Almond milk has become a popular plant-based milk alternative for many people. It is made from ground almonds and water, giving it a creamy, nutty flavor. Unlike regular dairy milk, almond milk has an impressive shelf life – often lasting up to two weeks after opening if properly stored. But is it still safe and tasty to use almond milk a week after opening the carton? Let’s take a closer look.
How long does opened almond milk last?
The shelf life of opened almond milk depends on a few factors:
- Type of almond milk – shelf-stable or refrigerated
- Ingredients – some brands contain preservatives
- Storage method – refrigeration extends shelf life
- Cleanliness – avoiding contamination from spoons, etc
- Package date – fresher milk lasts longer opened
Refrigerated almond milk will generally last:
- 7-10 days past its “use by” date if unopened
- 7-10 days past opening if refrigerated
Shelf-stable almond milk lasts:
- Several months past its “best by” date if unopened
- 7-14 days past opening if refrigerated after opening
Signs almond milk has spoiled
Here are some signs that opened almond milk has gone bad and should be discarded:
- Sour smell – Fresh almond milk has a sweet, nutty smell. If it smells sour or unpleasant, it’s gone bad.
- Mold – Any fuzzy growth or spots indicate spoilage.
- Curdling – Almond milk can curdle and separate if spoiled.
- Chunky texture – Bad almond milk can become chunky and lumpy.
- Off taste – Spoiled milk will taste sour or bitter.
Is almond milk safe to drink 7 days after opening?
If it has been properly stored and there are no signs of spoilage, almond milk is generally safe to consume for 7-10 days after opening. The key is keeping it chilled at 40°F or below. The cold temperature prevents microbial growth and slows down enzymatic activity that can lead to souring.
However, always inspect and smell almond milk before drinking to check for any signs of spoilage. Don’t rely on the “use by” date alone if it’s past 7-10 days since opening.
Tips for storing opened almond milk
To maximize the shelf life of opened almond milk, follow these tips:
- Refrigerate after opening – Keep opened cartons chilled at 40°F or below.
- Check “use by” dates – Use oldest containers first.
- Keep container closed – Cap tightly between use to block oxygen.
- Don’t return unused milk – Pour only needed amounts to avoid contamination.
- Use clean utensils – Avoid introducing dirt or bacteria.
- Don’t mix old and new – Finish opened containers before opening fresh ones.
Does almond milk go bad if left unrefrigerated?
Leaving almond milk unrefrigerated after opening significantly shortens its shelf life. Room temperature allows rapid growth of spoilage microorganisms. Here’s how long opened almond milk may last if left out:
|Room Temperature||Time Before Spoiling|
|77°F (25°C)||6-8 hours|
|86°F (30°C)||4-6 hours|
At room temperature, opened almond milk should not be left out more than 2 hours before refrigeration. The warmer the conditions, the quicker harmful bacterial multiplication can occur.
How to tell if refrigerated almond milk went bad?
To determine if refrigerated almond milk has spoiled after a week or more, check for these signs of spoilage:
- Clumpy texture – Milk proteins clump if pH changes
- Off odors – Sour or unpleasant smells indicate spoilage
- Gas bubbles – Carbon dioxide from microbial growth
- Mold – Fuzzy spots or filmy growth on surface
- Separation – Clear whey separates from thicker solids
- Discoloration – Changes from white to yellow or pink
Conduct a sensory inspection before consuming older almond milk. One week past opening, it should still look, smell and taste normal if stored continuously at 40°F or below. When in doubt, throw it out.
Changes in nutritional value
The nutritional value of almond milk remains stable for up to 10 days if properly refrigerated and safe to drink. Key nutrients like:
- Protein – 0.5-1g per cup
- Vitamin E – up to 50% DV
- Calcium – 200-400mg per cup
- Vitamin D – 25% DV
There is minimal degradation of vitamins and minerals in chilled almond milk within recommended time frames after opening. However, lengthy storage at warm temperatures allows nutrient breakdown over time.
How to use up almond milk within 7-10 days?
To help use up opened almond milk within a week or so, here are some easy ways to enjoy it while it’s fresh:
- Cereal – Cold almond milk over whole grain cereals
- Smoothies – Blend with fruits and vegetables
- Overnight oats – Soak oats in almond milk overnight
- Coffee drinks – Add to your morning latte or cappucino
- Baked goods – Use in muffins, cakes, pancakes
- Soups – Add creaminess to blended vegetable soups
- Porridge – Cook oatmeal, quinoa in almond milk
- Chia pudding – Soak chia seeds in sweetened almond milk
- Protein shakes – Blend almond milk with protein powder
Getting creative with recipes and breakfast ideas can help you consume almond milk promptly after opening. Prioritize opened cartons in the refrigerator and aim to finish within 10 days.
Can you freeze opened almond milk?
Freezing is an option for preserving opened almond milk beyond 7-10 days and preventing waste. To freeze:
- Transfer opened milk into airtight freezer containers or bags.
- Leave 1⁄2 inch room for expansion during freezing.
- Lay containers flat in freezer for faster freezing.
- Frozen milk lasts 2-3 months at 0°F.
Thaw frozen milk overnight in the fridge before use. Give a good shake once thawed and pour into smoothies, cereals or coffee as usual.
Almond milk can keep well for 7-10 days when properly stored in the refrigerator after opening. Look for changes in smell, texture and appearance to determine if it has spoiled. Keep opened containers chilled, tightly sealed and practice good hygiene to maximize shelf life. With some planning and creative use in recipes, you can enjoy delicious almond milk for a week or more after opening.