Does Unopened Almond Milk Spoil?

When it comes to almond milk, many people often wonder whether unopened almond milk spoils. This question is quite common, and it’s good to understand the answer to it. Whether you are looking to switch from dairy to non-dairy options or are already a fan of almond milk, this article will provide you with answers to all your questions regarding unopened almond milk spoilage.

Understanding the shelf life of almond milk

Almond milk, like any other non-dairy milk, has a relatively shorter shelf life than dairy milk. The shelf life of almond milk depends on a variety of factors, including the processing method, preservatives used, storage conditions, and the type of packaging.

Types of almond milk packaging and their shelf life

Almond milk can be found in two primary forms of packaging: shelf-stable and refrigerated.

  • Shelf-stable packaging: This type of packaging doesn’t need to be refrigerated until it’s opened. It’s either bottled or packed in aseptic packaging that keeps it safe from bacteria and other contaminants. Shelf-stable almond milk can last up to several months, with some varieties lasting up to a year when stored in a cool and dry place.
  • Refrigerated packaging: Almond milk that comes in refrigerated packaging has to be refrigerated at all times, even when it’s unopened. This helps to keep it fresh for longer. When unopened, refrigerated almond milk can last for up to a week past the printed expiration date.

What to look for to tell if your almond milk has gone bad

It’s essential to keep an eye on your almond milk’s freshness to avoid getting sick from spoiled milk. Some visible signs that indicate almond milk has gone bad include separation, discoloration, an off odor or taste, and curdling.

Off odor

The first and most noticeable sign that your almond milk has gone bad is a sour or unpleasant odor that wasn’t present initially. If your almond milk smells sour or rancid, it’s best to avoid using it.

Discoloration

Your almond milk should be a creamy white color, and if it begins to turn yellow, it’s time to dispose of it.

Curdling

Curdling is caused by the separation of the almond milk’s fats and liquid components. If you notice that your almond milk is curdling, it’s best to throw it out.

Separation

It’s normal for the almond milk to separate while left sitting in the refrigerator. However, if the separation doesn’t look uniform, it’s time to throw it out.

How to store unopened Almond Milk

Proper storage plays a crucial role in extending the shelf life of unopened almond milk.

Shelf-stable almond milk

Shelf-stable almond milk doesn’t require any refrigeration until you open it. Make sure to store it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Ensure that the packaging remains intact, which prevents the ingress of moisture, bacteria or other contaminants.

Refrigerated almond milk

Always keep refrigerated almond milk in the refrigerator at all times, even if the package hasn’t been opened. Store it at a temperature between 2°C (35°F) and 7°C (45°F) to maintain its freshness. Avoid keeping it near openings, which can cause temperature fluctuations.

Can unopened almond milk expire?

Unopened almond milk does expire, even under the right storage conditions. Check the ‘best by’ date on the packaging before purchasing the almond milk. Typically, unopened almond milk lasts between six months to a year in good storage conditions.

Packaging integrity

If the almond milk packaging isn’t intact, leaks, or shows signs of damage, it’s best to avoid buying or using it.

How long can unopened almond milk last?

While almond milk can last for long periods, it’s best to consume it as soon as possible after purchasing. The shelf life varies based on the type of almond milk packaging.

Shelf-stable almond milk

Shelf-stable almond milk has a longer shelf life than refrigerated almond milk; usually, it lasts up to several months, with some types lasting for up to a year.

Refrigerated almond milk

Refrigerated almond milk lasts up to ten days, but the shelf life often depends on a variety of factors like the ‘best by’ date, storage conditions among others.

The bottom line

Unopened almond milk spoilage shouldn’t be a significant concern, provided it’s stored correctly. When shopping, check the ‘best by’ date and choose the right packaging. Always store almond milk according to the instructions on the label, and discard it when it gives off an off odor or shows any signs of spoilage.

List of questions and their answers related to almond milk spoilage

  • Q: Can unopened almond milk go bad?
  • A: Yes, unopened almond milk can go bad, with the shelf life varying depending on the storage method, packaging and the processing method.
  • Q: How do you tell if unopened almond milk is bad?
  • A: The easiest way to know if unopened almond milk has gone bad is through the noticeable signs of spoilage like an off odor, discoloration, curdling, and separation.
  • Q: Can unopened almond milk expire?
  • A: Yes, unopened almond milk can expire. It’s essential to check the ‘best by’ date before purchasing it.
  • Q: How long does unopened almond milk last?
  • A: The shelf life of unopened almond milk varies depending on the storage method, packaging and processing method. Shelf-stable almond milk can last up to a year while refrigerated almond milk lasts for up to 10 days.

References

1. U.S Department of Agriculture. (2014). Food Product Dating. fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating

2. Almond Cow. (2021). “Best by” dates: What they mean and why we use them. almondcow.co/blogs/news/best-by-dates-what-they-mean

3. US National Library of Medicine; National Institutes of Health. (2018). Almond milk: Composition, microbial stability, and storage studies. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6235879/

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