The popularity of non-dairy milk alternatives just keeps growing. Soy, oat and almond milk are becoming an ever more common sight on supermarket shelves. Naturally, the more popular it becomes the greater the tendency to buy too much! As a result, a question I see being asked more and more is ‘what happens when you freeze almond milk?’
You’ll find that the answer varies depending on who you ask. Several brands like Blue Diamond actually advise against freezing it all. Others, myself included, believe that freezing almond milk is absolutely fine for most purposes.
In this article, I’ll tell you what happens when you freeze almond milk. I’ll also walk you through freezing it and thawing it in a way that maximizes quality. Give it a thorough read!
- 1 How Long Does Almond Milk Last?
- 2 How to Tell if Almond Milk Has Gone Bad
- 3 Can You Freeze Almond Milk?
- 4 When You Should Freeze Almond Milk
- 5 How to Freeze Almond Milk
- 6 What Happens When You Freeze Almond Milk?
- 7 How to Defrost or Thaw Almond Milk the Right Way?
- 8 How to Use Frozen Almond Milk
- 9 Can You Refreeze Almond Milk?
How Long Does Almond Milk Last?
The answer to this question changes depending on the type of almond milk you’re using. This is because the shelf life of homemade almond milk differs quite significantly from the commercial variety.
Homemade Almond Milk
Because it doesn’t have any preservatives, homemade almond milk will typically last for three to four days before going bad.
Commercial Almond Milk
Most commercial almond milk brands are ultra-pasteurized.
Ultra-pasteurized means that the milk is heated to 280 degrees fahrenheit before being rapidly cooled. This process helps to extends the shelf life of store-bought almond milk.
Just to make things slightly more confusing, there are two varieties of commercial almond milk that you’re likely to run across – refrigerated and shelf stable.
If your almond milk was bought from the refrigerated section of the store, you should consume it within seven to ten days of opening.
The other variety of commercial almond milk is shelf stable. This means that it can be stored at room temperature before opening. How long can you store it before opening? Well, there’ll be a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the package. Usually you can use it up to 3 weeks after this date.
Whilst shelf stable almond milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated before you open it, it should be placed in the fridge once you do. After that point it will last for up to 10 days.
|Homemade Almond Milk (Refrigerated)||3-4 days|
|Refrigerated Almond Milk||7-10 days|
|Shelf-stable Commercial Almond Milk (Unopened in Cupboard)||Up to 3 weeks after 'best before' date|
|Shelf-stable Commercial Almond Milk (Opened - Refrigerated)||Up to 10 days|
How to Tell if Almond Milk Has Gone Bad
The first time I accidentally took a swig of expired almond milk, I could tell right away it had gone bad. The big giveaway was the change in taste – it was so sour it was hard not to spit it straight out!
Not a pleasant experience, and one I’d like to help you avoid. Fortunately, other than a rancid taste there are a couple of other ways to tell if almond milk has gone bad.
First of all, a sour smell is a clear sign that your milk has expired. If your almond milk has a pungent odor, throw it out!
The overall look and texture of bad almond milk will also change. You’ll notice that it’s thicker than usual and will start to look clumpy. Chuck it out if this happens – it isn’t good anymore.
Can You Freeze Almond Milk?
The shortest and most concise answer to this question is, ‘yes, you can!’
However, you’ll need to proceed with a bit of caution. Freezing almond milk incorrectly can ruin it. You have to take care and follow a specific process.
The same thing goes for thawing or defrosting the product as well. Trust me, I’ve spoiled my fair share of almond milk because my thawing process was wrong.
When You Should Freeze Almond Milk
In truth you should only freeze almond milk if you’re planning to use it in a recipe. If you’re planning to drink it after thawing, I’d advise against it.
Why? Well the main change that happens to almond milk when freezing is a change in texture. Whilst this doesn’t make it unusable, it does make it much less pleasant to drink.
On the other hand, you won’t notice the change in texture when blending thawed almond milk into a recipe.
