To every lactose intolerant or dairy-sensitive person out there, you don’t have to starve yourself of milk any longer! Fantastic dairy milk alternatives will surely add flavor and creaminess to your drinks and dishes. One of them is almond milk, a fan favorite among vegans!
So, if you’ve got an opened carton of almond milk you don’t plan on using for a week or so, you’re probably wondering if you can extend its shelf life by freezing milk. However, that may not be a good idea, as freezing affects almond milk. Read on to find out the exact answer to, “can you freeze almond milk?”
About Almond Milk
Almonds are a nut with numerous health benefits, with almond milk made from the nut’s seeds. You can use this kind of milk to prepare various dishes and drinks, suitable for anyone (except those with nut allergies).
This is plant-based milk, basically water made from almonds that were ground and mixed with water. It looks like regular milk with a nuttier flavor and similar texture. (*)
It tastes light and creamy when drinking almond milk, with a milky white color. You won’t be missing out on anything!
You can find almond milk for sale in stores or create homemade almond milk through almond powder or grinding almond seeds.
Contrary to what you may think, almond milk has been around for quite some time, particularly since the Middle Ages. Back then, wealthy families preferred almond milk over milk from animals.
Today, almond milk is a popular choice among vegans and health enthusiasts. It’s even more popular than soy milk because of its health benefits, which are:
- Almond milk is safe and hypoallergenic compared to soy milk and other kinds of milk, which may have saturated fatty acids or genetically modified ingredients. Almond milk is free from all that, only containing almond mixed with water.
- It’s lactose-free, suitable for those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy. Also, almond milk is hypoallergenic, which is why it’s sensible to use instead of raw milk when you have milk allergies.
- Unsweetened almond milk is low in carbohydrates but high in protein and other nutrients. It won’t raise one’s blood sugar and is excellent for low-carb diets or have diabetes. Furthermore, it’s lower in fat, calories, and sugar while being easier to digest, making it great if you’re losing weight.
- Almond milk contains vitamins D, E, and calcium, which are great for bone health, skin health, and the like.
Can You Freeze Almond Milk?
So, with all that mentioned, can you freeze almond milk?
It’s possible to freeze almond milk to delay spoilage and lengthen its shelf life. It can last for an extra six months when freezing correctly.
Here’s the catch: When it’s time to take your almond milk out of the freezer, thawed almond milk separates. Thus, your almond milk will taste off once you drink it, even when blended. However, it’s still possible to use thawed almond milk in baked or cooked dishes.
That said, all almond milk manufacturers do not recommend consumers freeze almond milk. According to brands like Almond Breeze and Silk Pure, while almond milk’s nutritional value would be impacted, the freezing and thawing create a nasty texture.
The same would happen to other kinds of non-dairy milk, such as soy and cashew milk. You can try freezing almond milk yourself to see the difference.
We saw a significant difference when thawing it when we tried freezing almond milk. Almond milk’s components separate, with the solids staying in the bottom while the liquid stays on top. Definitely not tasty or something we’d try.
You can try blending it, but it will have a foamier texture and not exactly like the almond milk you first bought. There’s still a slight texture change, but good enough compared to using straight-up thawed almond milk.
The Scientific Answer
What are the process behind almond milk’s texture and flavor changes when frozen?
Almond milk contains a suspension of small particles in a solution consisting of 88% water. The particles are minor components of almonds: cellulose, some fiber, proteins, and fat droplets.
All molecules will have a freezing point, which is when molecules harden and take on an organized and repeating structure.
Freezing points won’t all happen at the same temperatures. Water’s freezing point is higher compared to almond protein and fat.
When the temperature drops, water molecules start organizing themselves together, pushing other components towards the bottom.
The bottom part will dissolve into a fat layer, settling at the bottom since it is heavier compared to water. The fat layer will freeze eventually, which is why you’ll notice a color change in frozen almond milk.
The fats will gather together during the freezing process, taking on a yellowish tinge you can’t see when it’s suspended during the water phase.
Once you thaw almond milk, the separation remains visible. As a result, your thawed almond milk tastes hallow and has an uneven texture.
Stirring, blending, or vigorously shaking the thawed almond milk will help, as it can resuspend the proteins, lipids, and other components into the water, with the yellowness disappearing.
