Does Almond Milk Go Bad? Shelf Life of Almond Milk, Spoilage Signs, and Proper Storage Tips
Does almond milk go bad? Yes. Almond milk lasts a few days longer than fresh cow’s milk, but it can go bad. Discover how long before it spoils, and learn the signs of bad almond milk.
Almond milk is a tasty and nutritious non-dairy milk, loaded with nutrients and health benefits for you, which include:
- Lowering the risk of heart disease with its high vitamin E content
- Strengthening bones, with 45-51% of the RDI for calcium
No animal products are used in almond milk, making it perfect if you’re on a vegan diet, allergic to dairy products, or lactose intolerant.
Planning to buy or make your own almond milk? Know how long you can store it, as well as signs of spoilage and proper storage.
Almond Milk and the Ultra-Pasteurization Process
The almond milk you see in supermarkets are ultra-pasteurized. In this process, the milk is heated to 280°F for a few seconds, and good and bad bacteria are killed, prolonging shelf life.
Shelf-stable almond milk is also stored in a Tetra Pak carton to maintain room temperature while unopened.
Shelf Life of Almond Milk
The shelf life of almond milk depends on how you store it.
After opening, you should consume refrigerated almond milk within 7 days, while shelf-stable almond milk should be consumed within 7-10 days. Some almond milk, like Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze, do not contain preservatives, so keep them refrigerated after opening to prevent spoilage.
When stored at room temperature, an unopened carton of shelf-stable almond milk can last for 3-4 weeks after the use-by date. Its prolonged shelf life is due to its sterilization process. The product is heated and /or dried to destroy foodborne microorganisms that cause spoilage. It also uses aseptic carton packaging that is designed to prolong the shelf life of the almond milk for an extended period.
On the other hand, refrigerated, unopened regular almond milk can last for a week. The sterilization process is not as strong as a shelf-stable almond milk’s, so it lasts a couple weeks shorter.
Homemade Almond Milk
The shelf life of your almond milk depends on the almonds you use. Your homemade almond milk can last for 3-5 days when properly stored in an airtight pitcher in your fridge.
Signs of Almond Milk Spoilage
You can still drink or use almond milk after the use-by date. However, you should be wary of these signs of a spoiled nut milk:
- Sour taste
- Thicker texture
- Starts to clump
- Smells off
- Unusually bloated carton
- Color Changes
Is Curdling A Sign of Spoiled Almond Milk?
Not automatically. Curdling is actually normal for any almond milk! Lecithin, a stabilizer used to emulsify almond milk, makes the curdling of shelf-stable milk slower.
Effect of Spoiled Almond Milk
Just as with any other milk, you are prone to food poisoning if you drink spoiled almond milk. It may have fewer bacteria than dairy milk, but bacterial spores can still grow when the container is left open. This is why you should refrigerate almond milk and observe hygienic handling.
How to Properly Store Almond Milk
To keep your almond milk fresh and prolong its shelf life, keep these reminders in mind:
- Store opened, shelf-stable almond milk in the main body or in the back of the fridge, where the temperature is coldest and most stable, rather than on the back of the door.
- Store unopened, shelf-stable almond milk in your cabinet, unrefrigerated, until the best-by date on the milk carton. Refrigerate it as soon as you open it to prevent spoilage.
- For homemade almond milk, rinse almonds very well. Store them in an airtight container to prevent bacteria from creeping in.
- Always return your almond milk carton or container to the fridge after using it.
It’s best to consume your stock of almond milk as soon as you purchase to prevent it spoiling. That would be a shame because almond milk is so good!
Need some almond milk recipes? Try my Chocolate Banana Smoothie with Goji Berries. You can also use almond milk as an alternative to coconut milk when making a creamy mushroom pasta or in a Thai red curry dish. It has the same creamy texture but with a hint of nutty flavor.