Can almond milk go bad?
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can almond milk go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not almond milk goes bad. Moreover, we are going to discuss the shelf life of almond milk.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
Can almond milk go bad?
Yes, like all other food items almond milk also goes bad after a certain time, and afterward, it not only develops off-flavors and off-smell but its texture also changes, and in rare cases, you can also spot a mold or organic growth within your almond milk.
In recent years, consumers migrated from soymilk to other dairy alternatives such as almond milk and coconut milk due to taste, health concerns and calories. It is estimated that sales of soymilk in the U.S. declined 5.8% from $981 million in 2009 to $924 million in 2010, and another 8.5% in 2010 reaching $846 million in 2011. In 2012, almond milk overtook soymilk and has become America’s most popular plant-based milk alternative accounting for 4.1% of total milk sales (1).
It is worth mentioning that you should not confuse the “best by” or “best before” date with the “expiration date” as the “best by” or “best before” date that is written on the carton of almond milk refers to the quality rather than safety so almond milk doesn’t necessarily go bad immediately after the best before date (7). Conventional thermal food processing methods extend shelf life of foods and beverages and determine how long they can be stored without significant nutritional or sensorial changes. Changes during storage can occur on the color, taste, texture and vitamin content of the milk. Oxidation of fatty acids and microbiological growth can achieve high levels after 7 days of storage (3).
This date refers to the time during which you can enjoy the peak quality and flavor of almond milk but you can still use almond milk that is past this date as long as it was stored properly, there is no leakage in the carton and no signs of mold are present.
You should consider the texture, smell, appearance, and taste of the almond milk to pass a verdict of whether or not it has gone bad (6).
- If the almond milk is curdled or has lumps present in it, then it is an indication of bad almond milk and you should get rid of it.
- If you smell something foul or sour while taking a sniff test then it is an indication that the almond milk has gone bad and the best thing to do is to discard it.
- Almond milk has a nutty aroma to it, the absence of the nutty aroma is the indication that your almond milk is past its prime age.
- If you spot a mold or any other organic growth in your almond milk carton (it is a really rare phenomenon), then the best thing you can do is to get rid of this almond milk as it is an indication of bad almond milk and if you consume such almond milk, it can cause many foodborne illnesses including food poisoning that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and sometimes even fever.
- If you notice a sour or slightly bitter taste after taking a little sip of milk then it is the indication that the almond milk has gone bad.
If you have consumed bad almond milk in a large amount then it can cause severe gastrointestinal issues including diarrhea and vomiting. In this scenario not only you should seek medical help but you should also drink plenty of water to compensate for the water loss that your body is facing owing to diarrhea and vomiting. If you do not drink plenty of water then it will result in electrolyte imbalance in your body that can cause dizziness, weakness and can even lead to shock in severe but rare cases.
Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.
How long does a carton of coconut milk last?
How to tell if almond milk is bad?
How long does almond milk last?
Shelf-stable almond milk
Shelf-stable or the almond milk that is sold unrefrigerated lasts for about 1-2 months past its “best before” date, if it is still unopened and stored in a cool, dry and dark corner of your pantry away from direct sunlight and heat. However, this depends on the composition of the almond milk as well as the production process and the thermal treatment used to sterilize the product.
During long-term storage, a number of constituents within plant-based milk alternatives may chemically degrade, which could reduce the shelf life, quality attributes, or nutritional attributes of commercial products. For instance, unsaturated lipids may oxidize, proteins or polysaccharides may hydrolyze, natural colors may fade, flavors may deteriorate, and vitamins or nutraceuticals may degrade (4).
Once opened, the shelf-stable almond milk lasts for about 7-10 days when stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an air-tight container or bottle (2).
Almond milk sold refrigerated
When it comes to the unopened almond milk that is sold refrigerated then it lasts for about 5-7 days after the “use by” date when stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the shelf life of almond milk depends on the initial microbial contamination of the almonds used to produce almond milk, as well as the contamination that may occur during processing. Lipids in raw almond milk are highly susceptible to oxidation. Thermal treatments are used to reduce the microorganism load of the milk, leading to improved shelf life of food products (3).
On the other hand, once opened, this almond milk lasts for about 7-10 days when stored in the fridge in an air-tight container or bottle at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of the almond milk and almond milk can even last for more than this, provided that it is stored properly and there is no leakage in the carton of almond milk.
Homemade almond milk
When it comes to homemade almond milk it has a short shelf life because it does not have any additional preservatives added to it. Homemade almond milk lasts for about 3-4 days when stored in an ait-tight container or bottle in the fridge (5).
You can read the different ways in which almond milk can be used here.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “can almond milk go bad” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not almond milk goes bad. Moreover, we discussed the shelf life of almond milk.
- Li, Jing, and Senarath Dharmasena. Investigating Economic and Demographic Factors Affecting Consumer Demand for Coconut-milk in the United States. 2016, 333.
- FSIS’ FoodKeeper. US Department of Agriculture.
- Manzoor, Muhammad Faisal, et al. Effect of pulsed electric field and thermal treatments on the bioactive compounds, enzymes, microbial, and physical stability of almond milk during storage. J Food Process Preserv, 2020, 44, e14541.
- Grossmann, Lutz, et al. Standardized methods for testing the quality attributes of plant‐based foods: Milk and cream alternatives. Comprehen Rev Food Sci Food Safe, 2021, 20, 2206-2233.
- Anderson, L. Almond Milk. Michigan State University. 2015.
- Rawat, Seema. Food Spoilage: Microorganisms and their prevention. Asian j plant sci Res, 2015, 5, 47-56.
- Gravely, M. Before you toss food, wait. Check it out!. United States Department of Agriculture. 2022.