Almond milk has become a popular plant-based milk alternative for many people. However, like other dairy milk, almond milk can spoil if not stored properly. So what does spoiled almond milk taste and smell like? Here’s a breakdown of how to identify spoiled almond milk.
How to Tell if Almond Milk is Spoiled
There are a few key signs that indicate your almond milk has gone bad:
- Sour smell – Fresh almond milk should have a mild, nutty smell. If it smells sour or unpleasant, it’s a sign of spoilage.
- Curdled texture – Spoiled almond milk will appear curdled and lumpy rather than smooth.
- Mold – Check the container carefully and look for fuzzy mold spots, especially near the cap.
- Expired – Check the use-by or sell-by date on the container. If it’s passed, the milk is at higher risk of spoilage.
How Does Spoiled Almond Milk Taste?
The taste of spoiled almond milk can range from unpleasant to absolutely revolting depending on how long it’s been bad:
- Sour taste – Almond milk that is starting to spoil will taste sour or tangy.
- Bitter taste – As it spoils further, rancid oils in the almond milk cause a bitter, chemical-like taste.
- Rotten taste – Truly spoiled, old almond milk basically tastes like it’s rotten. The taste is nauseatingly bad.
So in summary, the taste ranges from sour to bitter to downright nasty the longer the almond milk sits around spoiled. Even a small sip of rotten almond milk is enough to make you want to spit it out immediately.
Why Does Almond Milk Spoil?
To understand the foul taste, you need to understand why almond milk spoils in the first place. There are a few key reasons almond milk can go bad relatively quickly:
- High oil content – The almonds used to make almond milk contain oils that can oxidize and go rancid over time.
- Bacteria growth – Bacteria introduced during processing or opening the container can multiply, causing spoilage.
- Light exposure – Light causes oxidation reactions that lead to faster spoilage.
- Warm temperatures – Heat speeds up spoilage reactions in almond milk.
Unfortunately, the high oil content in almonds makes almond milk more prone to spoilage than lower-fat dairy milk. That oily, rancid taste is a byproduct of the oils breaking down over time.
How Long Does Almond Milk Last Before Spoiling?
The shelf life depends on a few factors, but in general:
- Unopened almond milk lasts 5-7 days past its sell by date if properly refrigerated.
- Once opened, almond milk lasts 4-7 days in the fridge before spoiling.
Always store almond milk in a tightly sealed container in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Heat, light exposure, and contamination introduced by opening the container will shorten its shelf life. An opened carton should not be left sitting out on the counter or it can spoil in just a few hours.
Can You Save Spoiled Almond Milk?
Unfortunately, there is no way to save almond milk once it starts to spoil. The bacteria and rancid oils that cause it to go bad cannot be reversed. So it’s unsafe and unwise to consume almond milk if you notice any signs of spoilage.
The best practice is to smell and inspect milk when you open it, paying attention for a sour smell, weird texture, or mold. If you detect any spoiled milk, err on the side of caution and toss it out. It’s not worth risking food poisoning.
How to Store Almond Milk Properly
To avoid spoiled almond milk, here are some tips for proper storage:
- Check sell-by date and only purchase milk with the furthest date.
- Keep refrigerated at all times until ready to use.
- Seal container tightly after each use.
- Store on an interior fridge shelf, not the door.
- Finish opened container within 7 days.
- Keep away from light, heat sources, and contamination.
Following basic food safety measures will help ensure your almond milk stays fresh and enjoyable as long as possible.
What to Do If You Drink Spoiled Milk
Mistakes happen, and you may inadvertently take a gulp of almond milk that’s gone bad. Here’s what to do if you consume spoiled milk:
- Rinse your mouth out thoroughly with clean water.
- Drink plenty of fresh water to help dilute the spoiled milk.
- Monitor yourself carefully for signs of food poisoning over the next few days.
- Note symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or chills.
- Contact your doctor if symptoms are severe or last more than a day or two.
In most cases, drinking a small amount of spoiled milk just causes some indigestion or an upset stomach. But rarely, harmful bacteria can cause foodborne illness. Seek medical treatment for severe vomiting, diarrhea that lasts over 48 hours, high fever, or signs of dehydration after consuming spoiled almond milk.
Spoiled almond milk has a distinct sour, bitter, or rotten taste that immediately screams, “Don’t drink me!” It’s caused by rancid oils and bacteria growth over time. To avoid spoiled almond milk, store it properly in the fridge and use within 7 days of opening. But if you do accidentally ingest milk past its prime, rinse out your mouth, drink fluids, and be alert for any gastrointestinal distress. While unpleasant, drinking a bit of spoiled milk likely causes minimal issues for most healthy adults if handled promptly and properly.
|Signs of Fresh Almond Milk
|Signs of Spoiled Almond Milk
|Smooth, creamy texture
|Curdled, lumpy texture
|Neutral, nutty smell
|Sour, rancid smell
|Pleasant, mild taste
|Sour, bitter, or rotten taste
|Yellow or grey tinge
|Within sell-by date
|Past expiration date
Checking for these signs of freshness and spoilage will help you determine if your almond milk is still safe and tasty to drink. Trust your senses – if it smells, looks or tastes off, play it safe and toss it out.