Since the quarantine began, most of us aren’t going to the grocery store as often as we used to. The thing is, when it comes to refrigerator staples like milk, you can’t buy too much at once and risk that it will turn rancid before you have time to use. No one wants to waste food, but it turns out that you can freeze your milk and save it for later!
Even if you’re not a dairy milk drinker, you can freeze other products like almond and soy milk, too. However, it’s not as simple as sticking your milk carton in the fridge. In fact, doing so can lead to a big mess since milk expands when frozen, unlike plain water. So make sure you follow these instructions for freezing milk the right way.
How to Freeze Milk
Before you attempt to freeze your milk, make sure you check the sell-by date on the carton. As long as that date hasn’t passed, your milk should be good to freeze (although, doing a quick sniff-check doesn’t hurt).
Since milk expands in freezing temperatures, you won’t be able to freeze your milk in the container you purchased it in. Thin glass and paper cartons won’t hold up, so choose a plastic freezer-safe container to use. Empty the contents of your milk carton into your chosen container, being careful not to fill it to the absolute brim.
Milk is known to easily absorb scents, so you’ll have to be particular about where you store it in your freezer. Try to keep it away from meats and fish, as these will make your milk smell bad.
Frozen milk might also change textures due to the separation of fats in the milk. Low-fat milk like 1% and 2% will freeze better and have less separation, since they’re lower in fat content. Whole milk will separate slightly upon freezing, but it still freezes well. If the separation bothers you, simply put the milk into a blender and blend until smooth — good as new!
If you’re freezing plant-based milk alternatives like almond or soy milk, they can take on a grainy texture, so you might not want to freeze your plant-based milk if you plan to drink it on it’s own, but feel free to do it if you’re using it in recipes!
According to the FDA, you can freeze milk and keep it for up to three months, which is much longer than its typical shelf-life! To thaw your milk, you can remove it from the freezer and place in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have all that time, place it in a bowl filled with cold water and allow to thaw. Once your milk is thawed from frozen, don’t refreeze it and be sure to consume it within three days.
We hope this tip helps you in your effort to shop only when absolutely necessary, conserve more, and waste less!
This story originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.