When it comes to this popular non-dairy type of milk, a lot of people wonder if it can go bad.
Say you have a carton of almond milk in the pantry sitting for days, or a half-open one in the fridge for a few days. Can you use them? Can almond milk spoil as quickly as other milk?
Here’s everything you need to know about almond milk, including its shelf life, proper storage, and signs that it should be discarded.
What Is Almond Milk?
It’s a type of milk with its main ingredients being water and ground almonds. Most of us buy it premade, but it can also be made at home.
Water and almonds are blended during processing and then strained so that pulp can be removed. As a result, a smooth liquid is created.
Most types of commercial almond milk contain flavorings, preservatives, and thickeners to improve taste, shelf life, and texture.
It’s non-dairy milk, so it’s suitable for people with lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, and vegans.
Does Almond Milk Go Bad?
The answer is yes, it can. This non-diary milk is packed with important nutrients for your health, but you should know when it’s time to throw it in the trash.
Almond milk sold in supermarkets goes through the process called ultra-pasteurization. A few seconds of 280°F is enough to rid it from bad and good bacteria. This, in turn, prolongs its shelf life.
Even though it may have a prolonged shelf life, it can still turn bad after a certain period.
Shelf Life of Almond Milk
The shelf-life of this nutritious milk depends on whether you keep it opened or unopened, refrigerated or at room temperature.
- If it’s unopened and kept at room temperature, shelf-stable milk can last for up to four weeks after the best-by date on the label. The prolonged shelf life of almond milk is thanks to its sterilization process which kills foodborne microorganisms that can spoil it. The aseptic carton packaging further prolongs its shelf life.
- If regular almond milk is unopened and refrigerated, it can last for a week. That’s because the sterilization process of regular almond milk is not as strong as the shelf-stable variety.
- If your refrigerated almond milk is opened, it can last up to a week. If it’s shelf-stable milk, it can last up to 10 days.
- Types of almond milk that are free from preservatives should be refrigerated after opening.
- When it comes to homemade almond milk, the shelf life would depend on the almonds used. If you store it in an airtight pitcher in the fridge, it can last for three to five days.
Signs Almond Milk Has Gone Bad
If your almond milk is unopened and packed in a carton, check if the carton is bloated. If it’s weirdly bloated, the milk is most likely spoiled and you should discard it.
If the milk is opened, check out the smell and color. If you notice any changes, such as smelling like sour milk, the milk has turned bad. Color changes are easier to notice.
Another factor to check out is the milk consistency. If it’s curdled or has any thick parts, do not use it.
Last but not least, you may want to check out the taste. If it tastes weird or sour, it’s best to discard it.
A lot of people wonder if almond milk is spoiled if it separates or curdles. The answer is no, it’s not. Curdling is a natural process of almond milk and not a sign of spoilage.
Generally, these are the signs of almond milk that has turned bad:
- Unusually bloated carton
- Smells funky
- Color changes
- Thicker consistency
- Sour taste
- Starts to clump
If you notice any of these signs of spoilage, be sure to discard your almond milk.
What Happens If You Consume Spoiled Almond Milk?
If you consume spoiled milk, whether that’s almond milk or cow’s milk, you may get food poisoning. Consuming larger quantities of spoiled milk can cause stomach pain, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea.
Even though it may contain fewer bacteria than cow’s or dairy milk, almond milk may still grow bacterial spores if left opened. For that reason, you should keep it in the refrigerator.
What’s The Best Way to Store Almond Milk?
Here are a few things to keep in mind to prolong the shelf life of almond milk and keep it fresh for longer:
- If you have shelf-stable almond milk, tuck it away in the back of the fridge after opening. The temperature in this part of the fridge is most stable and coldest, so avoid storing it on the back of the door where the temperature fluctuates.
- If your shelf-stable almond milk is unopened, keep it in your cabinet or out of the fridge until the use-by date on the label. Once you open it, refrigerate it to prevent it from turning bad.
- If you plan to make homemade almond milk, make sure you rinse almonds well and keep them in an airtight container. This will prevent bacteria from entering and spoiling the milk.
- Put your milk container or carton back in the fridge after every use.
These tips will help keep your almond milk fresh for longer. However, try to use it as soon as you buy it to avoid wasting this nutritious milk.
Almond milk is an incredibly nutritious, non-dairy milk that’s made with ground almonds and water. However, as any other milk, it can go bad, though not as quickly as cow’s milk.
Still, the best way to store it and have it fresh for longer is to keep it in the back of the fridge after opening. If it’s unopened, keep it in your cabinet until the use-by date labeled on the packaging.
If you notice your almond milk starts to smell or taste funky, changes its color, or starts to clump and thicken, discard it. Do not drink spoiled almond milk as you may get food poisoning.