We often use the terms condensed milk and evaporated milk as synonyms. Loads of recipes call for condensed milk or evaporated milk and we wonder if they are one and the same. However, are they the same? If not, then what is the difference between condensed milk and evaporated milk? This article dwells on condensed milk vs evaporated milk, however, before heading into that, let us find out what these dairy products actually are.
Evaporated milk is the thicker version of milk obtained in the market in canned form. It is prepared by evaporating regular milk and extracting 60% of water from the milk in a high heat environment. The process of evaporation is conducted by a process called vacuum evaporation, wherein more than half the water is discarded from the milk. After this the milk is homogenized to provide longer shelf life and is also sterilized. According to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) standards, evaporated milk manufactured should contain a minimum of 25.5% milk solids and a minimum of 7.9% milk fats.
Evaporated milk is used by people as an alternative for regular milk in tea and coffee. Since the shelf life (months or even year depending on brand type) of evaporated milk is high, they do not get spoiled easily and can be stored as a substitute for milk in regions where fresh milk is not easily available. People can even take cans of evaporated milk while going camping! When appropriate amount of water is added to evaporated milk, it becomes equivalent to fresh milk. Evaporated milk is also added to soups, casseroles and gravy recipes to impart a rich, creamy taste to the dish.
Condensed milk is prepared by the same process evaporated milk is formed. 60% of its water content is vacuum evaporated and then homogenized. After these steps, a sweetener is added to condensed milk and then sterilized. However, the sterilization process is not as rigorous as that carried out for preparation of evaporated milk. This is because the sweetener added inhibits growth of micro-organisms, thereby sterilizing the milk partly. The rest of the sterilization requirements are done during the sterilization stage.
According to FDA standards, evaporated milk manufactured should contain a minimum of 28% milk solids and a minimum of 8% milk fats. Condensed milk finds its applications in several desserts and beverages such as Vietnamese coffee. Condensed milk is also applied to pieces of toast, similar to how jam is applied on bread, and eaten.
Similarities between Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk
Both condensed and evaporated milk come from the same parent: regular milk. Moreover, both of them undergo the process of vacuum evaporation and are formed after evaporation of 60% water content from milk. Both these dairy products are sold in cans and are found in grocery stores.
Condensed Milk Vs Evaporated Milk
If both condensed milk and evaporated milk are produced from the same milk, with the same amount of water content (60%) being evaporated then what is the difference? Well, in condensed milk there is an additional step carried out after the evaporation process. This step involves addition of a sweetener into the evaporated milk. It is this added sweetener that gives condensed milk its delicious, unique flavor. This means unsweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are the same thing. To put it in yet another way; sweetened evaporated milk is called condensed milk.
Both condensed milk and evaporated milk are rich in calories due to their concentrated form, however, since condensed milk contains additional sugar content, it possesses higher calories than evaporated milk. Another difference between these two products is the government regulations on vitamin contents. The government demands addition of vitamin A, D and C to evaporated milk during its manufacture, however, in case of condensed milk, the government demands only addition of vitamin A.
While considering condensed milk and evaporated milk, we find that there is only a hairline difference between the two products. However, we also know these two dairy products are not the same.