Does almond milk go bad? Curiosity had you urged you to buy a few cartons of almond milk instead of cow’s milk from the grocery store. Or you have used a lot of almonds to make almond milk, and you didn’t expect that you’ll end up with more yield than you wish. Now, you’re a little bit worried that you might not be able to use everything.
Like dairy or other non-dairy milk, almond milk can also go bad, especially if it is not stored correctly in the right conditions. The length of its shelf life will vary depending on the type of almond milk you have – store-bought or homemade.
In this article, let’s discuss the answers to the following questions:
- What is the shelf life of almond milk?
- Can it go bad? How long does it last?
- How to know if it has gone bad? When should you dispose of it?
- How to store almond milk properly?
So, keep reading to learn more!
What is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a nut-based drink that has received a lot of popularity in recent years. It is made of a mixture of almonds and water blended and filtered together to create a creamy white liquid. Interestingly, its texture is closely similar to regular cow’s milk.
Unlike regular dairy milk, such as cow’s milk, it naturally does not contain certain sugars and fats. In other words, it does not contain lactose and cholesterol. (*)
Due to its nutritional composition, it makes an excellent and healthier substitute for animal milk. This is highly beneficial for people who have dietary concerns about dairy. It involves people with lactose intolerance, milk allergies, and individuals who follow a vegan diet.
Commercialized versions of almond milk often have additional ingredients, such as sweeteners and stabilizers. These were added to almond milk to enhance their shelf life and flavor.
What is the Shelf Life of Almond Milk?
The type of almond milk you have and the method you use to store it determine how long your milk will likely last without going bad.
There are three types of almond milk available: refrigerated, shelf-stable, and homemade.
Refrigerated almond milk
If left unopened, refrigerated almond milk can last up to 5-7 days past the use-by date marked on the packaging.
Once it is opened, it can only last up to a week in storage if appropriately stored in the fridge.
Refrigerated almond milk is the type of almond you can typically find in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. They are primarily packaged in opaque to transparent bottle containers. These almond milk types have undergone less processing during production than shelf-stable almond milk. Thus, it has a shorter shelf-life. It can quickly go bad without constant refrigeration.
Shelf-stable almond milk
Shelf-stable almond milk is pasteurized, and it is packaged in shelf-stable cartons designed to prolong its shelf-life without refrigeration.
Shelf-stable almond milk typically has a shelf life of up to a year when left unopened. In fact, they are still suitable for consumption even up to a few weeks past the marked date on the packaging.
However, just like refrigerated almond milk, shelf-stable almond milk will require refrigeration once opened.
Homemade almond milk
If the almond milk you have at home is one you made yourself, it will typically last only up to 3-4 days after making it.
How To Tell If Almond Milk Has Gone Bad?
If you have some almond milk hanging around in your pantry, kitchen, or fridge for quite some time and have no idea how long it has been sitting there, the best way to tell if it has gone bad is to use your senses.
1. Inspect the condition of the packaging
With your sense of sight, check first how the packaging looks like. If the packaging looks slightly bloated or puffed up and leaky, there’s a likely chance that the fermentation process involved in spoiling has already occurred.
As almond milk spoils, like every other kind of milk, gases produced from fermentation tend to build up inside your container, causing it to expand.
If your almond milk is stored either in plastic or cardboard packaging, this sign would be easier to detect than those kept in a glass container.
2. Check the consistency
Next is to check for your almond milk’s appearance. Now, there is this common belief with milk that if it looks like that it has separated, then it is no longer safe.
However, the same thing could not be said with almond milk. Seeing it separating is normal, and you should not be alarmed. It doesn’t mean that it is already spoiled.
Almond milk is also not supposed to look thick. If it appears to take on a thicker consistency, has lumpy and coagulated solid specks and pieces, the best thing you can do is throw it out immediately.
3. Look for signs of discoloration.
Dark-colored spots and discolorations signify that your almond milk has already been contaminated with mold. Thus, it is no longer safe to use.
Store-bought almond milk contains more water and should have the same watery consistency as ordinary milk. However, it is also important to note that some brands may appear thicker than others depending on how much thickener was added to their product.
So when in doubt, it is best to look for other signs of spoiling before deciding to throw it away.
4. Smell it.
Another way to tell if your almond milk has gone bad is to give it a sniff. Fresh almond milk should smell fresh and nutty and should have a hint of sweetness, depending on whether it is sweetened or flavored. If it smells suspiciously unpleasant, sour, or rancid, then it is spoiled.
5. Give it a taste
Taste your milk. If it tastes terrible, then it is not suitable for consumption anymore.
Using spoiled almond milk won’t do you any good, so it is best to be safe than sorry.
How To Store Almond Milk Properly?
To prolong your almond milk’s freshness for as long as possible, it is essential to store it properly under the proper condition so as not to make it go bad too quickly.
Put them in airtight containers.
Place them in an airtight container for your homemade almond milk to help prevent any bacteria from contaminating and ruining your milk.
Additionally, storing it in airtight containers can prevent your milk from picking up odors from other ingredients in your fridge. (*)
If you made your own almond milk at home or bought it from the grocery store, it is best to place it in a refrigerator.
When storing it in your fridge, it is vital to place it towards the back of your fridge and not on your refrigerator’s door. This puts your milk at the most stable and coldest temperature in your refrigerator.
No matter the kind of almond milk you have at home, once opened, it is essential to keep it in the refrigerator at a consistent temperature of fewer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Frequently Asked Questions (Up to 300 words total)
1. Can I Heat Almond Milk?
Yes, you can heat almond milk. This can be done by either placing it in the microwave or on a stove using the double boiler method.
Gradually heating your almond milk at low-to-moderate temperatures would just do the trick to warm up your drink. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that you can only warm your almond milk over moderate heat. Overheating your almond milk will destroy the nutrients it contains.
Furthermore, overheating almond milk will burn and separate. You don’t want that to happen, right.
2. Can Almond Milk Cause Constipation?
Homemade almond milk is generally good for your gut. It is also has a high fiber content that can aid in digestion. However, if you have any known nuts allergies or irritable bowel syndrome, this might not be the drink for you.
If we talk about commercialized almond milk, the research found it is linked to several gut problems such as bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. Why? That is due to the additives, thickeners, and preservatives added to processed almond milk.
3. What Does Almond Milk Taste Like?
In contrast to the name “almond milk” implies, it doesn’t taste like actual almonds at all. In fact, it’s pretty far from it. Since it isn’t made with toasted almonds like you would usually get from your grocery store, they actually have a milder nutty flavor than the actual nut itself. This is because raw almonds have a milder almond flavor than their toasted version.
In some cases, however, depending on the brand of almond milk you purchased, manufacturers have added sweeteners and flavorings to enhance their taste profile. That explains why some almond milk has a sweeter or stronger almond taste.
Almond milk can go bad if you do not store them correctly.
If you have store-bought almond milk, you can keep it in the pantry for up to a year if unopened. Once opened, the shelf life is shortened to only a few days.
Refrigerated or homemade almond milk must be kept refrigerated at all times. You should not leave it under room temperature for several hours.
If you suspect that your almond milk does not look, smell, and taste good, it is best to throw it away for your safety.