Why is it called evaporated milk?

Evaporated milk gets its name from the way it’s made. It’s not actually condensed milk, which has sugar added to it. Instead, evaporated milk is simply cow’s milk that has had about 60% of its water removed through evaporation. This process leaves behind a thicker, richer milk that is shelf-stable and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Here’s a breakdown of the name:

  • Evaporated: This refers to the process of removing water from the milk.
  • Milk: This is the type of liquid that is being evaporated.

So, why is it called evaporated milk and not just “thickened milk” or “concentrated milk”?

  • Historical context: Evaporated milk was first developed in the mid-1800s as a way to preserve milk without refrigeration. At the time, there was no way to keep milk fresh for long periods, so it would often spoil quickly. Evaporated milk solved this problem by removing the water from the milk, which made it less likely to spoil.
  • Marketing: The name “evaporated milk” was also chosen for marketing reasons. It was a way to differentiate this new product from fresh milk and to highlight its longer shelf life.

Over time, the name “evaporated milk” has stuck, even though it is no longer the only way to preserve milk. Today, evaporated milk is still a popular ingredient in many recipes, and it is a convenient option for people who want to keep milk on hand without having to worry about it spoiling.

Additional information about evaporated milk:

  • Evaporated milk is available in both whole milk and low-fat varieties.
  • It has a slightly caramelized flavor due to the heating process.
  • Evaporated milk can be used in a variety of recipes, including soups, sauces, desserts, and even coffee.
  • To use evaporated milk as a substitute for fresh milk, add 1 1/2 parts water to 1 part evaporated milk.
  • Evaporated milk can be stored unopened at room temperature for up to a year. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and used within 3-5 days.


The name “evaporated milk” accurately reflects the way this product is made. It is a simple and descriptive name that has been used for over 150 years. Evaporated milk is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes, and it is a convenient option for people who want to keep milk on hand without having to worry about it spoiling.

But what even is evaporated milk?

Evaporated milk is a dairy product that is made by removing approximately 60% of the water from cow’s milk through a slow heating process, as the name suggests. After the water is eliminated, the mixture, consisting of approximately 7% fat, is homogenized into an emulsion and subsequently canned and sterilized.

This multi-step process was developed over several decades through a number of breakthroughs rather than just by chance or with the wave of an industrial magic wand.

Like instant coffee, Cheetos, and M&M’s, evaporated milk was also a by-product of war. As Napoleon’s conquests spread across Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, easily transportable and spoil-resistant food became imperative to feeding his expansive army. But technology was lagging far behind the emperor’s ambitions. So, according to the Evaporated Milk Association’s archives, the French government announced a lofty prize of 12,000 Francs to anyone who could devise a method to successfully extend the life cycle of food.

The first version of evaporated milk was invented on January 30, 1810, by confectioner Nicholas Appert, who spent 15 years experimenting in his small Parisian kitchen. His method was to “boil a given quantity of milk to one third its original bulk by boiling in an open kettle,” cork the bottle, and reheat it in a hot water bath before sealing it. The archives point out that Appert’s invention was notable not only for its novelty but also for the fact that, despite his lack of knowledge about microbiology, he effectively pasteurized milk long before Louis Pasteur did.

The beginning of the gradual transition from Appert’s evaporated milk to the canned variety that is sold in stores today The next stage of development began in 1853 with the patent application for milk evaporation in a vacuum made by an American inventor by the name of Gail Borden. Using this technique, Borden made sweetened condensed milk from evaporated milk and sugar, which was a crucial field ration during the American Civil War, among other conflicts.

But it was a Swiss man named John B. Meyenberg who realized the unsweetened potential of evaporated milk. After his idea for sugar-free canned milk failed to gain traction in his home country, Meyenberg crossed the Atlantic to Highland, Illinois. Here, he founded the first evaporated milk plant in the US and the world with a group of Swiss dairy farmers. Following Meyenberg’s patent in 1884 for “a process of sterilization by steam under pressure while the cans are agitated,” the first canned evaporated milk was produced for sale in that year. The pressurized sterilization process developed by Meyenberg and the vacuum evaporation method developed by Borden continue to be important industry foundations today.

There was still one more problem to solve. The fat and water separated during the evaporation process, resulting in an unemulsified finished product. In 1909, homogenization was implemented as a remedy, which led to the unprecedented success of evaporated milk. Now that the product was emulsified as milk should be, it not only had a much longer shelf life but also looked much better in its combined form, which attracted customers more.

Evaporated milk engaged in combat once more during World War I, this time against the armed forces of the United States and its allies. It was “hailed as a boon to the fighting man. It endured after the war thanks to the soldiers who were released and went on to use the product in their civilian lives.

What is Evaporated Milk?


Why is condensed milk called that?

Condensed just means that the milk was cooked down in order to remove some of the water from it, the same way you would cook down a stock or a sauce to concentrate its flavor. Sweetened: Yeah, you guessed it. There’s sugar added to sweetened condensed milk.

What is the difference between canned milk and evaporated milk?

Full-fat evaporated milk is a type of canned milk that has had about 60% of the water removed, leaving a concentrated and slightly caramelized milk flavor. It is commonly used in recipes for pies, custards, and other creamy desserts, as well as in savory dishes like creamy soups and sauces.

Is evaporated milk healthier than condensed milk?

In summary, evaporated milk is unsweetened and has a similar nutritional value to regular milk, while sweetened condensed milk is very sweet and has a higher calorie count due to the added sugar.

Why do people drink evaporated milk?

Being a type of concentrated milk, evaporated milk has a higher nutrient concentration than fresh cow’s milk, which gives it its characteristic creamy texture. It also has a higher mineral content.

Is evaporated milk the same as condensed milk?

Evaporated milk is canned cow’s milk and a liquid. It is sometimes called unsweetened condensed milk. Evaporated milk is not the same thing as condensed milk. Condensed milk is also reduced by 60 percent, but it is heavily sweetened, making it thick and syrupy.

What is evaporated milk?

(a) Description. Evaporated milk is the liquid food obtained by partial removal of water only from milk. It contains not less than 6.5 percent by weight of milk fat, not less than 16.5 percent by weight of milk solids not fat, and not less than 23 percent by weight of total milk solids.

Is evaporated milk sweetened or sweetened?

However, if diluted prior to baking, cans of evaporated milk can result in an almost identical replication of the usual baked goods. Condensed milk is sweetened, which is why it’s also often referred to as sweetened condensed milk, whereas evaporated milk has no added sweeteners whatsoever.

When did evaporating milk start?

The next phase of the evolution took place in 1853 when an American inventor named Gail Borden filed a patent for evaporating milk in a vacuum. Borden used this method to combine evaporated milk with sugar to create sweetened condensed milk, an essential field ration during yet another conflict—the American Civil War.

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