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. (1)
How long is almond milk good for?
Fresh or pasteurized almond milk, whether commercially packaged or made at home without aseptic conditions, has a relatively short shelf life.
When stored at room temperature, it typically remains fresh for only a few hours. However, refrigeration at temperatures between 4°C and 5°C extends its freshness, allowing it to stay usable for approximately 2 to 3 days.
In contrast, almond milk that has undergone pasteurization, aseptic packaging, and is stored under refrigeration conditions enjoys a significantly longer shelf life. It maintains its stability for a period ranging from 12 to 30 days.
Almond milk that undergoes ultra-pasteurization and is aseptically packaged, on the other hand, boasts a substantially extended shelf life. Even when stored at room temperature, this type of almond milk can remain fresh for an impressive duration of 90 to 170 days.
The shelf life of almond milk is influenced by various factors, including the quality of the raw materials used, the specific manufacturing process employed, and the stability of the emulsion created during production. (2)
Almond milk is a milky liquid created through the colloidal dispersion of water and powdered or pasted almonds. The typical preparation method involves soaking and grinding almonds with an ample amount of water.
Afterward, the liquid is obtained by filtering out the solids, and the concentration of solids may vary based on the ratio of nuts to water used.
In commercial processing, the resulting milky liquid is often subjected to high-pressure homogenization and pasteurization. These steps are taken to enhance stability and prolong the shelf life of the almond milk. (3)
The utilization of emerging process technologies in almond milk production has yielded several benefits. These advancements have led to improved emulsion stability, decreased particle size, inactivation of enzymes responsible for off-flavors, and reduced microbial contamination.
As a result, these innovative technologies play a vital role in enhancing the stability of almond milk. When combined with suitable packaging methods, they effectively extend the product’s shelf life, ensuring its quality and freshness over an extended period. (2)
If you detect a sour or rancid smell, observe a lumpy texture, notice mold growth or discolorations, or find the almond milk carton bloated, it is evident that the almond milk has spoiled and should not be consumed.
It’s crucial to understand that almond milk provides an environment conducive to the growth of both spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. Moreover, it contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are susceptible to oxidative and hydrolytic rancidity.
These conditions can lead to the production of unpleasant volatile compounds and off-flavors. Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution when consuming almond milk that has exceeded its shelf life or displays signs of spoilage. (4)
During the production of vegetable milks in standard processing facilities, thermal-based operations like pasteurization and ultra-high temperature treatment are employed to minimize or eliminate microbial activity.
However, great care is taken to optimize the time-temperature parameters to ensure the preservation of essential phytonutrients found in the milk. This meticulous approach allows for effective microbial control while safeguarding the nutritional integrity of the final product. (5)
How to store almond milk?
Almond milk can be stored similarly to oat and soy milk. It is available in both refrigerated and unrefrigerated forms.
After processing, almond milk is packaged based on distribution and storage requirements. Common packaging options include carton systems (such as Tetra Pak® multilayer boxes) or plastic bottles.
Unrefrigerated almond milk should be treated similarly to unrefrigerated coconut milk and dairy milk.
An unopened carton of unrefrigerated almond milk should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from heat sources like direct sunlight or stovetops. Suitable storage locations include pantry or kitchen cabinets. Once opened, the carton should be tightly sealed and refrigerated at all times.
Refrigerated almond milk should always be stored in the refrigerator. It is recommended to avoid keeping the almond milk carton in the fridge door as this area experiences the most temperature fluctuations.
Homemade almond milk lacks preservatives and must be refrigerated at all times to maintain its freshness. (2)
Almond milk can be safely frozen to prolong its shelf life, but it’s important to note that the texture may change upon thawing. Upon defrosting, the liquid and milk solids may separate, resulting in a different consistency.
Vegetable milks, including almond milk, are colloidal systems composed of dispersed particles such as oil droplets, solid particles from the raw materials, proteins, and starch granules.
This inherent composition makes it challenging to maintain a stable food product. Sedimentation and creaming can occur, which can affect the overall quality of the almond milk. (6)
What are the risks of drinking spoiled almond milk?
Almond milk, while nutritionally beneficial, creates an environment conducive to the growth of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms.
Consuming contaminated almond milk can lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a combination of these gastrointestinal issues.
These digestive problems are commonly associated with the presence of mycotoxins, which are harmful substances produced by molds. (2,4)
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.
- Petruzzi, L., Corbo, M. R., Sinigaglia, M., & Bevilacqua, A. Microbial Spoilage of Foods. The Microbiological Quality of Food, 1–21. 2017.
- Reyes-Jurado, F., et. al. Plant-Based Milk Alternatives: Types, Processes, Benefits, and Characteristics. Food Reviews International, 1–32, 2021
- Vanga SK, Raghavan V. How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk? J Food Sci Technol.;55(1):10-20.2018
- Nor Aishah Hassan. Almond milk production and study of quality characteristics Journal of Academia 2, 1-8, 2012
- Kehinde, B. A., Panghal, A., Garg, M. K., Sharma, P., & Chhikara, N. Vegetable milk as probiotic and prebiotic foods. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research. 2020.
- K. Briviba et al. Ultra high pressure homogenization of almond milk: Physico-chemical and physiological effects. Food Chemistry 192 82–89, 2016.