Many people when asked cannot explain the exact difference between evaporated and condense milk. However, there is basically no difference between to the two, except when sweetener is involved. Evaporated milk that has been sweetened is automatically considered a condensed milk. When condensed milk is not sweetened it is known as evaporated milk.
The process to make either kind of milk is the same. Evaporated milk is made in sterile factories where a vacuum evaporation process removes about 60 percent of the water content of regular milk. It is then homogenized, sterilized, and canned. The process produces a product that has a much longer shelf life than regular refrigerated milk, but can be used in just about any way regular milk can.
Condensed milk is made with the same vacuum process, but sweetener is added, creating a product this is usually reserved for baking or cooking. FDA regulations mandate that Vitamins A, D, and C are added to evaporated milk; however, only vitamin A needs to be added to condensed milk. Both milks are high in calories, but it is the sugar condensed milk that is much higher in calories because of the sweetening process. One can find many different varieties of evaporated and condensed milk including skimmed, whole, or low-fat. There have even been chocolate and vanilla varieties popping up in stores.
As one can imagine, because of the sweetening process, evaporated milk cannot be interchanged with condensed milk in most recipes. Condensed milk is usually used in desserts and baking, whereas evaporated milk is regularly used as a substitute for regular milk in drinks such as teas and coffees. Evaporated milk also integrates well into gravies, soups, and quiches because it has a creamy taste without the sweetness of condensed milk. When one is looking to cook something savory, reaching for a can of evaporated milk is always the right move.
Evaporated milk has many of the health benefits found in regular milk. As mentioned above, government regulations ensure that vitamins A, D, and C are all fortified into the final product. Plus the concentration of the vitamins and nutrients are much higher as compared with regular milk. Another benefit is the long shelf life of the evaporated milk. One does not risk the chance of spoilage and illness that often accompanies past-dated regular milk. Evaporated milk is an easy alternative to regular milk, and offers the convenience of a long shelf life with added vitamins.
Evaporated milk is great for camping because it does not have to be refrigerated and can take the place of regular milk in almost any instance. Though the taste and quality of the milk is not at the same level of regular milk, the convenience and health benefits help to offset any taste issued involved in using evaporated milk.
As for condense milk, it provides some health benefits, but it is mostly a baking agent to replace the need for regular milk. Sure it is convenient, but it will not offer the benefits of whole regular milk or evaporated milk.