Most of us who drink almond milk have been there at some point. You remove the lid, pour it on your breakfast cereal and you’re greeted with a rancid, gloopy mess which turns your stomach. Damn it … not only is your carton of almond milk wasted but you just ruined a perfectly good breakfast! So let’s look at how to keep your almond milk fresher for that little bit longer.
Does Almond Milk Need To Be Refrigerated Before Opening?Homemade and fresh store-bought almond milk needs to go straight in the fridge as soon as you can. UHT or ‘shelf-stable’ products can be kept at room temperature until opened but you should avoid leaving them in the sun or near sources of heat, like a radiator or hot water pipes.
Watch: Chris James from ‘A Healthy Alternative’ on the truth about almond milk!
(Chris is great! He’s a wellness coach who’s helped thousands of people change their lives through his healthy strategies)
Related Read: Can Almond Milk Mess Up Your Stomach?
It Starts At The Store
Generally speaking, if you picked up your almond milk from the refrigerated section of your local store then you should pop it in the fridge when you get home. This applies to all dairy-free milks.
But before you pay for it, a quick inspection is always a good idea. You can often tell if a carton is on the way out by noting if it is bloated. When the milk is starting to turn it begins to ‘off-gas’ and pressure builds up inside the carton.
This is a tell-tale sign that you should discard the carton and try a different one.
Is Fresh Almond Milk More Nutritious Than UHT
Fresh homemade almond milk is vastly more nutritious than both the shelf-stable and freshly bought versions, not least because the percentage of almonds in homemade is usually far greater than the 1-3% you’ll find in most commercial almond milks.
The difference between store bought refrigerated almond milk and its UHT cousin is negligible though. Most non-organic varieties are fortified with nutrients and the only differences you’ll find are between brands using different levels of supplementation.
Does Shelf-Stable Last Longer Than Fresh Once Opened?
I’ve been vegan for over a decade now and in my experience the fresh almond milk goes off a day or so quicker than its shelf-stable counterpart, once they’re opened. Makes sense, since a good percentage of the micro organisms which cause spoilage have been killed by the UHT process.
You will find some variation between brands as some use more preservatives than others. Organic versions usually have the least additives and so perish more quickly than regular almond milk.
What If You Refrigerated Shelf-Stable Almond Milk?
Is it ok to remove it from the fridge for storage?
Yep … nothing wrong with doing that. The shelf-stable product is designed to last for months unopened. It’s like some kind of space food 🙂
So even if your roomie decided to put the UHT almond milk in the fridge you can safely take it out and store it normally in the pantry or a relatively cool part of the building.
FAQ – Almond Milk Storage
How long can unopened almond milk stay out of the fridge?
Answer: The UHT (shelf-stable) variety will often last 3 to 4 weeks after the ‘best before’ date. Fresh almond milk, on the other hand, will begin to perish within a day at room temperature if it is unopened. Homemade almond milk will not even last a day when left to sit out, even if it stays sealed!
As mentioned above, a good idea is to do what the supermarket does. If you picked up your carton from the unrefrigerated section then it is the shelf-stable version. Anything in the refrigerated section needs to stay that way.
Having said that, most people’s homes are a little warmer than your average supermarket so always try to store shelf-stable almond milk in a dark and cool place … don’t leave it on the window cill 🙂
What is the difference between refrigerated and unrefrigerated almond milk?
Answer: The only difference is that unrefrigerated, shelf-stable dairy free milks undergo a process known as ultra heat treatment. This kills a lot of the microorganisms which cause the product to go off and makes it last longer when unopened.
This does affect the taste unfortunately. In most taste tests there is a big difference between refrigerated and unrefrigerated with an overwhelming majority preferring the taste of the fresh, chilled version.
Just Another Piece Of The Vegan Lifestyle Puzzle
Some people choose almond milk because they just like the taste. Simple as that. For vegans though, it has nothing whatsoever to do with taste.
I actually prefer oat milk in my coffee but almond milk certainly has its place. Whatever your preference, the reason we choose almond milk is all about animal rights.
“Oh here we go again!”
I’m just using this space to gently suggest the animals we exploit deserve better. They deserve to be treated with respect.
The human race treats cows and other ‘food animals’ as objects … units of profit and we’re clearly consuming way too many than is sustainable. In fact the global distribution of mammalian biomass is something to behold.
Even if you can’t bring yourself to go vegan, at the bare minimum please consider cutting back on animal products.
If not for you … then for your children.
I hope this article has helped to answer your question in an informative way. If you have more questions please leave them in the comments below – I always respond. Please also share this article with your network using the social buttons.
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Thanks so much for reading and have a peaceful day.
Rohan McAvee is just another vegan blogger trying to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of veganism and plant-based living. Based in the UK, for more than a decade he has been walking the vegan walk, trying to do the right thing for the animals. He’s never really wavered or been tempted to stray from the path and now feels he’s at the point where he can offer advice to new vegans and those considering making the switch. Vegan and loving it!