Can you freeze Almond milk?
Almond milk is gaining a lot of popularity in recent times. It is a perfect alternative for people who are health-conscious, vegans because it contains zero animal products, people who are allergic to dairy products/ lactose intolerant and people who just enjoy the flavor it gives.
It has a velvety texture, it is rich, creamy and can be thickened into a coffee whitener or used in curries and stews.
Shelf life of almond milk
Most times, the shelf life of almond milk is dependent on how you store it when opened and unopened.
After opening almond milk, you should consume refrigerated almond milk within 7 days.
Some Almond milk sold at supermarkets are ultra-pasteurized. That is, they are heated at 280 degree Fahrenheit for a few seconds to kill good and bad bacteria, prolonging the shelf life.
Almond milk in this category is shelf stable and can last for 7 to 10 days.
Shelf stable almond milk most times come in large cartons. When stored this way unopened, it can last for 3 -4 weeks after carton packaging.
The aseptic carton packaging is designed to prolong the shelf life of the almond milk for an extended period of time.
Homemade almond milk
Your homemade almond milk has a lease shelf life. It can last for 3-5 days when properly stored in an airtight pitcher in your fridge.
Can i freeze almond milk?
Yes, you can freeze almond milk but it’s important you are aware of the shelf life and signs of spoilage which could affect the texture, consistency, flavor and color. This is because almond milk goes through biochemical changes in the freezer that could lead to spoilage if left to exceed the shelf life.
Signs of almond milk spoilage
- Sour taste
- Thicker texture
- Starts to clump
- Color changes
- Unusual bloated carton
What brings about the flavor and texture change in almond milk?
Almond milk contains 88% water and the remaining percentage is of small particles or components containing fat droplets, protein, cellulose and fiber.
The temperature at which every molecule hardens (freezing point) differs. Therefore, the freezing point does not occur at the same temperature; the freezing point of water is higher than that of fat and protein.
Water molecules begin to organize themselves together as the temperature drops and push other components away towards the bottom.
These components dissolve into the fat layer which settles at the bottom as it’s heavier than water.
The fat layer eventually freezes below and takes on a yellowish stinger that is not visible when suspended throughout the water phase.
The separation explains the color change you see in frozen almond milk.
After almond milk has fully thawed, the separation becomes visible and the taste during this period is usually hollow with an inconsistent texture.
However, to reverse these effects, you have to vigorously shake the components and water blend together to eradicate the yellowish color.
Most shelf-stable almond milk sold at supermarkets contains emulsifiers that help in recombining the components when they separate.
For homemade almond milk, you can add an emulsifier like sunflower lecithin for this purpose.
Procedure for freezing almond milk
- Freezing almond milk in small quantities such as an ice cube tray can make the separation less noticeable. How does this work;
- Get your ice cube tray, pour your almond milk into the tray compartment. Ensure to leave a little bit of gap because the liquid tends to expand when frozen, so do not overfill.
- Put the tray into the freezer and allow to freeze. You can decide to wrap it in a cling film if you are worried about things falling into the tray or spillage.
- Once the almond ice cubes are frozen, you can transfer them into a labeled and dared freezer bag.
- For a larger quantity of almond milk, use larger airtight containers and make sure to leave 1 or 2 inches of space at the end as almond milk expands because of its high water content.
Tips for freezing almond milk
- Freeze in portion sizes
This is the first thing you should take note of. After freezing your almond milk, you’ll have to unfreeze it before use so it’s important you freeze in the right proportion.
After thawing it and taking the quantity you want, refreezing may not be a good option as it catalyzes the separation process, making it look very obvious that’s why it’s advisable you free it in small quantities.
- Blend after thawing
Almond milk will split when you freeze it and then thaw it. After thawing it, pour into a blender and give it a blitz to enable it to mix together.
You can also defrost almond milk by leaving it in the fridge to thaw slowly or putting it into a bath of lukewarm water.
Almond milk is a very healthy and highly nutritious kind of milk you should incorporate into your diet.
Storage could be a lot more demanding as it’s shelf life isn’t as long as some other food products we eat but this piece of article should be able to help you solve storage problems and still maintain the best quality of almond milk after purchase.