Almond milk has become increasingly popular among those seeking a dairy-free or vegan alternative to traditional milk.
Its creamy texture and nutty flavor make it a versatile ingredient in various recipes. However, like any perishable food, almond milk requires proper storage to maintain its freshness and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
In this article, we’ll explore the shelf life of almond milk and discuss how long it can safely sit out at room temperature.
How Long Can Almond Milk Sit Out?
Almond milk can sit out for about two hours at room temperature without going bad, unless it is in an unopened, shelf-stable package.
There are basically three main types of almond milk: homemade, shelf-stable, and refrigerated. Let’s understand these almond milk types and their shelf lives.
Homemade Almond Milk
This type of almond milk is made at home by blending raw, skinned almonds with water.
When making almond milk or any other food in your home, you ensure proper cooking techniques like washing your hands and other cooking utensils.
Homemade almond milk can last for a maximum of seven days in refrigeration, after which it’ll begin to go bad. Homemade almond milk left out without refrigeration would likely be unsafe after about two hours.
Shelf-Stable Almond Milk
This type of almond milk has a “Tetra Pak” style container and is found on the shelf in the grocery store, hence the name shelf-stable.
Shelf-stable almond milk can last several months to a year unopened in a shelf-stable Tetra Pak and up to seven days once it’s opened and refrigerated.
The shelf life of almond milk varies from brand to brand and depends on the “sell-by,” “best-by,” “use before,” and other expiration-related dates on packaging and the storage conditions.
Refrigerated Almond Milk
The type of almond milk is in refrigerators or cold areas in your grocery store. They are usually found in a cardboard carton.
Refrigerated almond milk is similar to homemade almond milk but with added ingredients like vitamins and preservatives that help it last longer.
Just as the name implies, refrigerated almond milk should be kept in the refrigerator in your home, even if it’s not opened yet.
Once opened, it should last about seven days if kept at refrigeration temperatures and two hours without refrigeration.
Is it Necessary to Refrigerate Almond Milk?
The refrigeration of almond milk is necessary to maximize its shelf life after it has been opened. After opening the carton of almond milk, promptly return the carton to the refrigerator at a temperature below 40°F (4°C).
Properly refrigerated, opened almond milk can typically remain safe to consume for up to 7 to 10 days. Remember to securely seal the carton or transfer the milk to an airtight container to prevent odors from other foods in the fridge from affecting its flavor.
How Can You Tell if Almond Milk Has Gone Bad?
You can tell if almond milk has gone bad from signs like bloated packaging, off-smelling smells, changes in texture, or an unusual color.
If you notice any of these signs, discard the almond milk immediately, as it may indicate bacterial growth or contamination.
More importantly, you shouldn’t rely on just your sense of smell and taste to know for sure whether almond milk has gone bad. Food can still make you sick even if it doesn’t look, taste, or smell bad, according to an FDA fact sheet.
Can You Drink Almond Milk After 10 Days?
It’s not advisable to drink almond milk after 10 days. This is because the milk might have gone bad and could cause some serious health problems.
Leaving almond milk opened for up to 10 days is possible at refrigeration temperature, but after 10 days it should be discarded in most cases, even when there are no signs of spoilage.
What Will Happen When You Drink Almond Milk That Has Gone Bad?
Many people will like to know what will happen if bad almond milk is consumed. Well, it wouldn’t turn out nice in the end since old almond milk contains harmful bacteria that can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, or a combination of these symptoms.
Tips for Safe Handling and Storage of Almond Milk
To ensure the longevity and quality of your almond milk, here are some additional tips:
- Always refrigerate almond milk promptly after opening.
- Avoid leaving almond milk at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Keep the almond milk carton away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
- Avoid cross-contamination by using clean utensils and pouring almond milk into a separate container when serving.
- Be cautious of the “best by” date on the carton and consume the almond milk before or shortly after that date for the best flavor.
Proper storage and handling are crucial for maintaining the freshness of almond milk. Unopened shelf-stable almond milk can last for several months until the “best by” date, while opened almond milk (shelf-stable, refrigerated, or homemade) should be refrigerated and consumed within 7 to 10 days.
Always rely on your senses and look for signs of spoilage before consuming almond milk. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your almond milk while ensuring your health and well-being.