Almond milk is one of the most popular non-dairy milk. It is mainly preferred by vegetarians and those who avoid dairy milk.
If that includes you, keeping some cartons in your pantry seems reasonable to do. But, how long is almond milk good for? Does almond milk go bad?
Or, you just incidentally opened a new pack while a half full of almond milk is tucked in the back of the fridge? How long can almond milk be kept refrigerated?
Either way, you must want to know more about the food items that you consume regularly. Go through this article to find useful knowledge on almond milk’s shelf life, storage methods, and common signs of almond milk going bad.
How To Store Almond Milk
It is relatively easy to get almond milk in your local stores. You can find it both on an unrefrigerated and refrigerated shelf.
The ideal storage conditions are generally similar to storing soy milk or other kinds of milk. If you’re confused about how you should store almond milk at home, the simple rule is to follow how it is displayed in the store. It means, for refrigerated almond milk, you should always keep it chilled—before and after opening.
Unrefrigerated almond milk is shelf-stable and doesn’t need refrigeration as long as it is unopened. You can safely keep it in a cool, dry area, away from sources of heat or sunlight. Like other packaged foods, your pantry is a perfect place. But, a kitchen cupboard or cabinet will do the job too.
Both varieties need to stay refrigerated after opening. The same rule applies to homemade almond milk. Don’t forget to close it tightly after use.
Almond milk (unsweetened and sweetened) is a perishable food item. It spoils quickly at a warm temperature. Pick a spot that has a steady temperature, like the back of the fridge.
Your fridge door isn’t an ideal place to keep it (and other kinds of milk too). The temperature fluctuates considerably, especially if you open it a hundred times a day.
Next to that, practicing good hygiene helps to keep your supply fresh and last longer. Drinking from glass is preferable than straight from the package.
The latter allows bacteria from your mouth to transfer into the packaging. If that happens, your almond milk will spoil much sooner.
See more: Can you freeze almond milk?
How To Tell If Almond Milk Has Gone Bad
General symptoms of almond milk going off is similar to cow’s milk or other kinds of milk.
If you see a bloated or swollen carton, that’s a tell-tale sign that almond milk is not safe for consumption. Bacterial colonies in the packaging cause the bloating by releasing gas that can’t escape the carton.
Almond milk is usually white, smooth, and creamy with a nutty smell. If you notice any unusual changes in texture, smell, or taste, be alarmed. If it smells and tastes sour—like milk going bad—discard any leftovers.
Curdled, slimy, or discolored liquid are other symptoms you need to be aware of. The same goes for molds on the mouth of the carton.
It is considered a regular occurrence to find your milk separating. This also happens with defrosted milk. Unless other spoilage signs are seen, try to shake it up. It should gain back its consistency. If not, maybe better to stay on the safe side.
How Long Does Almond Milk Last?
Almond milk is perishable and susceptible to microbial contamination. Without proper refrigeration, it goes bad at a faster rate.
Any commercially-prepared almond milk comes with an expiration date. A shelf-stable or unrefrigerated milk is stamped with a “best by” or “best before” date and time. Meanwhile, the refrigerated pack usually has a “use-by” date. The best advice is, of course, to consume the milk before this date to get the maximum quality.
However, there are times when we buy too many, and some have passed the date. So, can you drink expired almond milk?
Be rest assured that, generally, packaged food stays safe to consume beyond this date. But, you still need to do your job to give it proper storage and check for signs of spoilage. Try not to keep it not too long after its expiration date for safety reasons.
Unrefrigerated almond milk is the most stable product, and you can expect it to last for a couple of weeks after the best by date. But, the refrigerated one can only stay for a maximum of one week after its use-by date. After opening, try to empty the box within a week.
Homemade almond milk doesn’t keep well and should be used within 3 to 5 days.
|Almond Milk Types||Pantry||Refrigerator|
|Unrefrigerated pack (unopened)||Best by date + 2 to 4 weeks||–|
|Unrefrigerated pack (opened)||–||7 to 10 days|
|Refrigerated pack (unopened)||–||Use by date + 5 to 7 days|
|Refrigerated pack (opened)||–||5 to 7 days|
|Homemade||–||3 to 5 days|
This table is a general estimate. The real shelf life largely depends on the preparation methods and storage conditions.
Temperature plays a crucial role in preserving almond milk. Room temperature is favorable for microbial growth. For refrigerated packs and homemade varieties, they should always be kept refrigerated. After opening, both varieties need to stay in the fridge.
As with other perishable foods, don’t leave almond milk for more than 2 hours at room temperature. If you’re in doubt, check if it has spoiled using the guideline in this article.
A controversial topic to talk about—some major producers (such as Silk and Blue Diamonds) are against the idea of freezing their products. Although safety aspects are not of concern, the quality will considerably change (particularly the texture). The liquid tends to separate after thawing and makes it less desirable.
If you don’t mind with the altered texture or minor change in taste, go ahead and freeze your almond milk. It may be better to use it in frozen desserts, smoothies, or cooked dish, instead of for drinking.
Similar to other liquid, freezing almond milk in ice cubes trays works very well. Once frozen, place the cubes into a freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty plastic bag. This simple tip will make your life easier when you only need just a small amount of it.
Pasteurization is a standard sterilization method in the commercial production of milk and beverages, including almond milk.
Almond milk is a healthy option for plant-based milk. Like other foods, almond milk also goes bad. The common symptoms of spoilage are similar to milk going bad, such as curdled liquid, off-smell, and sour taste.
Shelf-stable almond milk is the most stable variant. It can be kept at room temperature before opening. Meanwhile, refrigerated and homemade almond milk needs to stay refrigerated.
Drink it within 5 to 10 days after opening and 3 to 5 days for homemade almond milk. If anything goes off before this time frame, toss out any leftovers.
Up Next: Does Almond Flour Go Bad?
*Photo by I_ing/depositphotos