Does almond milk need to be refrigerated?

You all know that cow milk needs to be refrigerated at the store or home. Without refrigeration, it can get spoiled even in winters. In contrast, some cow milk comes in cartons and sits comfortably on the shelf. What about other milk varieties like almond milk?

Does almond milk need to be refrigerated? Well, if you’ve made almond milk at home, it surely needs to be refrigerated. Apart from that, storing store-bought almond milk depends on its packaging. If the almond milk was stored on shelves in the grocery store, place them in your kitchen cabinets until opened. And if it was refrigerated in the store, do the same at home.

Why does almond milk go bad in 7 days?

Of course, almond milk has a longer shelf life than cow milk, but it sure does go bad. Almond milk can go bad in a week or more, depending on how you store it.

Opened

It’s mentioned on the packaging of the almond milk, both shelf-stable and refrigerated ones, that you need to use it within 7 days after opening. So if you use your almond milk a week after opening it, it will be spoiled to drink.

It goes bad after 7 days because it’s the standard instruction for perishable products.

Unopened

If your shelf-stable almond milk is unopened, it can stay for around 3-4 weeks after its expiry date. This long shelf life is because of its sterilization process. Foodborne microorganisms responsible for diseases are destroyed in the product by drying it or heating it. Aseptic carton packaging is also used to pack shelf-stable almond milk.

On the other hand, refrigerated unopened milk will last for only a week. The reason is the same as for opened refrigerated milk. Also, the sterilization process is weaker than the shelf-stable almond milk; that’s why its shelf life is only a week.

Homemade Almond Milk

Your homemade almond milk can go bad even before a week. It’s because it didn’t go through any sterilization process. It can be used for 3-5 days when you store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Unopened almond milk left out of the fridge

It’s common for us to leave something outside and forget about it. For example, you bought almond milk for some recipe but forgot to put it in the fridge. So, now is it spoiled? It totally depends on how many hours you left it outside of the fridge.

If you didn’t put unopened shelf-stable almond milk in the fridge, no worries because it’s meant to stay out of the fridge (unopened). However, if you forgot to put refrigerated almond milk in the fridge, that’s something to worry about. You should discard your unopened almond milk if it was left out of the fridge for 2 hours.

Even if you don’t see any signs of spoilage like bad smell or taste, you still have to throw it. There could be a number of toxins or bacteria generated in those 2 hours.

How to check if almond milk is spoiled?

Here’s a list of things you can do to check if your almond milk is ruined.

1. Check the carton

If you are using the shelf-stable almond milk, then check its carton. If it’s leaky, bloated, or puffed, it’s surely spoiled. You should check these things in the store itself so that you don’t end up buying ruined almond milk.

It’s better to be safe than risk your health. So don’t buy the carton or if you got it home, throw it immediately. Also, inform the storekeeper that the almond milk is not safe to use so that anyone else doesn’t buy it mistakenly.

2. Check how the milk looks

Pour the milk into a bowl and check how it looks. If you see any discoloration or black spots, it can be mold. Also, check its texture. The usual texture of almond milk is thin, so it’s spoiled if you see any lumps.

However, if you make homemade almond milk, it can be a little thick because of the pulp. On the other hand, store-bought almond milk is purely thin so throw it when you see it slimy or lumps.

3. Check the smell

The smell of almond milk is very fresh and nutty. If the packaging says sweetened milk, the smell will be a bit sweet. If you bought vanilla flavored, there would be a vanilla smell.

If your almond milk smells sour, then it’s time you throw it out.

4. Taste a little

If you have followed all the steps till now and found nothing suspicious, taste it a little. Of course, a sip wouldn’t do any harm. But, if the taste is sour or different from usual, throw it in the kitchen sink.

5. Shelf life

The shelf life of almond milk is mentioned on its packaging. If you use it beyond that, it’s definitely not safe to use.

What will happen if one drinks almond milk that has gone bad?

Whatever spoiled food item you’ll eat, you will likely get food poisoning. Here are the signs of food poisoning:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • All of the above

However, if you drank a little spoiled almond milk by mistake, you might not notice any of the symptoms, and you’ll be perfectly fine. However, it’s always advised to check for spoilage signs before drinking old almond milk.

Benefits of almond milk

Here are some health benefits of almond milk:

1. Helps in weight management

Almond milk is plant-based milk, containing fewer calories than regular milk. Therefore, if you want to limit your calorie intake, you should switch to almond milk.

2. Great source of Vitamin E

Almond milk is a great source of Vitamin E. It gives you 22% of your daily Vitamin E need. Vitamin E helps in reducing stress and inflammation in your body.

3. Great source of calcium

Almond milk also provides calcium with many health benefits, especially for older and young people. For example, calcium provides strong bones and maintains healthy blood pressure.

References

  1. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/leftovers-and-food-safety
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28214525/

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