How long does unrefrigerated milk last? (+3 tips)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does unrefrigerated milk last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of milk in different conditions. Moreover, we are going to discuss different ways to tell if milk has gone bad and the tips to properly store the milk.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long does unrefrigerated milk last?

Unrefrigerated milk lasts for about 2 hours when left at room temperature. Moreover, if the temperature outside is more than 90 °F, milk will last for only about an hour. 

Milk is a highly perishable commodity and has a lot of macro and micronutrients present in it. Moreover, the milk has a lot of water present in its formulation so if it is kept out for more than 2 hours, bacteria and other microbes will find their way into the milk and will spoil it. 

How long does milk last in the fridge?

Opened milk lasts for 4-7 days in the fridge if stored in an air-tight bottle or air-tight container at or below 40°F. 

On the other hand, unopened reduced fat and skimmed milk last for 7 days while the whole milk lasts for 5-7 days when stored properly in the fridge. Moreover, unopened cartons or bottles of non-fat and lactose-free milk last for 7-10 days.

You can read more about how to properly store milk here

What is the optimum temperature to store milk in the fridge?

You should always store the milk at 40°F or below in the fridge. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store milk at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.

How long does milk last in the freezer?

Milk lasts for about 6 months in the freezer when stored properly in an air-tight container or bottle.

What is the meaning of different dates written on the milk?

  1. “Sell by” date indicates the particular date before which milk should be sold to the customer, it is the recommended date before which milk should be sold.
  2. “Best before” date tells the time during which the milk has its best or peak quality. It is an indicator of quality rather than safety.
  3. “Expires on” date refers to the date after which the flavor and overall quality of the milk begin to deteriorate gradually.

What is the nutritional profile of milk?

Milk is highly nutritious and contains a good amount of macro and micronutrients. Milk is a rich source of protein and contains about 7.7 grams of proteins per cup (240 ml). Milk contains about 80% of the casein while 20% of the whey protein. 

Moreover, milk is also rich in many vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin. Some varieties of milk are also fortified with vitamin D which along with calcium plays an important role in improving bone health. 

How to tell if the milk has gone bad?

You can tell whether or not milk has gone bad by considering its taste, texture, and smell.

Taste

If you notice a sour taste after taking a little sip of milk then it is the indication that the milk has gone bad. 

Texture

If the milk is curdled or has lumps present in it, then it is the indication of bad milk and you should get rid of it.

Smell

If you smell something foul or rotten while taking a sniff test then it is the indication that the milk has gone bad.

What will happen if you drink milk that has gone bad?

Drinking bad milk can put you at the risk of many food-borne illnesses especially food poisoning. Drinking spoiled milk in a large quantity can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.

How can you store milk properly?

  1. Milk can pick up odors therefore it should be stored in an air-tight container or bottle in the fridge. Moreover, it should be stored away from strong-smelling food items like garlic, onion, etc. 
  2. It is better to store the milk on a shelf of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge and that can harm the quality of milk.
  3. Milk should be stored at the lowest shelf of the refrigerator as it is the coldest part of the refrigerator and has its temperature between 38 °F to 40 °F.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does unrefrigerated milk last” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of milk in different conditions. Moreover, we discussed different ways to tell if milk has gone bad and the tips to properly store the milk.

Citations

https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/how-long-can-milk-be-out-of-the-fridge

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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