An ice-cold glass of milk is the perfect accompaniment to chocolate chip cookies, a gooey brownie, or slice of apple pie. Packed with calcium and protein, this creamy beverage also provides essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Your family may enjoy milk at every meal or save it for enjoying with snacks. Milk is also ideal for replenishing muscles after a workout. However often you drink it, you want your milk to stay fresh and tasty for as long as possible. Check out these tips for keeping your milk fresh and delicious.
9. The Shelf Life of Milk
When you buy a gallon of milk at the supermarket, it comes with a date stamped on the carton. This “best by” date indicates when the milk will be at its freshest and tastiest. According to Eat by Date, properly storing your milk can keep it fresh for a week past this printed date. Unopened non-fat or lactose-free milk can stay fresh the longest, retaining goodness seven to 10 days past the “best by” date. Skim and reduced-fat milk may hold freshness for seven days when stored in unopened containers at proper temperatures. Whole milk spoils the soonest, risking spoilage after five to seven days.
8. At the Grocery Store
To ensure you bring home the freshest milk possible, shop for unrefrigerated items before heading to the grocery store coolers. Milk should be one of the last items on your shopping list to make it into your grocery cart. When selecting your carton of milk, keep in mind that stores stock the newest containers toward the back of the shelves. Check the dates on the milk cartons and avoid purchasing any items that will expire before you can use them. This may mean reaching behind the front cartons to select the fresher products behind them.
7. Store Milk in the Coldest Part of the Fridge
When you get home, immediately place your milk into the refrigerator. Take care to keep your milk in the coldest section of your refrigerator. This is typically the lower portion of the fridge, toward the back. Keep your milk refrigerated at temperatures at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing warm items, such as leftovers, next to milk in the refrigerator, as they can transfer heat to the milk and hasten spoilage.
6. Avoid the Refrigerator Door
Many refrigerators come with compartments in the door that are the perfect shape for storing a carton of milk. Unfortunately, the door is one of the worst areas in the refrigerator for keeping milk fresh. Items in the door are constantly exposed to warmer temperatures as the door is opened when seeking snacks or recipe ingredients. Keep your milk deep within the colder parts of the fridge and save the door for hardier items such as condiments and soda. While you are rearranging your refrigerator, move eggs to the interior of the fridge as well.
5. Freeze Milk for Future Use
You can store milk in your freezer for future use. This works well if you are heading out of town and won’t be able to use up the milk you have on hand in the fridge. Since milk expands when frozen, the Dairy Council of California advises leaving room in the carton to allow for expansion. If you have a full carton of milk, you may want to pour off a cup of this creamy beverage before placing the rest of the container in the freezer. Thaw the milk in the fridge when you are ready to use it.
4. Storing Canned Milk
Canned milk has a different shelf life than fresh milk. You can store canned milk at room temperature until you open the container. According to USA Emergency Supply, there are three types of canned milk. Manufacturers pasteurize UHT milk at high temperatures to prolong shelf life. Unopened packages of UHT milk usually sport a shelf life of around six months. Meanwhile, vacuum-heating removes water from evaporated milk, which is then heated and sterilized. Cans of evaporated milk may not contain expiration dates. Finally, you will typically find a “best by” date stamped on cans of sweetened condensed milk.
3. Shelf Life of Powdered Milk
The beauty of powdered milk is that, when properly stored, it can stay fresh for years. According to Eat by Date, an unopened box of powdered milk can last in your pantry for two to 10 years. Opening the package allows access to moisture and contaminants. Keeping the container tightly sealed can preserve the freshness of the powder. Once you have mixed the powder with water, you should keep the mixture in your refrigerator and consume it within four to five days. Discard powdered milk if it becomes discolored, clumpy, or smelly.
2. Milk That Sits Out
Sometimes you may discover you have left a carton of milk sitting out on your kitchen table or countertop. To preserve freshness and prevent spoiling, it is best to keep milk at room temperature for no longer than two hours. If your kitchen is exposed to high, humid temperatures, you will want to return milk to the refrigerator within one hour. If you are unsure how long your milk has been out of the fridge, use your nose to determine if it has spoiled.
1. How to Tell If Milk Is Spoiled
Typically, it is easy to tell if milk has gone bad. A sour smell is usually the first indication that your milk is past its prime. If you manage to fill your glass before your nose alerts you, then you may be dismayed to find stinky chunks and clumps in your drinking container. Avoid drinking milk that is discolored, foul-smelling, or lumpy.