Store-bought almond milk may contain emulsifiers that help components recombine and reincorporate lipids after freezing. It’s also possible to freeze homemade almond milk, though you may want to add an emulsifier, such as sunflower lecithin.
But as mentioned, it may not work as well as the unfrozen almond milk you bought.
Top 3 Tips on Freezing Almond Milk
While we’re advised against freezing almond milk, there are times when we need to do so to avoid food wastage. Not to worry, as you can still use frozen almond milk.
Instead of drinking it, you can use frozen and thawed almond milk for your recipes. Once you blend your thawed frozen milk, the taste and texture change won’t matter much, if not ever. We like to use it in protein shakes and notice no difference.
So, how can you freeze almond milk? There are two ways to go about it, depending on the recipe you’ll do:
1. Use Ice Cube Trays
With this method, you just need an ice tray and your almond milk.
Pour the almond milk into your ice cube tray and place it in the freezer, just as you’d do with water. Once it has frozen solid, place the almond milk ice cubes in a container or freezer bag, then put that in the freezer, labeling it with the date and name.
Using the ice cube tray method makes it easier to thaw the exact amount of frozen almond milk you need. Make it easier by measuring the volume one ice cube holds to know how much to thaw for a recipe.
2. Use a Milk Storage Bag
This is another suitable freezing method as you get to see exactly how much almond milk you’ll freeze. Use suitable-sized milk storage bags and pour almond milk into them.
Label the bags and organize them properly in your freezer, then let them freeze on their own! Don’t overfill it as almond milk expands.
While it’s easier to defrost from the bag and gives you the exact measurements needed, it’s also more likely for the bag to spill out easily. Moreover, plastic bags aren’t exactly eco-friendly, and milk may break the bag after the liquid freezes.
3. Use Containers
This freezing method is easier than the first. You’ll just need to prepare the almond milk and airtight containers.
Portion the almond milk and pour it into your airtight container, pouring as much milk needed in one dish. That way, when you defrost the container, you can use it right away.
Don’t fill up the container to the brim and leave some headspace since the milk will expand when frozen. Then, label the containers and keep them in the freezer, having them stand upright.
You can use this method to freeze almond milk yogurt and other related food products, too.
You may also freeze your almond milk in its original and unopened carton if required. This minimizes its exposure to oxygen but may be unsafe as milk would expand!
We recommend using this method if you need large amounts of almond milk at a time.
How to Defrost Frozen Almond Milk
Now that you know how to freeze almond milk, how will you defrost it properly? Here are the methods to follow to defrost almond milk properly:
- The Fridge: We recommend this method the most, and even if it takes more time, it’s the safest. Simply place your frozen almond milk in the fridge overnight or a few hours, and it will turn into liquid come morning.
- Lukewarm Water: Place your freezer-safe container or freezer bag with almond milk cubes in a large bowl of lukewarm water. This speeds the process as water conducts heat even better than air. Do NOT use warm water, only use lukewarm or cold water for safety and efficiency.
- While Cooking: If you use frozen almond milk in a recipe you’ll cook on a stove, then you can skip the thawing process and add it right in. Just be sure to stir the almond milk well as it defrosts.
If you thawed the almond milk, then blend it for a few seconds and stir it well. Then, you can use it for whatever dish or drink you plan to prepare!
Note that after you defrost your milk, you need to use it within 1-2 days, preferably within the day you defrosted it. Also, you may refreeze almond milk, but it’s better to use all your thawed nut milk within the day.
What to Do with Defrosted Almond Milk
There are many things you can do with thawed almond milk! Here are a few suggestions:
- Almond milk coffee creamer or whitener (as long as you blend it beforehand)
- Baked goods for vegans
- Smoothies and shakes using frozen almond milk cubes
- Cooked delicious dishes such as curries or sauces
Wrapping It Up
While you can freeze fresh almond milk to extend its shelf life, it may not be the best idea. Unless you’re thawing almond milk properly for suitable recipes, we advise against it if you drink your lactose-free milk straight.
We hope we answered your question, “can you freeze almond milk?” No” that you’re familiar with the answer; follow the information we mentioned above to enjoy your vegan-friendly drink!
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