Defrosted almond milk also works well in protein shakes and smoothies. In fact, if you freeze it in cubes you can chuck the frozen milk straight in to your smoothie recipe before blending!
You’ll find that different brands of almond milk have different results when frozen and thawed. Experiment with a few brands to see which one works best for you.
How to Freeze Almond Milk
There’re two ways of freezing almond milk, depending on how much you’re planning to freeze at a time. Let’s discuss the two methods.
Freezing Almond Milk in Cubes
Freezing almond milk in cubes takes a bit of work compared to just freezing it in a container.
However, the plus side is that it allows you to measure and thaw exactly the amount of milk you need. This makes it ideal for protein shakes or use in recipes that need almond milk.
- To begin, pour the milk into an ice cube tray.
- Pop the tray inside your freezer. It should only take you a few hours to get the job done. Personally, I let the cubes freeze overnight.
- Once they’re frozen solid, transfer the cubes of almond milk into a freezer bag or container. If you use a freezer bag be sure to work fast and minimize handling so that the heat from your hands doesn’t thaw the ice. Be sure to squeeze all of the air out of the bag before sealing. This will help to reduce the risk of freezer burn.
Using a Container to Freeze Almond Milk
Using a container is the quicker method for freezing. Done right, you can get it ready for a trip to the freezer in as little as three minutes.
- Consider how much of the milk you’re likely going to want to thaw at a time before freezing it. Don’t forget, you’ll have to thaw the contents of the entire container together. If you think you’ll be defrosting portions individually the ice cube tray may suit you better.
- Add your milk to your chosen container or containers. Keep in mind that it will expand when frozen, so be sure to leave some space for this to happen.
- Pop your almond milk in the freezer until needed!
What Happens When You Freeze Almond Milk?
There are noticeable changes that happen when freezing almond milk.
Some of the changes are visual. Others you’ll notice when tasting it.
- First of all, almond milk will increase in volume when frozen as I mentioned earlier. You’ll see the color turn to a lighter shade than it was before.
- Freezing will affect the taste as well. You might not notice the nutty flavor at all. It can also taste a lot more watery once thawed.
On the plus side, that’s it for the negatives! Freezing doesn’t impact the nutritional value of the product at all. It’s perfectly safe to consume and use in your recipes.
How to Defrost or Thaw Almond Milk the Right Way?
There are two simple methods to defrost almond milk:
Defrost in the Fridge
The method I recommend is defrosting your milk in the fridge.
This slowly brings the temperature up, defrosting it gradually. It does take longer but when defrosted this way consistency is minimally impacted. The best thing to do is to let it defrost for 12 to 16 hours in the fridge.
Defrost Using Cold Water
We’re all busy these days, I get it. Often, you won’t have 12 to 16 hours on your hands. If you’re after a quicker way to defrost your milk, you can use cold water to bring it up to room temperature.
To begin, pour cold water into a pot. Then, submerge the bag or container holding your frozen almond milk in the water.
The contents of the container will slowly melt and within 2 hours should be liquid again.
However you may encounter the problem of separation, where the thicker elements of the milk sink to the bottom and the water floats to the top.
To fix that, simply put your defrosted almond milk in a blender and let it run for 90 seconds to three minutes. The consistency will return to normal.
How to Use Frozen Almond Milk
Whilst it’s still frozen the best way to use almond milk is in smoothies. If you’ve used the ice cube tray method, simply pop a couple of cubes into your smoothie recipe and blend. This is a great way to make chilled vegan smoothies.
After your almond milk is thawed, you can use it in any recipe that calls for it in the same way you’d use the unfrozen variety. It works a treat in many vegan recipes.
Can You Refreeze Almond Milk?
I’d advise against it.
Instead, freeze your milk in cubes or portions. This will reduce the need to refreeze it, instead allowing you to gradually unfreeze what you need.
If you do refreeze thawed milk, the taste and texture will deteriorate further.