Can almond milk go bad in the fridge?

In this concise guide, we will answer the query, “Can almond milk go bad in the fridge?” We will also discuss the storage duration of almond milk, what makes almond milk go bad in the fridge and how to know if your milk is bad.

Can almond milk go bad in the fridge?

Yes, almond milk can go bad in the fridge. Microorganisms and other spoilage factors like oxygen and humidity cause food spoilage. In the fridge, this process is usually slowed down to a great extent, but not completely prevented. 

However, depending on the state of your almond milk, the time it takes for the milk to go bad may differ. 

What is the storage duration of almond milk?

Below is the storage duration of almond milk depending on their conditions:

ConditionStorageDuration
Shelf-stable (opened)Pantry4 to 7 days
Shelf-stable (opened)Fridge7 to 10 days
Shelf-stable (unopened)PantryBest by date + 1 month
Refrigerated (opened)Fridge4 to 7 days
Refrigerated (unopened)FridgeUse by date + 5 – 7 days
HomemadePantryLess than 2 days
HomemadeFridge3 – 4 days

Your almond milk does not have to go bad for you to discard it. Consider discarding the milk if you keep it for much longer than you should. You should also check the packaging for the use-by or best-by date printed on it.

What makes almond milk go bad in the fridge?

What makes almond milk go bad includes several factors. They are;

  • Microorganisms
  • Oxygen
  • Temperature

Microorganisms

Microorganisms are tiny single-celled organisms. They are so small that they can’t be seen with naked eyes and require a microscope – hence the name. Microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi (mostly molds and yeasts) are responsible for microbial food spoilage.

Being ubiquitous, they can get into your milk during production, packaging, or while using the product. Once inside your milk, they begin to multiply in it, releasing chemicals that alter the color, texture and odor of your almond milk. Eventually, the milk goes bad. 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, microbial food spoilage constitutes a huge financial burden, with an annual cost of over one billion tons. Imagine something so little causing such havoc!

If you buy your almond milk from the store, it has likely been pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process in which milk or milk products are moderately treated with heat, typically around 167 °F for 15s, to kill microorganisms, thus extending their shelf life.

However, pasteurization does not completely kill the microorganisms, as some still remain in the milk product and eventually contribute to it going bad.

Oxygen

Many of the food-spoilage microorganisms are aerobic, that is they require oxygen to live. Therefore, the presence of oxygen encourages their growth and makes your milk go bad. That is likely why opened milk goes bad faster than an unopened one, even in the fridge.

Oxidative spoilage is the main cause of quality loss in foods rich in fats, such as milk. These fats are oxidized in the presence of oxygen to release short-chain carbon compounds that have very unpleasant odors and flavors. Remember that smell of spoilt milk?

To prevent oxidative spoilage, most food products come in sealed air-tight packages. So you can keep your homemade milk in similar containers to make it last longer

Temperature

When temperatures are not properly controlled, food can spoil. For example, for every 18°F rise in temperature within the moderate temperature range where most food is handled (50°F to 100°F), the rate of a chemical reaction is approximately doubled, resulting in browning and foul odors. Food can spoil faster if temperatures are not adequately managed. 

Therefore, reducing temperature will reduce the rate at which chemical reactions that make food go bad occur. But this does not mean that your almond milk will not go bad, only that it might take longer to spoil.

How to know if your almond milk is bad?

This is how you can check if your almond milk has gone bad

  • Inspect the container. Discard the milk if the container is swollen, puffy, or leaking. Although the dairy-free milk may not have gone bad, it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Examine the milk for any black spots or discolourations (which might indicate molds), as well as whether it’s sticky or lumpy.
  • Smell it: Almond milk should smell nutty and fresh; if it smells sour, stale, or “strange,” it’s time to throw it out.
  • Take a little sip if everything appears to be alright up to this point. Pour your almond milk down the drain if it tastes sour or odd in any way. Otherwise, decide whether it tastes good enough to use.
  •  Keep in mind the expiration date

Conclusion

In this concise guide, we have answered the query, “Can almond milk go bad in the fridge?” We have also discussed the storage duration of almond milk, what makes almond milk go bad in the fridge and how to know if your milk is bad.

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Citation

Microbial Spoilage of Foods: Fundamentals – ScienceDirect

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.