Almond milk is one of the alternatives to dairy milk, popular among vegetarians and people preferring a dairy-free diet. You can use it as a beverage or for cooking and preparing meals. Still, the question is does almond milk go bad after a while, primarily when you use a home-made variant.
Does Almond Milk Go Bad?
Typically, vegetable milk, including almond one, has a longer shelf life than animal milk. However, it can still go bad unless you don’t store it properly. You can use the dates printed on the pack only as a guideline since the FDA states they are not definite safety indicators.
If you keep the milk way past the expiration date or you store the opened pack on a counter, it will probably go bad, and you can only throw it away. The best solution is to keep it as the manufacturer recommends.
How Long Does Almond Milk Last?
You can find two types of packaging almond milk in stores, shelf-stable and refrigerated. The difference is that manufacturers pasteurize shelf-stable milk, which means they expose it shortly to a high temperature of 280 F (137.8 C) to destroy bacteria and extend the shelf life.
That means you can store it at room temperature, preferably in a dry and dark place such as a pantry. Plus, almond milk stays in good condition for another 2 to 4 weeks past the expiration date as long as you don’t open it.
How Long Does Almond Milk Last (Chart)
|New shelf-stable||Date + 2 to 4 weeks|
|Unsafe||7 to 10 days|
Date + 5 to 7 days
|Unsafe||7 to 10 days|
3 to 4 days
However, you need to keep both refrigerated and shelf-stable milk in the fridge once you open it. The opened almond milk lasts a little more than a week in the refrigerator, while it can spoil in a few hours at room temperature. The exception is home-made milk, which you should use within three to four days.
5 Tips to Tell if Almond Milk has Gone Bad
If you keep an open package of almond milk in the refrigerator for more than a week, it will spoil. There are a few signs that indicate you shouldn’t drink it, including:
- Bloated package – If you notice that the milk packaging is inflated, it is a sign that there is excess air in it and that the milk is gone bad. Throw it in the waste without having a second thought. Such milk is not usable for sure.
- Change in color, taste, and smell – If the carton is not inflated and the milk is within the shelf life, always smell it before drinking. Spoiled milk has a different, sour smell. You can also notice discoloration and the muddy liquid with a sour or bitter taste.
- Black spots – Another reason to discard the milk is the occurrence of black dots all over it. Although it doesn’t happen often, black fungus and mold can grow in the milk. Consequently, its consumption may cause serious health problems.
- Different texture – Sometimes, the milk separates, and a clean part of the liquid appears on the surface. That is not a sign that it is gone bad. Shake it, and take a sip for further inspection. It is safe for use if there are no other signs of spoilage. For example, spoiled milk has a cheesy texture and begins to curdle. So, if the milk suddenly becomes thicker and resembles yogurt, throw it away.
- Lumps – Finally, lumps in milk are not a regular occurrence, but they can occasionally appear after you thaw almond milk. Noticing them in the milk standing in the fridge means that it is no longer fresh and that consumption is risky.
5 Tips to Store Almond Milk for Longer
Almond milk has an expiration date, like any other food. However, it can be spoiled earlier or longer than the package shows’ date, depending on how you store it. I will give you five ways to extend its longevity and prevent it from spoiling.
Almond milk can preserve its quality for several weeks after the expiration date. However, it is vital to keep unopened shelf-safe packaging in a dry and dark place, away from light and heat sources.
The ideal place is a corner shelf in the pantry or a closed cabinet in the kitchen. If you put the milk on a shelf close to the heater, there is a high chance of going bad before the expiration date.
Manufacturers use Tetra Pack carton to pack shelf-safe milk and protect it from bacteria. Plus, the packaging is air-tightly sealed. The moment you open the milk, it no longer has a stable temperature and can go bad.
Therefore, you need to store the opened milk pack in the refrigerator. If you put it back in the same place in the pantry, you will notice that the taste and smell have changed in a few hours. That means the milk is no longer safe to consume.
Glass bottle or jar
If you prefer making almond milk instead of buying it, you need to pour the milk from the blender into a glass bottle before putting it in a fridge. You can also use a glass jar as long as you can close it tight so no air can come in.
Keep in mind that almond taste is more intense in home-made milk than in the purchased one. On the other hand, home-made milk lasts only three or four days in glass packaging and spoils within two days when you use a plastic bottle.
Never keep milk in the refrigerator door
You open the refrigerator door several times a day so, the temperature on its shelves fluctuates. That can speed up the growth of bacteria in the milk, and it will go bad quickly.
Instead, place the milk in the coldest part of the fridge or the shelf at the bottom. A stable low temperature keeps the milk fresh, so you will be able to use it longer.
Close packaging tight
While this may sound like unnecessary advice, you need to pay attention to how you close the pack before returning the milk into the refrigerator. The least you can expect if you miss appropriately closing it is that the milk picks up the smells and tastes of the food that surrounds it.
Plus, the bacteria can reach the milk through the air and spoil it. Take care not to forget milk on the counter and always throw it away if it stays long at room temperature.
The Risk if Consuming an Expired Almond Milk
Consuming expired almond milk can pass without any consequences if it is not spoiled. However, there is a risk of stomach problems with food poisoning symptoms, such as cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Bacteria developed in spoiled milk may cause only mild discomfort that lasts for several hours. However, you need to visit a doctor if the symptoms worsen. The best choice is not to use expired milk, especially if you belong to a risk group or have a chronic disease.
Remember, the more times you open the same milk package, the bigger the risk it will spoil. Once you start using the new pack, try to consume all the milk in the next few days.
The severity of digestive problems will depend on the amount of spoil milk you have drunk. If you take just one or two sips, you won’t suffer from any consequences, while the large amounts may cause poisoning.
Can You Freeze Almond Milk?
Putting almond milk in a freezer is a debatable idea that many manufacturers don’t recommend. Theoretically, you can freeze it before the expiration date and extend its lasting.
However, the milk’s quality and texture won’t be the same once you thaw it, and you can spot lumps in it. For this reason, you can use or drink almond milk from the freezer only for cooking or preparing shakes, but not for drinking.
There are several ways to freeze almond milk, but it is most practical to put it in the freezer in the small doses you need to prepare a meal. For instance, you can pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze. If you need a larger amount of milk for a sauce or soup, use muffin tins.
It would be good to measure the amount that fits in one serving to know how much milk you need to defrost to follow your recipe. Plus, there is no need to thaw the milk, but only put a frosted cube in a prepared meal.
Almond milk can spoil if you don’t store it properly. Once you open it, place it in the fridge and use it as soon as possible. Consuming expired milk may lead to poisoning. Luckily, there are several ways to extend the almond milk shelf life successfully. Use them!