of your Real Food investment. Good quality raw milk is expensive, so why degrade it in any way?
As mentioned above, adding colloidal silver to raw milk is a dangerous practice. Compromising the probiotics in raw milk – its safety mechanism – eliminates the natural and effective protection from pathogens. This is why raw milk left on the counter does not spoil … it clabbers.
If raw milk is not able to sour naturally due to reduced probiotic content, the result is a beverage more susceptible to going putrid. In other words, drinking raw milk with added colloidal silver has the potential to make a person very sick. Beware!
In addition, from a purely practical perspective, using colloidal silver to extend the drinkable life of raw milk prevents its use for other purposes. This includes making raw whey and cream cheese among other dishes.
In sum, it is best to never add colloidal silver to your raw milk to keep it fresh longer. While this trick does work, the cons far outweigh the pros. This article details the best ways for keeping raw milk fresh that won’t compromise this traditional food’s integrity or nutritional value.