Are you a fan of oat milk?
Do you often find yourself wondering if it’s still safe to drink after the best by date has passed?
Well, you’re not alone.
With so many different types of oat milk available on the market, it can be challenging to know how long they last and whether or not they’re still good to consume.
In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of oat milk, how to store it properly, and whether or not you can drink it past the best by date.
So, grab a glass of your favorite oat milk and let’s dive in!
Can You Drink Oat Milk Past Best By Date?
The short answer is yes, you can drink oat milk past the best by date. However, it’s essential to understand that the quality and taste may not be as good as when it was fresh.
There are two types of oat milk available on the market: shelf-stable and refrigerated. Shelf-stable oat milk can last unopened for at least six months, while refrigerated oat milk has a use-by date that’s only a couple of weeks from production and keeps for only a week or so after the printed date.
If you’re dealing with shelf-stable oat milk, chances are it’ll be fine even if it’s half a year after its date. So unless you’re not comfortable with using “expired” oat milk, feel free to open it up, check for signs of spoilage, and use it if there are none.
For refrigerated oat milk, it’s best to toss it if it’s more than seven to ten days past its date, just to be safe. You probably do the same thing for most dairy products.
It’s important to note that once you’ve opened your oat milk, it’s best to drink it within four to seven days and sometimes up to ten days. It is essential to refrigerate your oat milk as soon as you open it and seal it tightly. When determining how long your opened oat milk will last, you’ll need to consider some critical factors, such as temperature, time, and exposure to air.
Suppose you’ve opened and left your oat milk at room temperature for a few hours. In that case, according to the USDA, perishable food items should be refrigerated or frozen within two hours of opening. So after you use your oat milk, toss it back in the fridge to maintain its freshness.
Ambient room temperature will significantly affect the shelf life of your oat milk. Hot temperatures will cause opened oat milk to spoil faster than on winter days. After you open your oat milk, limiting its exposure to air is essential. We recommend using an airtight container, even if you keep it in the fridge, to keep it for as long as possible.
What Is The Best By Date On Oat Milk?
The best by date on oat milk is the date that the manufacturer suggests the product will be at its best quality. It’s important to note that this date is not an expiration date, but rather a suggestion of when the product will be at its freshest.
The best by date on oat milk varies depending on the type of oat milk you purchase. For shelf-stable oat milk, the best by date can be up to six months from the manufacture date. On the other hand, refrigerated oat milk has a shorter best by date, usually only a week or two from production.
It’s essential to pay attention to the best by date when purchasing oat milk and to use it before or shortly after that date for optimal quality and taste. However, if you find yourself with oat milk past its best by date, it’s still safe to consume as long as there are no signs of spoilage such as discoloration, mold, off-putting smell, or critters.
How Long Does Oat Milk Last?
The shelf life of oat milk depends on whether it’s shelf-stable or refrigerated, and whether it’s unopened or opened. Unopened shelf-stable oat milk can last for at least six months, while an unopened carton of refrigerated oat milk should be consumed within a week of the printed use-by date.
Once opened, both types of oat milk should be consumed within four to ten days, depending on factors such as temperature, time, and exposure to air. If you’ve left your oat milk at room temperature for a few hours, it may spoil much faster. The ambient room temperature will also affect how long your oat milk stays fresh, so it’s best to store it in the fridge to maintain its quality.
To minimize the risk of spoilage, we recommend using an airtight container with minimal air inside to store your oat milk. Most manufactured oat milk brands come in an airtight container, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
If you’re dealing with expired oat milk, the answer depends on the type of oat milk you have. For shelf-stable oat milk, chances are it’ll be fine even if it’s half a year after its date. However, for refrigerated oat milk, it’s best to toss it if it’s more than seven to ten days past its date.
Proper Storage Of Oat Milk
Proper storage of oat milk is crucial to ensure its freshness and quality. Unopened shelf-stable oat milk can sit in your pantry or on a countertop, while refrigerated oat milk requires refrigeration at all times. When storing your unopened oat milk, remember where you picked it up and check the label to make sure whether it’s shelf-stable or refrigerated.
Shelf-stable oat milk doesn’t require much when it comes to storage. A shelf or cabinet in the pantry or kitchen will do, as long as it doesn’t sit in a place where temperature frequently changes. You can even keep it in the fridge if you want.
Refrigerated oat milk, on the other hand, should always be kept in the fridge. While leaving the carton on the door might not be perfect, it’s not a big deal. Once you open your carton, always keep it sealed and refrigerated, just like you do with other non-dairy milks such as almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.
It’s important to note that once you’ve opened your oat milk, you should consume it within four to seven days, up to ten days at most. To extend its shelf life, minimize its exposure to air by using an airtight container with minimal air left inside the vessel.
Signs That Oat Milk Has Gone Bad
While oat milk can last past its best-by date, it’s essential to know when it’s gone bad. Here are some signs to look out for:
1. Discoloration: If your oat milk has changed color, it’s a clear indication that it has gone bad. It may look yellow or brownish, which is a sign of spoilage.
2. Mold: If you see mold growing on the surface of your oat milk, it’s time to throw it out. Mold can cause health problems like respiratory issues and allergic reactions.
3. Off-putting smell: A sour or rancid smell is a clear indication that your oat milk has gone bad. It’s best to discard it immediately.
4. Curdled texture: If your oat milk has a lumpy or curdled texture, it’s a sign that bacteria have started to grow in it. This can cause food poisoning and other health issues.
5. Critters: If you notice any insects or pests around your oat milk container, it’s time to dispose of it immediately.
It’s important to note that if you’re unsure whether your oat milk has gone bad, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it. Consuming spoiled oat milk can lead to food poisoning, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.
Risks Of Consuming Expired Oat Milk
While drinking oat milk past its best by date is generally safe, there are still some risks associated with consuming expired oat milk.
Firstly, the quality and taste of the oat milk may have significantly deteriorated, making it unappetizing to drink. Additionally, expired oat milk may have a sour or off-putting smell, indicating that it has gone bad. If you notice any discoloration or mold growth in your oat milk, it’s best to throw it away immediately.
Expired oat milk can also harbor harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. If the oat milk has been contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli or Salmonella, it can make you sick. Symptoms of food poisoning from spoiled oat milk may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
It’s important to note that the risk of getting sick from expired oat milk is higher if it has been stored improperly. If the oat milk has been left at room temperature for an extended period or exposed to direct sunlight or heat, the bacteria can grow rapidly, increasing the risk of contamination.