Almond milk is a plant-based milk alternative made from almonds that are ground and mixed with water.
It has become a popular choice for those who are lactose intolerant or looking for a healthier alternative to cow’s milk.
But like all dairy products, it is important to know how long almond milk can sit out, especially if you are storing it for later use.
Knowing this will help ensure the safety and quality of the milk, as well as prevent foodborne illnesses.
In this article, we’ll explore the factors that affect the shelf life of almond milk and provide recommendations on storage and safety.
Read Also: What To Eat With Milk at Night – 15 Easy Options
How Long Can Almond Milk Sit Out?
According to the USDA, any container of almond milk should be refrigerated immediately after opening and should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. This is because temperatures above 40°F can cause bacteria to rapidly multiply, potentially leading to foodborne illness.
Leaving almond milk out any longer than two hours increases your risk of food poisoning and can cause the milk to spoil, so it’s best to store it in the refrigerator and consume it within the recommended timeframe.
Factors that Affect the Shelf Life of Almond Milk
- Temperature – Almond milk is highly sensitive to temperature, and even a small change can significantly shorten its shelf life. The ideal temperature for storing almond milk is between 32-40°F, which is in the range of a typical refrigerator. Room temperature, on the other hand, should be avoided as it can cause bacteria to grow and spoil the milk faster.
- Exposure to Light – Light can also impact the quality of almond milk, causing it to spoil faster and lose its fresh taste. Therefore, it’s important to store the milk in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or refrigerator.
- Bacteria and Microorganisms – Almond milk can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms, especially if it has not been pasteurized. The growth of bacteria can cause the milk to spoil, and if consumed, it can lead to foodborne illness.
- Type of Almond Milk (Unpasteurized or Pasteurized) – The pasteurization process kills off harmful bacteria and extends the shelf life of the milk. Unpasteurized almond milk, on the other hand, has a shorter shelf life and is more susceptible to spoilage. When purchasing almond milk, it’s important to look for a pasteurized brand to ensure the safety and quality of the product.
Recommended Time Limits for Almond Milk
- Room Temperature (65-72°F) – At room temperature, almond milk should not be kept out for more than 2 hours. Beyond that, bacteria can grow and spoil the milk. If you need to store the milk at room temperature for a longer period, it’s best to keep it in a cooler environment, such as an insulated bag or cooler.
- Refrigeration (40°F) – When stored in a refrigerator at 40°F, almond milk can last up to 7 days. However, it’s important to regularly check the milk for signs of spoilage, as this can vary depending on the temperature, brand, and other factors.
- Freezer (-20°F) – Almond milk can be stored in a freezer for up to 3 months. When freezing the milk, it’s best to store it in an airtight container, as this will prevent freezer burn and keep the milk fresh for longer. However, it’s important to note that freezing the milk may cause a change in texture and taste, so it’s best to use it for cooking or baking rather than drinking it straight.
Signs of Spoiled Almond Milk
- Visual Changes (Curdling, Separation) – If almond milk has gone bad, it may have visible changes such as curdling or separation. This can occur due to the growth of bacteria or changes in temperature. If you notice any curdling or separation, it’s best to discard the milk and not consume it.
- Off-Odor or Taste – Another sign of spoiled almond milk is a sour or rancid odor or taste. If the milk has a sour or off smell or taste, it’s best to discard it, as this is a clear indication that it has gone bad.
- Increased Thickness – Almond milk that has gone bad may also have an increased thickness, which can be caused by the growth of bacteria. If you notice that the milk has thickened, it’s best to discard it and not consume it, as this can indicate spoilage.
Precautions to Take when Storing Almond Milk
- Proper Sealing and Containment – In order to ensure the longevity of your almond milk, it is imperative to store it in a proper, airtight container. This can prevent contamination and spoilage, allowing the milk to remain fresher for longer. Ensure the container is well-sealed to prevent any air from entering and affecting the quality of the milk.
- Regular Monitoring of Temperature – Regularly monitoring the temperature at which you store your almond milk is crucial in ensuring its longevity. Exposure to high temperatures can cause bacteria to grow, resulting in spoilage. If the temperature fluctuates, it is best to transfer the milk to a cooler environment, such as a cooler or insulated bag.
- Avoid Cross-Contamination – Cross-contamination can easily occur when storing almond milk, particularly if it comes into contact with raw meat, poultry, or other contaminated food products. To avoid cross-contamination, it is best to store the milk in a separate compartment in the refrigerator, away from any raw or contaminated food products.
- Store Almond Milk in the Back of the Refrigerator – Storing almond milk in the back of the refrigerator can prevent exposure to light and help maintain a consistent temperature. The back of the refrigerator is generally the coolest part, which can help prevent spoilage and extend the shelf life of the milk. Furthermore, storing the milk in the back of the refrigerator can help reduce the likelihood of it being forgotten or overlooked, ensuring that it is used in a timely manner.
In conclusion, it is important to understand the factors that can affect the shelf life of almond milk, as well as the recommended time limits for storing it.
Exposure to high temperatures, light, bacteria, and cross-contamination can all lead to spoilage and render the milk unsafe for consumption. Proper sealing, containment, and temperature monitoring are key precautions to take when storing almond milk.
Importance of Proper Food Safety Practices
Proper food safety practices are essential to maintain the freshness, quality, and safety of our food.
This not only ensures that we avoid food-borne illness, but it also helps reduce food waste and maintain the quality of the food we consume. Understanding the key points mentioned in this article can help you better understand the shelf life of almond milk and ensure that it remains fresh and safe for consumption.
In light of these considerations, it is recommended to store almond milk in a cool, dark place, such as the back of the refrigerator, and to monitor its temperature regularly.
Additionally, it is important to avoid cross-contamination and to properly seal and contain the milk. Regularly checking for any visual changes, off-odors or tastes, and increased thickness can help you determine if the milk has gone bad and needs to be discarded.
By following these guidelines, you can help ensure the quality and safety of your almond milk, and make the most of this delicious and nutritious dairy alternative.
How Long Can Almond Milk Sit Out?
- Almond Milk
- Follow the instructions for storing your almond milk.
- Enjoy for as long as it lasts!
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.