Who can drink almond milk? Whether you are allergic to dairy products, looking forward to following a vegan lifestyle or you are in search of low cholesterol contained milk, almond milk is a healthy option for all of you.
Making almond milk last longer is necessary for consumers as well as producers. The storage life of almond milk depends on various factors like its packaging, ingredients and formulation used in it, processing, pasteurization, contamination and storage conditions, etc.
Shelf Life of Unopened Almond Milk
As we discussed above, the type of almond milk(homemade, commercial, shelf-stable), brand and pasteurization process are responsible for shelf life of unopened almond milk.
Unopened shelf-stable almond milk: Unopened shelf-stable almond milk is a type of almond milk which goes through pasteurization under ultra-high temperature. You don’t need to refrigerate this type of milk as it allows you to store it at room temperature.The shelf life of this milk is up to several months or a year. That’s why it is known as “long-life” almond milk.
Unopened refrigerated almond milk: This type of almond milk may last up to 7 to 10 days only.
Signs of Spoilage
Unpleasant odor: Almond milk usually gives you a subtle aroma which is reminiscent of nuts. If you are getting a strange smell then you can consider it as spoiled.
Bloated carton: Plumpy and bloated unopened carton can give you a sign of its spoilage.
Molds: If you notice any mold spots in almond milk means molds are grown inside your milk container which is the sign of spoilage.
Unusual appearance: If you find strange texture, unusual consistency, lumps or curdling, it gets spoiled.
Unpleasant/Sour taste: It tastes sour or funky means it is spoiled.
Unusual Color: If there is a change in color it goes bad.
How to Store Almond Milk Properly?
There are different storage practices for refrigerated almond milk and shelf-stable almond milk with respect to temperature, container and location.
Shelf-stable almond milk: Dark place is the right place to store almond milk. Exposure to sunlight should be prevented. It should not come in contact with moisture as it may impact its storage life. So, make sure that packaging remains dry. Choose a container made out of glass, plastic or BPA-free bottles with secure lead.
Refrigerated almond milk: Avoid choosing a refrigerator’s door to store almond milk as it may be subject to temperature fluctuation. Almond milk stays safe on the refrigerator shelf. Opt for a container such as glass and plastic or BPA-free bottles. Store it at 35-40°F (1-4°C) temperature in the refrigerator.
Why the Shelf Life of Shelf-stable Almond Milk is Longer as Compared to Refrigerated Almond Milk?
The reason behind the longer shelf life of shelf-stable milk is UHT(Ultra high temperature) pasteurization. What is UHT pasteurization? UHT pasteurization method is used in processing shelf-stable milk. During this process, Producers heat almond milk around 280°F or 138°C temperature for a few seconds. This process helps to get rid of harmful bacterias, molds, and yeast which can spoil the almond milk.
The shelf life of refrigerated almond milk is shorter because standard pasteurization allows it to heat under temperature around 161°F or 72°C which is lower as compared to UHT pasteurization.
Benefits and Drawbacks Shelf Stable and Refrigerated Almond Milk
Shelf Life: Shelf-stable almond milk has a longer shelf life as it undergoes UHT pasteurization where refrigerated almond milk has a shorter shelf life.
Freshness and taste: Refrigerated almond milk gives a fresh and complete nutty taste while shelf-stable almond gives slightly different taste.
Can You Freeze Almond Milk?
Are you thinking of freezing the almond milk? But, You are unsure about whether it is safe. The answer is yes. It is safe to freeze it. But, after freezing you may notice the shift in taste and flavor as it gets separate. You should blend it properly before using it.
Guidelines to Freeze and Thaw the Almond Milk—freezing
To freeze the almond milk opt for a freezer-size, airtight container or ice-cube tray. Blend the milk properly as it gets separate after freezing.Place the milk in a container and place it in a freezer overnight.
Take the almond milk from freezer and place it in freeze
overnight and allow it to thaw. Blend the milk properly once you take it off from the fridge. This will allow milk to retain its flavor and texture.
How to Prolong Freshness in Almond Oil?
Place the unopened refrigerated almond oil on the shelf of the refrigerator at a consistent temperature around 35-40°F (1-4°C) .Prevent shelf-stable almond milk from sunlight and store it in a dark, dry place to retain its freshness and extend its lifespan. Make sure that the container you have used to store milk is airtight. You can also opt for freezing to extend its lifespan.
Shelf Life of Homemade Almond Milk
The shelf life of homemade milk is 3 to 5 days which is shorter than store-bought almond milk. This is because homemade juice is additive free and does not involve any pasteurization method. Homemade milk is full of nutrients and cream so it is a healthier option compared to store-bought milk.
In short, The shelf life of almond milk varies with its type, brand, processing methods and storage methods. It is important to store the almond milk with respect to their types and processing method. Also, checking its taste, smell and texture regularly is a good idea to monitor its freshness.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, If you leave it at room temperature for a long period of time, it gets spoiled.
Not always. Sometimes producers add preservatives in almond milk extend its shelf life.
You can use a proper storage method with respect to its type and make it last longer.
Unpleasant odor, strange texture, molds and sour taste are signs of its spoilage.