- While you can make almond milk at home, you can also go for store-bought almond milk that comes in different forms – shelf-stable and refrigerated.
- Once you open almond milk, refrigerate it to avoid spoiling and potential health issues.
- Always check labels on the store-bought almond milk for information on the freshness and quality.
- Don’t leave almond milk out longer than 2 hours because room temperature can affect its freshness.
Almond milk is increasingly popular as many people use it as a dairy-free alternative. It has a creamy structure and nutty flavor, and it’s lactose-free, making it perfect for people following a healthy lifestyle. You can use almond milk to make morning smoothies and lattes and even bake with it. The possibilities are endless.
The positive characteristics of almond milk make it very popular among consumers, the only drawback being the relatively short shelf life. How long can almond milk sit out is a must-know to preserve its quality and safeguard your health. Let’s learn everything about almond milk’s shelf life, the factors that influence its longevity, proper storage methods and signs of spoilage.
Almond Milk Shelf Life Basics
Before we learn how long does it take for almond milk to go bad, let’s take a closer look at the shelf life generally. Shelf life is the period when it’s safe to use a product, keeping its characteristics and quality. In the case of almond milk, it has a specific nutty flavor and creamy structure.
People today are increasingly aware of the importance of food quality and shelf life by checking it before buying a product. Research shows that food safety awareness grows with age, and education and the product’s longevity is a decisive factor in buying it.
Store-Bought Almond Milk
Although they can make it at home, people usually buy almond milk from the markets. Store-bought almond milk comes in different forms – shelf-stable and refrigerated. An unopened, shelf-stable almond milk can have a shelf life of several months to a year. Still, you should check the “best by” date to know exactly how long can almond milk sit out.
Labels like “expiration date” and “best by” are there to inform the consumer about the product’s freshness and safety. “Expiration dates” tell when is the last date when the product is safe for consumption, and “best by” and “use by” labels indicate the period of time during which the product has the best quality.
Almond milk’s shelf life greatly depends on its storage. Studies have shown that following recommended storage conditions can considerably prolong the shelf life of a product. Such conditions include keeping the product in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. In this way, complying with recommended storage conditions also reduces food waste.
Refrigeration and Temperature Control
Refrigeration plays a crucial role in preserving the quality of almond milk. People using almond milk in their daily diet need to be aware that refrigeration is essential once the carton is open to prevent spoilage of the milk.
Store almond milk within a certain temperature range to keep it safe for a longer time. FDA recommends that the ideal temperature for food storage is at or below 40°F, and the freezer temperature should be at 0°F. Keeping food this way stops bacteria growth and extends the shelf life of products.
You risk the safety of almond milk if you expose it to temperatures outside the safe range. That can lead to bacteria growth and cause spoilage. Refrigerating food and being informed about how long can almond milk sit out is crucial to avoid food poisoning.
Almond Milk After Opening
After the carton of almond milk is open, the period during which it is safe for consumption depends on various factors like temperature control, light and exposure to contaminants. Make sure you refrigerate the almond milk after opening it to keep the good quality.
Once opened, there are certain rules on how long can almond milk sit out unrefrigerated, considering different factors. An unopened and unrefrigerated almond milk can last a month in the pantry. However, unopened almond milk can stay 7-10 days past the printed date in the fridge.
Food safety greatly depends on the consumer’s behavior. Many consumers disregard recommended storage conditions and consumption timelines, exposing themselves to food-related risks.
Room Temperature Storage
Storing almond milk at room temperature poses a health risk, so do learn how long can almond milk sit out unrefrigerated. Some almond milk varieties can be left at room temperature after opening, but this practice has limitations and consequences.
The safe time we can leave almond milk out is 2 hours. Experts say that there is a direct connection between ambient temperature and foodborne illness. They are caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or beverages.
Signs of Spoilage
People who drink almond milk should know how long does it take for milk to spoil. The most important characteristics of spoiled almond milk that we need to check are:
- Bloated or leaky package
- Unusual texture
- Bad smell
- Bad taste
These signs of almond milk spoilage help consumers detect safety risks on time to prevent food-related health problems. Thus, sensory evaluation is crucial to food safety as people see, taste, smell and feel the texture.
Homemade Almond Milk
Homemade almond milk is an excellent choice for people who want to enjoy a great taste of something fresh and healthy. However, homemade almond milk’s shelf life is shorter than the commercial options. There are refrigerated and frozen storage options that help maximize the shelf life of almond milk.
One way to freeze almond milk is by pouring it into ice cube trays and then transferring the cubes into plastic bags. You can even make almond milk popsicles. Refrigerated, homemade almond milk can last for 3 to 5 days.
Plant-based milk is gaining popularity, with an increase of 3% of consumers making homemade almond milk. Factors influencing this growth include a more lactose-intolerant population, increased heart disorders, obesity and others. All these conditions require a plant-based diet.
Extending Shelf Life
Using almond milk in your everyday diet requires knowing how to extend almond milk’s shelf life. One way is by freezing almond milk in ice cube trays to ensure freshness. Simply pour the milk into a plastic container or a freezing bag. Make sure you leave ½ inch of headspace in the container since the milk expands while freezing. Freezing effectively preserves the quality of products and is a valuable option for storing food.
Freezing not only keeps food from spoilage, but also keeps its nutrients. This is the case with fruit and vegetables. Fresh fruit and vegetables can take many days to reach the supermarkets, and during that time, a lot of vitamins and minerals can be lost. Freezing them soon after harvesting means they have more nutrients than “fresh ones.”
Food Safety and Consumption Practices
Food safety practices provide certain food safety tips and recommendations that need to be followed, including:
- Wash your hands before eating or preparing food
- Wash your hands after handling meat or fish
- Use different cutting boards for meat and vegetables
- Sanitize your kitchen
- Wash fresh fruit and vegetables before using them
Food safety practices are imperative for good health. Unsafe food containing bacteria, parasites and viruses can cause many different diseases that affect everyone, especially children. The purpose of food is to provide nutrients to heal the body, which is why food safety practices are of great importance.
Food is essential, but being informed on how long can almond milk sit out is also important to help us keep its quality and save our health. Our dietary decisions influence our complete well-being, energy and vitality.
Appropriate storage of almond milk will prolong its shelf life considerably. Consumers opting for plant-based milk must have all the important information on the positive aspects this milk can have on their health. However, keep in mind that this milk has a shorter shelf life than other milk, so store it properly to enjoy its rich taste and flavor.