... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Is UHT milk getting nicer?

Or are my tastebuds deteriorating?

I used to detest the stuff; the smell made me heave; it absolutely ruined a cup of tea with its cooked milk taste. I refused to countenance it. But now I find I don't mind it at all; indeed, I can scarcely tell the difference. We use long life milk all the time now on Chertsey; it's so much easier to stock up on 500ml cartons before we leave  than to constantly wonder where we are going to get the next pint from, and if it will still be useable in the morning. The half litre packs are a handy size which we can get through in a day, so rarely have to throw any away even without a fridge.

It seems to me unlikely that the fundamental processing of UHT milk has altered - it must still depend on heating it to a high temperature and therefore cooking it. But maybe there is a difference in the make up of the milk that is treated? Perhaps it contains less of the proteins or sugars that are affected by the heat? I've always thought that the effect was less noticeable with skimmed than whole milk, but I am comparing like with like (in the form of semi-skimmed) here.

If it's not the milk itself, then that only leaves my tastebuds. I would be prepared to believe that they were getting old and losing their sophisticated discrimination, if not for the fact that Sebastian, who similarly used to find long life milk revolting, has noticed the same phenomenon.


  1. It's not just you and Sebastian, Sarah. I wasn't looking forward to putting UHT on my Weetabix on Kew the other week but, like you, found it almost indistinguishable from the real thing. I wonder, though, if, as you suggest, our taste buds might be conditioned to it, now that all our milk is homogenised. Perhaps that's the real difference.

  2. No idea on the milk (I don't have milk at all, so tea is black and with cereal I have soya milk).

    But on a completely different subject, we passed King's Bromley Wharf twice during our September afloat, and I was amused to see that your plastic extension to the downpipe was still in place. I even took a photo of it the second time we passed! Very few boats on the wharf now, though, and it looks very unloved.

    1. Yes, I'm always pretty impressed to see it still there! It was, to be honest, an absolutely dreadful mooring, especially once they stopped letting us use the toilets, which were themselves quite possibly the nastiest in western Europe.

  3. We use long life milk all the time, we find the skimmed to be the best both in tea and on cereals for breakfast. Much better than full cream or even semi skimmed.

  4. Yuk.

    My taste buds must be in better health as I cants stand the stuff..... yet :)