You might often wonder at some queries regarding almond milk, namely-Does almond milk need refrigeration? How long does almond milk last in the fridge? Does almond milk go bad?
As an expert chef, I had to deal with almond milk often and try to get why leaving almond milk out overnight go bad soon. Today I will provide all answers about refrigeration, shelf life, spoilage of almond milk.
Does almond milk go bad?
Yes, almond milk goes bad if you don’t store it properly. The shelf life of almond milk depends on many factors like storage method, storage device, temperature, air, light, and how you use it.
In the case of homemade almond milk, you might sit your almond milk out of the fridge for 4 hours, 5 hours, or overnight after extraction. When it leaves out at room temperature, harmful bacteria grows fast for warm temperature, air, or light and spoil it gradually.
if you preserve almond milk for more extended periods in the fridge namely weeks after weeks, It could also contaminate gradually as refrigerating process slows down the bacterial growth, not killing the bacteria or not inactive them at all.
In the case of, shelf-stable almond milk, if you don’t store opened almond milk carton in the fridge after every use, it goes bad soon. If you buy Store-bought refrigerated almond milk and don’t refrigerate it at home at the same temperature as the store does, it could expire soon.
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Does almond milk need to be refrigerated?
Yes, almond milk needs to be refrigerated. Unknowingly, you might sit out your almond milk overnight or leave almond milk out of the fridge for up to 4-5 hours. But, you shouldn’t do that. Almond milk is perishable non-dairy milk and can go bad at room temperature.
According to USDA– all perishable foods may spoil within 2 hours if it leaves out of the fridge or at room temperature between 40° F- 140°F. At these temperatures, two types of bacteria namely pathogens bacteria and spoilage bacteria may grow fast and may spoil your almond milk soon.
Pathogens bacteria can cause several food-borne illnesses and spoilage bacteria can degrade the color, texture, quality, and nutrients of almond milk. An ideal refrigerator’s temperature is between 35° F- 38°F and at this temperature, bacteria grow much slower than the pantry.
When you refrigerate homemade almond milk immediately after extraction without leaving it out overnight, it slows down microbial growth and keeps your almond milk fresh for certain periods. Note that, you can store almond milk in the fridge for a very short time.
After those periods, it will be contaminated gradually and expired soon. But, the good news is you can keep your homemade almond milk for more extended periods if you freeze it properly.
If you buy store-bought shelf-stable almond milk, you need to refrigerate the pack of almond milk when you open it once.
Otherwise, you can preserve it in the pantry or at room temperature until the best-by date or expiration date. Most of the manufactured almond milk is pasteurized and also used preservatives for getting longevity at room temperature.
When you open it, the milk comes in contact with air, heat, and light which are responsible for degrading the shelf life of almond milk. That’s why; opened shelf-stable almond milk is needed to be refrigerated after every use for short periods.
Getting more extended periods, you can freeze opened shelf-stable almond milk.
To refrigerate almond milk properly, make sure you pour it into a mason jar leaving 1 or 2 inches of space from the top, seal it tight and preserve the jar in the sealed crisper drawer of your fridge.
Remember, don’t keep the jar at the door of the fridge, and don’t open the fridge frequently.
Shelf-stable almond milk vs. refrigerated:
You may get two types of almond milk on the market namely shelf-stable almond milk and refrigerated almond milk. Shelf-stable almond milk is processed milk with high heat which we call the pasteurization process.
Manufacturers give high heat at a certain time in almond milk to stop microbial growth. This process increases the shelf life of almond milk at room temperature when you keep the carton or packaging unopened.
Shelf-stable almond milk has a much longer shelf life in the pantry if it is unopened. On the other hand, unpasteurized almond milk should be refrigerated all the time. In this process, microbial growth slows down but does not stop fully.
You can’t store unpasteurized almond milk at room temperature for more than two hours. If you leave almond milk out of the fridge overnight, it will spoil and make you sick if you drink it.
You can store unopened unpasteurized almond milk cartons in the fridge for up to use by date. Once opened, you can preserve it for 5-7 days.
How long can almond milk last in the fridge?
You should not store homemade almond milk for more than 2 hours in the pantry but Homemade almond milk can last in the fridge for up to 4-7 days.
Whereas, unopened shelf-stable almond milk can last for up to 2-3 months at room temperature. Once opened, you can store it in the fridge for up to 7-10 days.
Preserve the store-bought unopened refrigerated almond milk 5 or 7 days after use-by date. But, opened unpasteurized/refrigerated almond milk lasts for up to 7-10 days in the fridge.
How to tell if almond milk is bad?
How to know if your almond milk is bad? Well- it is not that easy to tell. But, you have to notice some obvious signs to tell whether your almond milk is gone bad or not.
- Smell it if you get tart or foul smell, chances it is gone bad.
- Pour some almond milk with coffee if it tastes a bit sour, it is an indication of expired almond milk.
- Take your almond milk carton out of the fridge and notice whether it is thickened or not. If it is curdled, it could be spoiled already.
- If the store-bought almond milk carton is unopened but unusually gets bloated, chances are that it starts fermenting and goes bad gradually.
- See the use-by date of store-bought almond milk. If it has already passed, you can use it for 5-7 days. After those periods, it will start fermentation, and expire soon. Before drinking almond milk after the expiration date, check its smells, flavor, and texture. If you get any bad signs, discard them right away.
What happens if you drink bad almond milk?
Like any type of expired milk like cow’s milk, oat milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, and soy milk if you drink spoiled almond milk, you could suffer from food poisoning. It can lead to vomiting, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
When pathogen bacteria grow in almond milk, they contaminate it and spoil your almond milk soon. These types of bacteria are largely responsible for various food-borne illnesses.
What to do with expired almond milk?
Old almond milk is not always thoroughly harmful. But, Can you use expired almond milk? Yes, you can use expired almond milk to make pancakes, baked muffins, and other baking things.