Almond milk has become a popular plant-based milk alternative for many people. It is dairy-free, vegan, and often contains fewer calories and less fat than cow’s milk. For those who regularly drink almond milk, freezing it can help save money and reduce trips to the grocery store. But how well does almond milk actually freeze? And what is the best way to freeze almond milk for optimal taste and texture when thawed? This article will examine if and how almond milk freezes, how long it keeps frozen, tips for freezing, and how to use frozen almond milk.
Does Almond Milk Freeze?
The good news is that almond milk can be frozen successfully. The low fat content and lack of cream or proteins that separate when frozen means frozen almond milk will have a similar consistency to fresh almond milk once thawed.
However, there are some changes in the texture and taste:
- The texture may become slightly thinner.
- Separation can occur, requiring shaking or blending to re-combine.
- The flavor may become slightly flatter or stale.
Overall, while not exactly the same as fresh, frozen and thawed almond milk is still very acceptable to drink and usable for cooking or baking. With proper storage methods, much of the taste and texture can be preserved.
How Long Does Almond Milk Last Frozen?
Frozen almond milk that is continuously kept at 0°F or below can safely last for the following time periods:
- 6-8 months for unopened cartons purchased from the grocery store.
- 3-4 months for opened cartons or almond milk you made from scratch.
The freezer storage time applies to all types of almond milk including original, vanilla, unsweetened, and flavored varieties. Always check for signs of spoilage like an off odor, flavor, or texture before consuming thawed almond milk that has been frozen for maximum storage time.
Tips for Freezing Almond Milk
Follow these tips for best results freezing almond milk:
- Leave space in the container – Liquids expand as they freeze so leave at least 1 inch of headspace in cartons or containers.
- Store in smaller portions – Freeze milk in smaller containers to thaw only what you need at a time.
- Use freezer-safe packaging – Pour into rigid plastic containers or freezer bags designed for freezing liquids.
- Remove as much air as possible – Squeeze out air before sealing bags or containers.
- Label containers – Mark packages with name and freeze date.
- Freeze immediately – Freeze milk as soon as possible after purchasing or making.
Avoid freezing in glass containers which can crack or break. Cartons and plastic jugs from grocery stores can be frozen as is. Lay containers flat in the freezer to prevent spillage as they expand.
Thawing Frozen Almond Milk
It is best to thaw frozen almond milk overnight in the refrigerator. This helps prevent texture changes from thawing too quickly.
To quick thaw, run the sealed container under cool water or place in a bowl of cool water. Change the water every 5 minutes to keep it cool. Avoid thawing at room temperature.
After thawing, always shake or stir the milk well before drinking to recombine any separation. If texture changes are noticeable, blend briefly with an immersion blender.
Once thawed, use within 2-3 days and do not refreeze. Make sure thawed milk is kept refrigerated.
Using Frozen Almond Milk
Frozen and thawed almond milk can be enjoyed on its own as a beverage and also works well for:
- Coffee, tea, hot chocolate
- Oatmeal or cereal
- Pancakes and baked goods
- Pureed soups
- Mashed potatoes
The altered texture and more neutral flavor is less noticeable when almond milk is combined with other ingredients.
If a recipe calls for cold almond milk, thaw it first or use it straight from the freezer as you would ice cubes. This works well for smoothie recipes.
Nutrition of Frozen Almond Milk
Freezing does not significantly change the nutritional value of almond milk. Thawed, frozen almond milk provides the same calories, protein, fat, carbs, vitamins, and minerals as fresh milk.
Here is a nutrition comparison of fresh vs. frozen almond milk (for original, unsweetened):
|Nutrient||Fresh Almond Milk (per 1 cup)||Frozen/Thawed Almond Milk (per 1 cup)|
The freezing process does not degrade the nutrients in almond milk in any significant way.
Cost Effectiveness of Freezing Almond Milk
Freezing almond milk can lead to potential cost savings compared to buying it fresh. Here is a comparison:
|Fresh Almond Milk||Frozen Almond Milk|
|Cost for 1 gallon||$3.99||$3.99 (original purchase price)|
|Typical use period||Within 5-7 days||Up to 4 months frozen|
|Cost per month||$3.99||$1.00 ($3.99 spread over 4 months)|
As shown, freezing can reduce the monthly costs of keeping almond milk on hand. Savings will be greatest for households that use smaller amounts where fresh milk could spoil before finishing.
Downsides of Freezing Almond Milk
Despite the overall convenience, there are a few downsides to consider:
- Takes up valuable freezer space
- Requires planning ahead to thaw overnight in fridge
- Can suffer more texture and flavor changes than fresh
- Not practical for small amounts needed
For those who drink almond milk daily or who don’t notice texture differences, buying fresh may still be preferable.
Storing Thawed Almond Milk
Once frozen almond milk is thawed:
- Use within 2-3 days
- Keep refrigerated
- Do not refreeze after thawing
- Discard if any sour or spoiled odor, flavor, or appearance
Properly stored thawed almond milk will remain fresh tasting during short term use.
Does Homemade Almond Milk Freeze Well?
Homemade almond milk can also be frozen with similar results to store-bought brands. The texture and flavor may change a bit more compared to fresh, but it still works well in recipes or for drinking.
Follow the same tips for leaving headspace, transferring to freezer containers, thawing slowly in the refrigerator, and using within 2-3 days once thawed. Shake or blend after thawing to reincorporate separation.
Freezing is a convenient way to store extra almond milk and reduce food waste and costs. While the texture and flavor may change slightly, frozen almond milk still retains its nutrients and versatility in cooking, baking, and beverages. Using proper storage methods and thawing slowly helps maintain quality. Overall, almond milk freezes fairly well and can be kept frozen for up to 4 months.