Are you guilty of letting your almond milk sit in the fridge for too long, only to realize it’s past its expiration date?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
It’s easy to forget about that carton of almond milk in the back of the fridge, but before you toss it out, there are a few things you should know.
Expired almond milk doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone bad and needs to be thrown away.
In fact, there are a few ways you can still use it in your cooking and baking.
But first, let’s dive into the shelf life of almond milk and how to tell if it’s gone bad.
What To Do With Expired Almond Milk?
If you have expired almond milk, don’t throw it away just yet. There are a few ways you can still use it in your cooking and baking.
One option is to use it in baked goods like muffins, pancakes, and cakes. Expired almond milk can still be used as a substitute for regular milk in these recipes. The expiration date on the carton is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule, so as long as the milk doesn’t smell or taste off, it should be safe to use in your baking.
Another option is to use it in smoothies or as a base for soups and sauces. The nutty flavor of almond milk can add a unique twist to your recipes, even if it’s past its prime.
Understanding The Shelf Life Of Almond Milk
Almond milk is a popular non-dairy alternative to cow’s milk, and it comes in different types that have varying shelf lives. The shelf life of almond milk depends on factors such as the type of almond milk, how it is stored, and whether it has been opened or not.
Shelf-stable almond milk is a type of almond milk that has been ultra-pasteurized and sealed in special packaging that keeps it from spoiling when stored at room temperature. This type of almond milk can last for one to two months unopened and up to 10 days once it’s opened and refrigerated. However, if the shelf-stable almond milk has been opened, it should be refrigerated immediately and consumed within 7 to 10 days. It’s essential to monitor the milk for any signs of spoilage, even if it’s within its expiration date.
Refrigerated almond milk, on the other hand, tends to be ultra-pasteurized and has a shorter shelf life than shelf-stable almond milk. When unopened, refrigerated almond milk can last until the expiration date printed on the label. Once opened, it should be used within 7 days. It’s crucial to check the use-by dates on the cartons while at the store and choose the farthest out date to ensure you’re getting the freshest product.
Homemade almond milk or almond milk from a fresh local source doesn’t contain any additives to preserve it, so it will only last about five days even if properly stored in the refrigerator.
It’s important to note that neither the best-by date on shelf-stable almond milk nor the use-by date on refrigerated almond milk is an expiration date. Both are more about food quality than safety. Unopened shelf-stable almond milk typically lasts for 1 to 2 years beyond its best-by date, while refrigerated almond milk has a storage time of a few weeks max beyond its use-by date. However, it’s crucial to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming expired almond milk.
The signs of spoiled almond milk include a sour taste, thicker texture, clumping, off smell, unusually bloated carton, or color changes. If you notice any of these signs or are unsure about the safety of expired almond milk, it’s better to play it safe and dispose of it.
How To Tell If Your Almond Milk Has Gone Bad
It’s important to know how to tell if your almond milk has gone bad before using it in any recipe. The first thing to do is to check for any visible changes in the milk’s color and texture. If it appears thicker than usual or has clumps, it’s likely that the milk has gone bad.
Next, give the milk a good sniff. If it has a sour or off smell, it’s probably not safe to consume. If you’re still unsure, you can try a small taste test. If the milk tastes sour or off in any way, it’s best to discard it.
It’s also important to check the expiration date on the carton before using the almond milk, even if it hasn’t been opened yet. While the expiration date is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule, using expired almond milk can still pose a risk to your health.
Creative Ways To Use Expired Almond Milk In Cooking And Baking
If you’re feeling more adventurous, here are some creative ideas for using expired almond milk in your cooking and baking:
1. Make dairy-free ice cream: Blend expired almond milk with frozen fruit and a sweetener like agave or honey to create a creamy and refreshing dessert.
2. Use it in your morning coffee: Replace regular milk with expired almond milk for a nutty and flavorful twist on your daily cup of joe.
3. Make a vegan cheese sauce: Combine expired almond milk with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt to create a delicious and dairy-free cheese sauce for pasta or nachos.
4. Create a creamy salad dressing: Mix expired almond milk with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs to create a rich and flavorful salad dressing.
5. Bake vegan quiches or frittatas: Use expired almond milk as a base for your egg-free quiches or frittatas for a delicious and healthy breakfast or lunch option.
Remember to always use your senses when cooking or baking with expired almond milk. If it smells or tastes off, it’s best to toss it out. But with a little creativity, you can still make the most of your almost-expired almond milk and avoid wasting food.
Recipes To Try With Expired Almond Milk
If you’re looking for some recipe ideas to use up your expired almond milk, here are a few to try:
1. Almond Milk Pancakes: Use your expired almond milk to make fluffy and delicious pancakes. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, almond milk, and an egg to make the batter. Cook the pancakes on a griddle or non-stick pan until golden brown.
2. Creamy Almond Milk Soup: Use your expired almond milk as a base for a creamy soup. Sauté onions, garlic, and vegetables of your choice in olive oil until soft. Add in vegetable broth and your expired almond milk, then simmer until the vegetables are tender. Blend the soup until smooth and creamy.
3. Almond Milk Smoothie: Use your expired almond milk as a base for a nutritious smoothie. Combine almond milk, frozen fruit, and a scoop of protein powder in a blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy as a refreshing breakfast or post-workout snack.
4. Almond Milk Ice Cream: Use your expired almond milk to make creamy and delicious ice cream. Combine almond milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Chill the mixture in the fridge, then pour it into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
By using these recipes, you can still enjoy the benefits of almond milk even if it’s past its expiration date. Just remember to always check for signs of spoilage before using it in your cooking or baking.
Tips For Properly Storing Almond Milk To Prevent Spoilage
Proper storage is key to preventing spoilage of almond milk. Here are some tips for storing almond milk to extend its shelf life:
1. Refrigerate after opening: Once you open the almond milk, it should be stored in the refrigerator. This applies to all types of almond milk, whether it’s shelf-stable or refrigerated.
2. Check the expiration date: Before purchasing almond milk, check the expiration date on the carton. Choose the farthest out date to ensure you’re getting the freshest product.
3. Store in a cool, dry place: If you’re storing unopened shelf-stable almond milk, keep it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and heat. This will help to maintain its quality and extend its shelf life.
4. Use airtight containers: When storing homemade almond milk or transferring store-bought almond milk to a different container, use an airtight container to prevent air and bacteria from getting in.
5. Don’t store in the fridge door: Store almond milk in the main section of the fridge, away from the door where temperature fluctuations are more common.
6. Monitor for signs of spoilage: Always check the almond milk before consuming it, even if it’s within its expiration date. If it smells sour or off or has clumps or curdles, discard it immediately.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your almond milk stays fresh and safe to consume for as long as possible.