Milk can be an expensive commodity – especially if you buy whole cow’s milk or store-bought products like milk powder.
But you don’t have to spend all that money on milk every time you need some.
You can make your own at home, too.
If you’re new to making your own dairy product, let us help you get started with this guide to how long milk lasts.
How long does milk last in the fridge?
The first step to figuring out how long milk will last is to think about what happens to it when it’s stored in the fridge.
There are several things that happen over time that affect how long milk stays good.
- Temperature changes.
- Freezing conditions.
- Homogenization causes milk to separate into fat globules and water. This means that your milk may not look as creamy and smooth as before (and that it won’t taste as nice).
- Lactose converts into lactic acid during fermentation. If you drink raw milk, this conversion can cause your milk to sour quickly. It also makes the milk more acidic.
- Enzymes break down milk proteins by eating away at them. The longer your milk sits in the fridge, the faster these enzymes will work.
- Acidic conditions can change the color of your milk. Acids break down milk proteins, so they can turn white and curdle your milk if it’s kept for too long.
- Mold growth.
- Molds grow on any moist food that has been sitting around for a while. They’ll grow on the surface of your milk, which can spoil your milk quickly.
How long does milk last after being opened?
Once you’ve opened your carton of milk, you’ll need to keep it from spoiling further.
The easiest way to do this is to refrigerate your milk right away.
Refrigeration slows down the chemical reactions that lead to oxidation, and it helps prevent mold growth.
It’s important to note that once your milk has been open, it should never be allowed to sit out at room temperature.
Even if the milk hasn’t gone bad yet, bacteria can start growing on its surface.
Once it starts smelling bad, you’ll want to throw it out.
How long does milk last if it’s been left out of the fridge?
If you leave your milk out of the fridge but don’t refrigerate it immediately, it should still be safe to eat for up to two days.
After that, though, you’ll want to discard it.
Bacteria can still grow on the outside of your milk.
As long as the milk isn’t sitting in an area where condensation forms (i.e., your kitchen counter), you shouldn’t have any problems.
How long does milk last if it’s been left out of the fridge?
After two days, it’s time to toss your milk.
Bacteria can grow on the surface of the milk, and if you leave it out of the fridge for too long, it can begin fermenting.
Fermenting milk can produce off flavors and smells, and it can even cause it to become spoiled.
How long does milk last if it’s been heated?
When you heat milk, you destroy most of its nutrients.
Your body needs those nutrients to digest milk properly.
However, heating milk doesn’t necessarily mean that it will go bad.
In fact, there are many ways that you can heat milk safely without it going bad.
You can heat milk in a microwave oven for 30 seconds.
Or you can use a slow cooker instead.
Just set the slow cooker to low heat and cook your milk until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius) using a candy thermometer.
Another option is to use a rice cooker to heat your milk.
Just add 3 cups of milk to the bottom pan and then cover the top with a lid.
When the rice cooker beeps, remove the lid and stir the mixture with a fork.
Let it continue cooking for another minute or so until the milk reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius).
How long does milk last if it’s been cooled?
Cooled milk starts to lose its nutritional value after 24 hours.
This is why you should always keep your milk in the fridge once you’ve finished drinking it.
At least, you should do this if you’re storing it for later consumption.
But what about if you plan on drinking the milk right away? You might consider freezing it to extend its shelf life.
Freezing destroys bacteria like E.
coli that can grow in your milk, but it also kills off your milk’s nutritional value.
So, if you’re planning on drinking milk within the next few days, you probably shouldn’t freeze it.
Instead, you can try one of the other methods listed above.
How long does milk last if it’s been pasteurized?
Like we said earlier, pasteurization kills off most of the bacteria in your milk.
But it doesn’t kill off all of them.
That’s because some bacteria like Listeria thrive in pasteurized milk.
These bacteria can cause serious health issues if ingested, so you should avoid drinking pasteurized milk unless you know exactly what it was made from.
A dessert that makes you fantastic is Oat milk ice cream because of its pleasant flavor and unsweetened cream. You can follow the below recipe.
How long does milk last if it’s been homogenized?
Homogenization breaks down large milk particles into smaller ones.
This makes it easier to mix milk into other foods, and it also prevents it from separating into fat and water.
Homogenization also helps your milk stay creamier and smoother when you pour it into a glass.
However, homogenization can also contribute to milk’s short shelf life.
Large pieces of fat can clump together in your milk, which is why it separates into fat and water when you put it in a container.
This separation allows oxygen to reach the fat, which can give it an unpleasant smell and flavor.
The longer your milk sits in the fridge, the more likely you are to experience this separation.
How long does milk last if it’s been fortified?
If you want to boost the nutritional value of your milk, you can fortify it yourself.
Fortification involves adding vitamins and minerals back into your milk.
This is usually done through a process called “homogenization”.
But if you’re looking for something a little more intense than just vitamin D, you can purchase a fortified milk product.
Oat Milk Ice Cream Recipe: The Perfect Summer Snack
- 1 blender
- 1 oats
- 1 milk
- 1 sugar
- 1 vanilla extract
- Making oat milk ice cream is super easy!
- Combine the oats, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Then, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Once frozen, transfer the ice cream to a container and store it in the freezer for up to two weeks.