How Long Does Milk Last? (After Sale By Date)

How long does milk last in the freezer after the sale by date? You can easily consider milk to be a staple of everyday life. From the time when people first began regularly procuring milk from domesticated animals, it has become an important part of many people’s lives. In fact, most people begin their days with a nice glass of milk in the mornings and many people drink a glass of warm milk before going to bed.

Many people include milk in their morning cereal dishes, and many more people dunk their cookies into a nice glass of refreshing milk. Aside from all the countless times you see people drinking a glass of milk, people also use a considerable amount of milk in cooking as well. Both typical cooking and baking make use of milk heavily.

Because of how much milk has been ingrained into regular life, it is more important than ever to make sure that your milk stays in good condition. If not, drinking spoiled milk can quickly become a hazard to your health, and nobody wants this to happen. To make sure that you do not have any issues with milk, there are several things you can do to prolong its shelf life. While many people store their milk in the fridge, you might consider putting the milk in the freezer instead to make it last just a little bit longer than it otherwise would.

How Long Can You Freeze Milk?

Technically, yes, you can freeze milk. Milk is a liquid, and just about all liquids are freezable. However, there are quite a few drawbacks that come with freezing milk. When you freeze milk, you can easily extend its shelf life about three months past the printed date. This works well if you accidentally bought too much milk at the store and do not know what to do with it. But you can only freeze milk for about 3 to 6 months. After that time, the milk will start to absorb other food odors from the freezer and produce a different taste when you thaw it. Freezing milk also does mess with the molecular structure of the drink. In a way, it destabilizes it, making the milk taste “off.” The texture and the color will be a bit off, turning slightly lumpy and with a yellowish tint. Despite appearances, it will still be good to drink if you feel up to it. So, in the end, while you can freeze milk in a pinch, it is generally not the recommended thing to do when trying to store milk. Instead, you should always keep milk in the fridge.

How Long Does Milk Last In The Freezer?

Dairy products are known for being notoriously fast at going bad. Milk is no exception to this. The amount of time your milk lasts in storage depends on two things. The type of milk will affect how long the milk stays good in the fridge by a few days or so, as the molecular structure of the milk is different. Otherwise, the temperature is the largest component. You will always want to make sure your milk is stored in a cold area. The amount of time that your milk lasts will fall into the following:

  • Whole milk will last for five to seven days past the printed date in the fridge.
  • Skim milk will last for seven days past the printed date in the fridge.
  • Reduced-fat milk will last for seven days past the printed date in the fridge.
  • Non-fat milk will last for seven to 10 days past the printed date in the fridge.
  • Lactose-free milk will last for seven to 10 days past the printed date in the fridge.

Once opened, all milk will last five to seven days past the printed date when properly stored in the fridge. In general, you can expect for most milk to last for about a week, aside from whole milk. You should keep a close eye on whole milk when it gets close to a week passing so that you can get a good idea on the quality of it. Drinking bad dairy products is something that you should never try to do. Thankfully, it becomes pretty obvious when milk passes its printed date.

How Can You Tell When the Milk’s Gone Bad?

Milk is also notorious for being very obvious when it passes its printed date. Usually, when the milk is well beyond its time, you will notice the smell first. Rotten milk is well known for its terrible stench, and this will be the first and most obvious sign that the milk is rotten. The moment you twist the cap off a jug of rotten milk, the smell will hit you. If that doesn’t convince you that the milk is rotten, then the next thing will. Then there will be the texture and consistency of the milk. As milk ages, it will slowly begin to solidify. It will be lumpy in texture and it will not be pleasant to drink. All of these changes occur because of the lactic acid in milk producing bacteria.

Before milk reaches this state, there is one thing that you can do to try and make sure that the milk doesn’t go to a complete waste. There are a few recipes that require sour milk. If you do choose to make a recipe with this requirement, you should make sure never to ingest whatever you are making before it is properly cooked. Otherwise, you risk getting the same sicknesses that come with drinking bad milk, which defeats the entire purpose of using it instead of tossing it.

Keeping Your Milk Good for as Long as Possible

If you want to make sure you don’t face a situation such as this, there are a few things you can do to extend the shelf life just a little bit more. For instance, you can place it away from the light, putting it as far away from your fridge’s light source as you can. This will help make sure that the milk lasts as long as possible inside your fridge. Generally, the colder it is the better. If you can set your fridge to one of its coldest settings, this will help you keep the milk good for a little bit longer as well.

You should always make sure that you are keeping the milk away from the door as well. Temperature fluctuations do not do good things for milk, especially considering how sensitive it is. Finally, if you do open the milk to use it, you should make sure that you are storing it as tightly in the original container as possible, since milk containers are designed to keep milk good. By making sure that you do all these things, you can rest assured knowing that your milk will last for the longer end of its time.

If you find that your milk is reaching the expiration date and you do not have another use for it, there are a few things that you can do to make use of the milk before it turns into a waste. If you have cookies or pudding mix, you can quickly go through your milk with this. Not only do most of these mixes take around three cups of milk, the milk also gets heated up in the process, killing off any bacteria that might be thinking about forming.

You can also make some hot chocolate with the milk. This makes for both a wonderful drink on a cold winter night, and it heats up the milk. Finally, if you don’t have the ingredients for any of these, you can consider simply warming up a glass of milk before you go to bed every night. This will help you sleep better, and it takes care of the problem of having milk that you don’t know what to do with.

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