In this brief guide, we will answer ‘how long does almond milk last once opened?’ Also, we will look into what factors may deteriorate it and how you can easily make almond milk at home.
How long does almond milk last once opened?
Microorganisms are eliminated by treating the almond milk at ultra-high temperature (140 °C for 1-3 s) to produce a shelf-stable product (1). Once opened, almond milk can last up to 7 – 10 days if kept under controlled conditions meaning if it has been kept continuously in a refrigerator. Almond milk may also be pasteurized (90°C for 60 s), which results in a product with a short shelf life needing refrigeration before and after opening (1). During storage, changes occur in the almond milk.
To make things easier, here’s a table that might help you in determining how long will your almond milk last under different conditions;
|Shelf-stable (unopened)||UHT: 2 – 4 weeks past its ‘use by’ datePasteurized: 14 days||Unnecessary|
Storage at 4 °C
|Shelf-stable (opened)||Unsafe||7 – 10 days|
|Refrigerated||Unsafe||2 – 7 days|
|Homemade||Unsafe||3 – 4 days|
Yes, just like any other product, almond milk also surely can go bad if it is not stored properly. However, recently a new shelf-stable variant was also introduced that doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s opened. 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 (1).
The difference between the shelf-stable and refrigerated almond milk is simple. If you have picked the bottle from the refrigerated aisle, it needs to be refrigerated before opening, while if you picked it from the shelf, it can be kept there and needs to be refrigerated after opening. This will ensure no to minimal quality loss occurs in your product.
How to store almond milk?
Almond milk whether store bought or homemade needs to be stored in a refrigerator (2).
Try to avoid placing your almond milk in the door. This area experiences the most temperature fluctuations and exposure to the outside air. The ideal place is the back of the fridge on the internal shelves. This is a more controlled and proper temperature regulated region.
You can also place your almond milk in airtight bottles or containers, to prevent any lurking bacteria from entering your milk. This will also prevent milk from going stale and from picking up other strong odors and flavors like garlic or onion.
Shelf-stable almond milk can be kept at room temperature but once opened it needs to be placed in the refrigerator.
Shelf-stable almond milk should be stored in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight before opening. As the fluctuating temperature may deteriorate much faster.
Make sure you refrigerate at or below 4 degrees C or 40 degrees F.
How to tell if almond milk has gone bad?
For fresh almond milk, it’s quite easy to tell if it’s good to use or not. As it develops a different smell and starts to really clump up.
While shelf-stable or refrigerated almond milk tastes sour, gets thicker, smells off and also starts to clump up. In plant-based beverages, the most common stability problems are the sedimentation of solid particles and the creaming of oil droplets, which causes changes in the texture during storage (1).
If the carton seems bloated or puffed up it’s best to discard it.
Any black spots or discoloration is a clear sign of mold. If it’s homemade almond milk, you might have left some pulp or skin behind but it’s best to discard. Almond milk is a source of abundant unsaturated fatty acids and other valuable plant components, such as fibers, antioxidants, and vitamins. The viability of these nutrients diminish during storage, especially due to oxidation of the fatty acids and amino acids (1).
How to make almond milk at home?
Store-bought almond milk is convenient but making it at home is a fun and relaxing activity. Also, you have greater control over the ingredients you are adding. To make almond milk at home you need a few ingredients that are as follows;
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 2 cups of water, additional water is needed for soaking
- Sweetener of your choice whether honey, stevia or sugar
- Soak the almonds overnight and place them over the countertop for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Remember the longer you soak the creamier the end product you get.
- Drain and rinse thoroughly your soaked almonds. Discard the soaking liquid as it has phytic acid that has leached through the skins in the water, they prevent the nutrition absorption so it’s best to discard it.
- Place your almonds in a food processor with 2 cups of water and blend.
- Blend at your highest setting for 2 – 4 minutes till the almond is broken into a fine meal and water becomes opaque.
- Using a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, strain the blended mix.
- Using hands press all the almond milk from the almond meal.
- Taste and adjust sweetness according to your liking and place in an airtight container and refrigerate and use according to use.
In this brief guide, we answered ‘how long does almond milk last once opened?’ Also, we have looked into what factors may deteriorate it and how you can easily make almond milk at home.
Hopefully, you found this guide helpful. If you have any questions or comments please let us know.
- 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.
- Milk. The Nutrition Source. University of Harvard.