Milk is an everyday item that we all have in our fridges. However, since it is dairy, it seems to go off very quickly. Most milk is marked with an expiration date but is milk still good after the expiration date?
Unopened milk can stay fresh for 5-7 days after expiry, while opened milk can last 2-3 days after expiration.
We can’t stand drinking bad milk by accident; it’s so awful, so knowing when it has gone off without relying on the expiration date is important.
In this article, we will let you know how long milk is good for after its expiration date and show you how to tell when it has gone off.
Let’s get into it.
What Does An Expiration Date Mean?
When you look at the expiration dates on the milk, you will notice that there are two to three different dates for different purposes.[*]
- Best by/ Use by– This indicates when the product will be past its peak freshness, but it still may be safe to use.
- Sell by: This is for the grocery store’s use and shows how long they can keep the product on the shelf.
- Freeze by- This date may only be present on some products. It shows the best time to freeze the product to maintain its quality.
Expiration dates can’t be completely accurate because of storage and other circumstances that may change the shelf life.
Due to this fact, the expiration date is more of a guideline for dairy rather than a set-in-stone date that the milk will spoil.
How Long Does Milk Last After Sell By Date?
Milk can last 2-3 days after the expiry date if opened. If it remains sealed, it can last between 5-7 days.
The lifespan of milk depends on how you store it and may change from bottle to bottle.
This is why it is vital to know the signs that tell you whether milk is fresh.
Fresh milk will be:
1. Fresh, Creamy Smell
When you open the container, you will notice a pleasant, creamy scent that is very mild and subtle.
2. Thin Consistency
Even if you are dealing with full cream milk, it will be thin in consistency and easily pourable.
3. White to Cream in Color
This may vary from brand to brand and fat level, but milk should be white to slightly cream-colored.
4. Creamy Flavor
The flavor of fresh milk is creamy with minimal aftertaste.
How to Tell If Milk Is Bad
We know that drinking off milk is one of the most unpleasant food experiences.
Most milk you buy in the shop will be pasteurized, which kills off most bacteria. However, eventually, the bacteria will start to grow and multiply.
Luckily, milk makes it very obvious when it has gone off, and there are some obvious signs to look out for.
Off milk will be:
1. Rancid Smell
The first thing you notice when you open the bottle will be a very unpleasant rancid smell.
If your milk smells bad in any way, this is a sign that it has gone bad.
2. Thickened, Lumpy Consistency
The thing about off-milk that we particularly dislike is the change in texture.
Over time as it goes bad, the milk with thicken and curdle. This will cause lumps to float in the watery milk.
3. Yellow Color
Along with the thickening in texture, the color of your milk will also change.
It will change from white to a deep cream shade before turning yellow.
4. Sour Flavor
We know this isn’t very good, but the last way to tell if your milk has gone off is to taste it.
We only recommend tasting a small amount and only if it is not visibly off in any other way.
It will taste very sour and rancid.
What is the Best Way to Store Milk?
The best way to keep milk fresh is to store it correctly.
Milk should be stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
When using the milk, we suggest using it and replacing it in the fridge right away, as leaving it out will cause it to go bad faster.
Close the lid tightly between each use to ensure no external contaminants can make their way into the milk.
If your milk comes in a sachet, we suggest transferring it to a sealed jug to store in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Milk?
Freezing is a great way to save milk that might otherwise go to waste.
It can be frozen in a bottle or sachet or transferred to an airtight container.
Milk can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Can I drink expired milk if it doesn’t smell?
As we have indicated above, a bad smell is the quickest and easiest way to tell if your milk has gone off, so it is your best weapon in these circumstances.
If the milk doesn’t smell bad or look strange in consistency, it should be safe to drink.
Can you get sick from drinking spoiled milk?
If you taste a small amount of bad milk, you should be safe from any adverse effects.
However, if you consume a large amount of off milk, it can cause food poisoning. This will likely result in diarrhea and severe stomach cramps that last for around 24 hours.
What is the difference between sour milk and spoiled milk?
Sour milk is a product that has been created by acidifying fresh milk to produce a fresh, slightly sour flavor.
Spoiled milk will also be sour, but in a rancid way that is caused by bacteria growth.
Sour milk is safe to consume, while spoiled dairy will make you sick.
So, after learning all this about milk, what have we learned?
- Opened milk will last 2-3 days after expiration.
- Unopened milk will last 5-7 days after expiration.
- Milk should be kept in the fridge.
We hope this has prevented you from ever having to waste milk or experience off milk ever again.