Almond milk is a great alternative to whole-fat cow's milk. Fans of almond milk include even those that are not lactose intolerant because compared to dairy products, it has a signature nutty taste and creamier texture. However, almond milk has a curious quirk: it sometimes freezes in the fridge! Does freezing mean it is spoiled or is no longer useful? Don't worry, we've done our research to find out exactly why almond milk acts this way and begins freezing in the refrigerator.
As it turns out, almond milk freezes in the fridge because of two reasons:
- The refrigerator you use has uneven spots of cooling.
- Almond milk is more similar to water than it is to milk.
Often, the areas of the fridge that are closer to the freezer get colder, and putting your almond milk at that spot would cause it to freeze when it eventually reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even though it froze, almond milk can still be used as if it was fresh, albeit with slight differences. Will these changes impact the nutritional value of the milk? Will it taste the same? We have asked the experts, so continue reading to know the answers and find out how and when it is best to use frozen almond milk!
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The Main Cause Of Almond Milk Freezing In The Fridge
Refrigerators have been in use for decades, but it is not common knowledge that your fridge’s insides may have inconsistent cooling. The closer you get to the freezer, the colder the fridge shelves usually get.
Because of this, the nearest shelf to the freezer (usually the top shelf) may reach temperatures of less than the usual 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature gets cold enough, your almond milk will freeze. In general, you would want to put your almond milk on the fridge door or a few shelves away from the freezer if you want to keep it from freezing.
The Reason Almond Milk Freezes Quicker Than Cow’s Milk
Almond milk is not like regular, full cream cow’s milk at all. Almond milk is created by crushing almonds, blending the bits with water, and then straining the mixture. Sometimes, people also use almond butter instead of fresh almonds. This is why almond milk has its signature nutty taste.
Full cream cow’s milk and other dairy products are not made of water; instead, they are mostly made of fat. Since they contain more fat, milk freezes at -0.516 to -0.540 degrees Celsius compared to water’s freezing point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, almond milk is 90% to 98% water, so it is not at all surprising that almond milk freezes quicker than regular milk. Fret not, because freezing does not make almond milk completely unusable.
What Happens If Almond Milk Freezes?
Almond milk is an oil-in-water emulsion, which means it is a combination of two liquids that don’t usually mix. In this case, it is water and almond oil or almond butter. Freezing emulsions will often cause the two liquids to separate.
Once frozen, the water in almond milk will freeze on the top and the oils will solidify at the bottom. The nutritional value stays the same, but the taste and texture of the milk will be very different. Even big brands like Silk and Almond Breeze do not recommend freezing. According to the Almond Breeze website, freezing would cause the product to “separate irregularly and greatly reduces the consistency of the product upon thawing.”
The same is true for other kinds of non-dairy milk alternatives such as soy milk and cashew milk. Once frozen, these milk alternatives will have their water and ingredients separate, with the denser oils settling at the bottom.
Can I use Almond Milk If It Froze?
You can still use frozen almond milk in the same ways you would use fresh almond milk. You can opt to defrost the milk or use it frozen. There are many ways to use thawed and frozen almond milk. Just remember that due to the change in texture and taste, drinking defrosted almond milk is not a great idea.
To thaw almond milk, you can put it in the fridge overnight. Do not put it in lukewarm water or at room temperature to thaw, because it will worsen the separation of the ingredients and will speed up the spoiling process. Once it turns back to liquid, you can reincorporate the almond milk by vigorously shaking the carton. Shaking the carton is the most convenient, especially if you are going to use the milk for cooking.
However, the best way to use almond milk again is to put it in the blender, regardless if it is frozen or defrosted. Blending ensures that the ingredients are properly mixed back together, and would result in almond milk that is almost identical to its fresh counterpart.
Defrosted almond milk is great for cooking and baking, and is a great alternative for those that are lactose intolerant. You can use defrosted almond milk to make amazing cakes and delicious curries. You can even boil it to thicken the almond milk and use it as your coffee creamer.
Frozen almond milk is great for cold and frozen treats because it’s already cold. You can put frozen almond milk directly into the blender with frozen avocados and other fruits to create a delicious smoothie or a healthy post-workout shake. You can also use frozen almond milk to make sweet, healthy, vegan almond ice cream!
How Long Is Frozen Almond Milk Good For?
Frozen almond milk can be kept in the freezer for months, as long as you keep it frozen and in its original container. If you opt to transfer it to smaller containers before freezing, it will last for around 2 months before it spoils.
However, remember to use almond milk immediately after thawing. Defrosted almond milk has a lifespan of 3 days at best, which is a lot shorter than a regularly opened carton of almond milk. An opened carton of almond milk has a shelf life of at least 7 days.
Can You Freeze Almond Milk In Ice Cube Trays?
Freezing almond milk in ice cube trays is a great idea, especially because you can get the exact amount you need for your recipe without having to defrost a whole carton. After freezing the almond milk in the ice cube tray, you can transfer them to a freezer bag and tightly seal it. You can then use the frozen milk cubes for all purposes, from cooking to making drinks. Just remember to take only what you need and return the other milk ice cubes to the freezer, or else all of them will spoil.
Almond milk freezes in the refrigerator because of uneven cold spots in the fridge. These cold spots may occur in shelves directly next to the freezer, so it’s best to keep almond milk as far away as possible from those areas.
Nevertheless, frozen almond milk is just as useful as its fresh version, but having a different texture and taste. This change can be remedied by shaking the can vigorously or blending the almond milk. After reincorporation of its ingredients, the almond milk you have will be almost the same as it was pre-freezing. By following proper procedures, your almond milk will still help in making healthy, delicious, lactose-free, vegan dishes, drinks, and desserts!