Making sure that perishable food products are properly stored is essential to avoiding food borne illnesses and bacteria in your home. When it comes to products like almond milk – which are often bought at room temperature – can you refrigerate them? And further, why should you refrigerate them?
Almond milk is safe to store at room temperature until it has reached its “best by” date, as long as the seal has not been broken. After the seal is broken, it should be refrigerated to prevent spoiling. But if you’ve left it out, unsealed for more than 2 hours, you can no longer refrigerate it and should toss it out.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing the best way to safeguard your almond milk in the fridge, how long it stays good in the fridge, and the important reasons why you should refrigerate it. We’ll also highlight when almond milk is no longer good to keep in the fridge. Now, let’s dive in!
Can You Refrigerate Almond Milk?
You absolutely can refrigerate almond milk, and you definitely should after you’ve broken the seal. You may opt to refrigerate your still sealed almond milk if you prefer to drink it chilled for the first use.
Even if you are just opening the seal for the first time and the “best by” date is several weeks away, it must be stored in the refrigerator.
The same is true when it comes to homemade almond milk, as opposed to store bought almond milk. You can and should refrigerate the product once you’ve finished making it.
Make sure that you use an airtight container to seal it, and only keep it for about 4-5 days in the fridge. If it sours before then or develops a foul odor, throw it out.
How to Refrigerate Almond Milk
There are a few specifics to note when it comes to refrigerating almond milk properly. Number one, make sure that the container you are storing your almond milk in – if different from the one it came in – is clean and sterilized. This will prevent any bacterial growth and early spoiling of your almond milk.
The second thing you should note is that, if using your own container to store the milk, you should make sure that it’s an airtight container.
And third, always ensure that you are resealing and moving your almond milk to the fridge as soon as you are done using it in the kitchen. This will minimize the potential of it reaching an unsafe temperature and/or developing bacterial growth.
How Long to Refrigerate Before Expiration
Most almond milk products last a good 7-10 days, on average, after you have broken the seal and put them in the fridge. However, you should always use the product as directed. Certain brands of almond milk may last longer than others after opening.
Furthermore, it’s possible that your almond milk will expire before this time period is up in circumstances such as:
- Fridge malfunction
- Power outages
- Waiting too long to put the carton back in the fridge after use
So, always give your almond milk a sniff before you use it, as a sour smell could indicate that it has already gone bad and should be disposed of.
Temperature for Refrigeration
In the refrigerator, your sealed almond milk should constantly be at a temperature of around 40°F or below. Most refrigerators are already pre-programmed to stay at 37-40 degrees F.
Refrigerating Almond Milk After Heating
Some people are concerned over the safety of consuming warm almond milk or even keeping their almond milk after it has been heated.
Warm almond milk is safe to drink if heated directly in your microwave or over the stove. But after you’ve heated the beverage, you shouldn’t re-refrigerate it.
Refrigerating Unopened Almond Milk
Note that a properly sealed carton of almond milk that has not yet met its “best by” date does not require refrigeration. In this condition, almond milk can be stored at room temperature (about 70 degrees F).
And you can keep sealed almond milk in these storage conditions for as long as the specific product’s shelf life denotes. This could vary depending on the brand of almond milk, but most products last up to 2 months if sealed and stored properly. Check the “best by” or “best if used by” date on the carton to be certain.
It’s not until you have broken the seal on your almond milk that you’ll need to refrigerate it during storage.
Furthermore, homemade almond milk should not be stored at room temperature, even if you have just made it and sealed it.
When Can’t You Refrigerate Almond Milk?
There is obviously no logical reason to refrigerate almond milk if it is already spoiled.
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, no perishable foods should be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Further, no perishable foods should be left out at temperatures over 90 degrees F for more than 1 hour, as might happen when pouring the beverage in an outdoor setting.
This includes almond milk that you’ve poured in a glass, as well as a carton of almond milk with a broken seal.
If you’ve surpassed this time frame, you shouldn’t bother to reseal the almond milk and refrigerate it, as it will become a home for bacterial growth. You could put yourself at risk of contracting a foodborne illness if you consume it at this point.
If you’ve ever wondered can almond milk be refrigerated? or been confused by the unrefrigerated packaging at the store, hopefully this guide has cleared some things up. Until the seal has been broken, a carton of almond milk can be stored at room temperature until its best by date.
After the seal is broken, it should be stored in a refrigerator at a constant temperature of around or below 40 degrees F, for no more than 7-10 days. If left out for more than 1-2 hours, unsealed, at room temperature or higher, the almond milk will go bad.