Can you freeze milk?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can you freeze milk?” and will discuss guidelines for freezing different types of milk.

Can you freeze milk?

Yes, you can freeze milk. Before freezing, it’s best to move milk to an airtight, freezer-safe bag or container. As a bonus, you’ll free up some room in your freezer at the same time.

Tips for freezing milk 

Freezing is a good method for milk preservation, thus it limits microbial growth and can even reduce the initial bacterial count of pasteurized milk. Storage at low temperatures also reduces oxidation of lipids and proteins. On the other hand, freezing milk can have negative aspects. Frozen milk products seem to have the following three difficulties: a) development of oxidized flavor, b) breaking up of fat emulsion, and c) destabilization of milk proteins (1). 

Freezing and frozen storage can have a large effect on the proteins of milk, causing the casein micelles to lose their stability and precipitate on thawing. This manifests itself either as thickened product or as flocks of casein evident either on the sides of thawed glass or plastic containers, or as a precipitate at the bottom (2).

Independent of this, you may freeze milk. The process of freezing milk is straightforward, but there are a few things to watch out for.

·         Before freezing, make sure the container has a headspace of one to one and a half inches. Milk swells as it freezes, much like other liquids. Cracking occurs when the container is overfilled.

·         Milk should be stored in a well-sealed container. The smells from other items in the freezer may easily contaminate milk. When the milk is thawed, this might alter the taste.

·         Full-fat milk is more difficult to store in the freezer, but skim milk is a better option. A larger percentage of fat in milk makes it more likely to separate when thawed.

Best way to freeze milk

Milk may be frozen in a variety of ways, but the most efficient method was suggested by a reader from Tunnel Hill, Georgia:

·         Put milk in ice cube trays and freeze it to keep it fresh. You can store the cubes in resealable plastic bags or containers after they’ve been frozen. Milk cubes are taken out just as required when a recipe calls for them.

·         In addition to a saving room in your freezer, the reader’s advice will allow you to defrost just the quantity of milk you need at a time.

·         As an example, two cubes in an ordinary ice cube tray equals about 1/4 cup of milk. This 1-cup ice cube tray set is perfect for freezing soup and stock, as well as bigger servings of milk.

Recommendations on freezing different types of milk

Due to the impact of environmental stresses, such as freeze–thaw treatment and extreme pH, the beverage emulsion leads to destabilization. Therefore, the beverage emulsion, such as coconut milk, peanut and almond emulsions, needs some emulsifiers and polysaccharides to be stabilized. However, freezing storage causes additional stresses on the emulsion structure, which leads to emulsion disruption and separation of oil-water emulsion. This happens to different degrees in all types of milk. However, frozen milk can be used in different ways after being thawed (3).

Frozen milk may be used for a variety of purposes. If you need to freeze anything, it should be stored in an airtight, freezer-safe container. As a bonus, you’ll free up some room in your freezer at the same time.

If you want to freeze milk, make sure there is enough room in the container for the milk to expand as it freezes. Different varieties of milk react differently to freezing.

Almond milk: If you freeze almond milk, it will separate and become gritty.

Breast milk from a human: Separation of fat occurs. In addition, the milk’s flavor and scent may alter for the better.

Coconut milk. You should never freeze canned coconut milk. Frozen coconut milk, on the other hand, tends to separate.

Milk from a cow or other animal source: Some separation may occur while freezing cow’s milk.

Milk made from soy products: After freezing, soy milk might separate.

Dried-out milk: Do not put this milk in a can and put it in the freezer for long periods. Additionally, if you freeze it, it might split.

Condensed milk with added sugar: Keep it out of the freezer. As a bonus, sweetened condensed milk will not freeze solid due to its high sugar content.

Carton milk: Unless opened, shelf-stable milk has a long shelf life and does not need to be frozen.

Oat milk: After freezing, oat milk may separate and become gritty.

Goat milk: The milk from a goat may be frozen without losing any of its nutritional value. There is a possibility of a minor rift.

Flax milk: Flax milk is a beverage made from the milk of flax plants After freezing, flax milk may separate from other plant-based milk.

You may freeze the milk in ice cube trays and use them in smoothies. One frozen cube of your favorite milk may be added to the blender with your smoothie components in just a few seconds.

According to the USDA, the shelf life of frozen milk is 3 months.

The process of thawing frozen milk

You may keep frozen milk in your freezer for up to threesix months, but it’s ideal if you can consume it within a month after freezing. Defrosting milk in the refrigerator rather than at ambient temperature reduces the likelihood of bacterial development.

It’s because milk’s bacterial count may rise to dangerous levels if it remains at room temperature for an extended period, increasing the risk of disease from consumption. Place it in cold water to speed up the thawing process. This approach, on the other hand, carries a somewhat increased threat of bacterial development. Frozen milk should never be thawed in hot or warm water (4). 

 If you’re going to use frozen milk, you may thaw it right in the pot or skillet with the food you’re already cooking.

Cooking, baking, and creating smoothies all benefit from using frozen or defrosted milk. The texture may alter to the point that it’s no longer drinkable. Slushiness, graininess, and fat separation are all examples of this. If it was properly defrosted and stored, it is safe to consume. Smooth it out and reverse the fat separation in a blender to make it tastier.

Other FAQs about Milk that you may be interested in.

Do Oreos Contain Milk

Does Muscle Milk Stunt Growth

Does McDonald’s Have Almond Milk

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can you freeze milk?” and discussed guidelines for freezing different types of milk.

References

  1. SAITO, Zenichi, and Yoshio Hashimoto. Studies on frozen milk with special reference to denaturation of milk proteins. J Fac Agric Hokk Univ, 1962, 52, 162-185.
  2. Hassan, Z., Hamzawi, L., Abo el Naga, M. Effect Of Frozen Storage On The Microbiological And Technological Properties Of Buffalo’s Milk. J Food Dairy Sci, 2010,1, 765-779. 
  3. Liu, Shuang, et al. Impact of pH, freeze–thaw and thermal sterilization on physicochemical stability of walnut beverage emulsion. Food chem, 2016, 196, 475-485.
  4. Freeborn, D. Thawing Breastmilk. 2022. University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester. 

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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.