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How Long Does Almond Milk Last? Can It Go Bad?

How Long Does Almond Milk Last? Can It Go Bad?

Because almond milk is shelf-stable, we can often be tempted to buy more than we need if it goes on sale. Surely, if it has a shelf life that is longer than regular dairy milk, nothing can go wrong, right? Well, not exactly. We can still find ourselves looking at a carton of almond milk that is way out of date, wondering if the contents are going to repulse us. Many of us in this scenario will simply chuck it out, but there are more than a few amongst us who will have that underlying curiosity. If you are in the latter camp, then this article is for you!

Does Almond Milk Go Bad?

Almond milk, though not immortal, can last for quite a long time – longer than most would expect. In this sense, it doesn’t really suit to compare it to dairy milk. There is less that can spoil in nut-based milk products, and if the packaging hasn’t been compromised it can outlive dairy milk by a long shot. So, if you want to know how long, and how to store it, we have the tips you need below…

How Do I Store Almond Milk?

Before we get into this, it must be acknowledged that there are two main varieties of almond milk that can be found in the stores. One type demands to be stored in the fridge, even in its unopened state. The other is shelf-stable and is much less hassle when it comes to storing. We would always recommend buying the shelf-stable version as it can be stockpiled without decimating your fridge space. After all, for most of us, we don’t really have the room in our fridges for a dozen cartons of almond milk. So, with that in mind, we are mainly going to focus on how to store the shelf-stable version.

Unopened cartons

If you have ever stored coconut or soy milk before, a lot of this will sound familiar to you. Firstly, the main things you need to protect the almond milk from are sources of sunlight and heat. So, in order to do this, the best places in any house are normally the pantry or a kitchen cabinet. Just make sure that the temperature in these areas is relatively stable and the almond milk will pretty much take care of itself until it is opened…

Opened cartons

As soon as the carton of almond milk is opened, the way it is stored needs to be changed immediately. Storing it on a shelf in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet simply won’t do anymore and it will expire in only a few days in this environment. This is because air will have entered into the sealed package, beginning the spoiling process. So, to combat this, the only thing to do is to always store opened containers of almond milk in the fridge. If at all possible, store them as far away as possible from the door of the fridge as this area is prone to temperature fluctuations. These fluctuations, though not immediately harmful, will age your almond milk at a faster rate.

Naturally, all cartons that state that they should be stored in the fridge should be stored there without exception. The same goes for homemade nut milk. These should also always remain in a sealed state when not in use. Though the fridge seems like a dry place, there is actually quite a bit of moisture in there circulating around. This moisture, along with the multiple food odors present in any domestic fridge can get into the milk and cause it to adopt strange and unwelcome flavors and to go off prematurely.

Should You Refrigerate Almond Milk?

There are two different types of almond milk; those that absolutely need to be refrigerated and those that don’t. If in any doubt as to where your milk should be stored, or if the packaging doesn’t explicitly state where, the best thing to do is to play it safe. Whereas storing shelf-stable milk in the fridge won’t harm it too much, the inverse can be catastrophic. It is best not to risk it and to clear some space in the back of the fridge. In the case of homemade almond milk, these will almost definitely not be shelf-stable and should be stored in the fridge in a sealed container.

Can You Freeze Almond Milk?

There is much debate as to whether almond milk can be frozen or not. Some manufacturers will claim that their product can be frozen. Others will say the exact opposite. So, in the absence of any information that will work across the board, we’re going to go ahead and say that it can be frozen in most cases. However, doing so may not be the best idea and we would avoid doing it unless absolutely necessary. The main reason for this is that after freezing and thawing, the texture of the almond milk will change. It will no longer be silky smooth as it should be. So, if the purpose of the milk is for drinking or cereals, it just won’t be appealing. Where freezing is useful is when the almond milk is going to be used for cooking or baking – basically, in settings where the altered texture won’t really be an issue. The best way to freeze almond milk is to first freeze it in an ice-cube tray and then transfer the cubes into a freezer bag or airtight containers for use as you need them.

How Long Does Almond Milk Last?

Shelf-stable almond milk

Starting out with the type of almond milk that lasts the longest, shelf-stable almond milk can last a surprisingly long time if stored correctly. Though this variety of milk will come with a printed sell-by date, there is no reason to throw out a carton that has passed this date. We have found that the printed date is a pretty conservative estimate on how long it will last. In truth, in most cases, we have found that this form of almond milk can last for up to three weeks beyond this date. Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule. If you are concerned, please consult our section below on how to spot the signs that your almond milk has gone off. Once the carton has been opened, it is best to store it in the fridge from then on out and use it within a week.

Refrigerated almond milk

With this type of almond milk, we have found that the printed date on the package is much closer to being accurate. Generally, as soon as this date has elapsed, we begin to approach the milk with much more caution than we would with the shelf-stable stuff. As a result, we could only recommend using an unopened carton of this stuff for a few days after the printed date. Once opened, the whole carton should be used within a three day period.

Homemade almond milk

As homemade almond milk will most likely not be pasteurized, this form of almond milk should be used as quickly as possible after it has been made. Always store it in the fridge and use it within 3 days.

How Do I Make Almond Milk Last Longer?

There is no trick to keeping almond milk for any longer than the dates listed above, unfortunately. Even at that, the dates listed above are the best you can expect if you have stored the milk under the best available conditions.

Signs That Your Almond Milk May Have Gone Off

The first sign that your almond milk may have gone off doesn’t even require you to open the carton to notice. If the carton has become oddly bloated or misshapen, this definitely means that some form of chemical reaction has taken place, indicating spoilage. If it passes this test, the next step is to pour a little bit of the milk into a glass and have a smell. If the smell isn’t sweet and nutty anymore, or the liquid isn’t as smooth as it should be, it is best to discard the milk immediately and replace it. Naturally, if the milk has gone a long way beyond the sell-by date, the safest thing to do is to discard it.

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