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Tapioca Pudding, & to Cook or Not to Cook Raw Milk? part 1

Because raw milk has so many health benefits, many people hesitate to cook with it. They say, why would you take perfect raw milk and ruin it by cooking?

My mom used to think that she was lactose intolerant, until she started drinking my raw milk. I make a lot of tapioca pudding for my kids, and when my mom was here visiting, of course she wanted some also. I sort of expected her to get an upset tummy because obviously, pudding is cooked (pasteurized) and therefore the milk in it is no longer raw.

But she didn't. She digested the pudding just fine.

So wait a minute. What gives? If RAW milk is better and more digestible that PASTEURIZED milk, why didn't the pudding bother her?

There are more differences between my milk, even once it has been brought to a boil, and store bought milk than most people realize. Here are a few of the differences between my cows and my milk compared to commercial cows and commercial milk.

My cows:

  • eat grass (plus supplements), which is what cows were meant to eat

  • are vigorously healthy

  • only make as much milk as their body can support on a natural diet

  • aren't treated with chemicals or pharmaceuticals

  • live outside in the sunshine, with access to a barn if they choose to get out of nasty weather

  • are milked in a way that is highly sanitary so it is safe to drink without pasteurizing

  • And my milk is not homogenized

Commercial cows:

  • eat as much as 30 to 50 pounds of grain and soy per day to support massive milk production

  • only get around 50% of their diet in grass

  • are fed industrial food wastes such as truckloads of candy, sugary cereal, newspapers (which isn't really food...), and stale bread

  • are constantly fending off health problems such as hoof rot, mastitis, and acidosis

  • are constantly receiving vet care to keep the milk pumping

  • in large industrial dairies never get to walk through a grassy meadow

  • need to have their milk pasteurized to make it "safe" to drink

  • in most cases, pasteurization heats milk much, much higher than boiling, which renders the proteins difficult to digest

  • And their milk is homogenized to prevent the cream from rising

Commercial milk is bad for you because it comes from unhealthy cows living in unnatural conditions, and then it is processed at heat higher than you would be able to achieve in your kitchen, and it is homogenized.

If you take my raw milk and make pudding out of it, yes, you loose a few of the benefits that leaving it raw would have, but it is still a completely different product than commercial milk. Cooked raw grass fed milk is still good for you.

As I pointed out in this blog, "lactose intolerance" is much more complicated than whether or not your body makes the lactase enzyme. It also concerns how the proteins were processed. It even concerns the health and diet of the cows.

Besides, if you drink raw milk all the time, does it really hurt to cook a little now and then?

If you grew up loving tapioca pudding and you want to eat it again, go ahead! Don't feel bad cooking with raw milk sometimes. Especially if you are about to get your weekly milk order and you haven't quite used up last week's milk, this is a great way to put it to good use.

This recipe has only whole ingredients that you can feel good about your family eating.

Hilary's Tapioca Pudding

1 or 2 pasture raised eggs

1/4 cup small tapioca pearls*

4 cups of raw, grass fed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup


In a 6 quart sauce pan, thoroughly whisk together eggs and tapioca, then add milk and maple syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. When it comes to a full boil, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Chill before serving.


*Kraft Minute Tapioca is an option easily available in many grocery stores, but be aware that it contains two ingredients: tapioca and soy lecithin. If you avoid soy, an alternate brand is Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Pearls, whose only ingredient is tapioca.

Stay tuned for the next two posts of the series Raw Milk: To Cook or Not to Cook, Raw Chia Pudding and Traditional Yogurt.

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