More than the meat, carabaos are also profitable source of milk, either sold fresh or processed into by-products. In the provinces and in the cities, carabao milk is in great demand. And this is a great opportunity for an enterprising farmer to earn money.
According to the Philippine Carabao Center, carabao’s milk is considered the “most complete food” because it contains protein, fat, lactose, vitamins and minerals, and water. Its milk is richer and creamier than cow’s milk or goat’s milk due to its high percentage of milk fat which is a good source of energy. It contains riboflavin or Vit. B2 needed for normal growth, agent against skin swelling, inflammation of the lining of mouth and tongue, and dizziness. It has Vit. A for clear eyesight and Vit. D, calcium, and phosphorus for strong teeth and bones.
Carabao’s milk, when it’s still in the mammary gland is still clean and free of microbes. But once the milk has been secreted from the mammary gland, it easily becomes susceptible to bacteria that come from the surroundings, air, materials used in milking, or human interactions. Since the milk is highly nutritious, it becomes an efficient medium for the bacteria to spread. This is the reason why fresh milk are spoiled easily.
Though tend to be spoiled easily, enterprising farmers can still maintain the freshness of carabao’s milk, in three ways. Immediately after milking, fresh milk must be stored inside an ice box or refrigerator. Second, milk must be pasteurized or cooked to kill the microbes and be safe to drink. This is usually done by heating the milk for 30 minutes at 63 0C or 15 seconds at 72 0C. The milk should be chilled and maintained at temperature of 4-8 0C. The third and last means is proper storage. If not all consumed, milk must be stored in an ice box or refrigerator to control the spread of microbes that are not killed during the pasteurization process.
To avoid wastage, milk must be processed. Pasteurized milk, choco milk, pastillas de leche, kesong puti, milk-o-jel, condensed milk, cheese spread, ice cream, mozzarella, or rennet (coagulated milk) are just some of the many products from carabao’s milk.
Pastillas de leche is one favorite native delicacy or sweets. It is made simply of milk and sugar. Since the ingredients are simple, the finest possible quality milk and sugar is absolutely very important. Aside from pastillas, there is also the ever famous kesong puti which is the Philippines’ version of the salty cottage cheese made from carabao’s milk. Another ingenious product of cheese making in the country is our very own carabao mozzarella. The appearance is somewhat similar to the typical mozzarellas of the Italian, but our version has slight grey pastiness when sliced.
With the increasing price of branded milk sold by multinational companies, enterprising farmer can hope to earn money by milking his carabao and sold the produce milk or processed into milk by-products.
Source: “Mga Produkto Mula sa Gatas ng Kalabaw.” Published and distributed by the Philippine Carabao Center, Department of Agriculture.
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