We have all been there, that moment when you decide to buy milk in bulk because you are saving money on groceries and end up with several gallons.
Milk has a very short shelf life, so if you store it at room temperature or inside your refrigerator, it may go bad pretty fast. Luckily, you have the option of freezing.
Freezing milk is the best way to extend its shelf life. All you need is the right container and you are good to go.
The next obvious thing is thawing milk. There are three ways you can thaw milk; inside your refrigerator, in cold water, and inside your microwave.
You can use any method you prefer, but I do not recommend using the microwave unless you really have to.
So how long does milk last after you thaw it? Frozen milk lasts for about one week. Therefore, it is important that you use it up as soon as possible.
This article gives you all the information you need on freezing milk, thawing it, and using it after you thaw it.
How Long Does Frozen Milk Last After Thawed?
When thawed, frozen milk does not last for a long time. You will have to use it as soon as possible. Thawed milk will stay fresh for 5-7 days.
After that, it becomes sour and goes bad. Make a point of using the milk within one week after you thaw it.
Also, Check out: Can I freeze milk in Ziploc bags?
How to Freeze Milk
Freezing milk is simple and straightforward. The first thing you need to do is choose the right container. You can use the container you bought the milk in, canning jars, Ziploc bags, or plastic containers.
Pour the milk into your container of choice but leave about an inch of space at the top. If you are using the original container that your milk came in, pour out some of the milk.
Milk expands when frozen and space gives it ample room to do so. Not leaving room may make the milk container burst and make a mess inside your freezer.
Seal your container tightly and place it inside your freezer. You can freeze milk for 4-6 months. Remember to label your container so that you can always tell whether or not the milk is still safe to consume.
Also, Check out: Can you freeze almond milk? How to do it right.
How Long does it take for Milk to Freeze Completely?
Milk takes several hours to freeze completely.
I have never timed exactly how long milk takes to freeze, but I can approximate that a gallon of milk will take about 24 hours to freeze completely and become solid when the freezer is at zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Which Varieties of Milk Freeze Properly?
Although you can freeze any variety of milk, not all of them freeze properly. Dairy milk freezes well and also thaws well. Its quality remains pretty much the same even when you freeze it.
Soy milk and nut milk do not freeze well. The color of soy milk changes completely when you freeze it and it also curdles when thawed.
Most nut milk also separates when frozen and curdle when thawed. Therefore, I do not recommend freezing soy milk and nut milk.
Can Milk Go Bad When Frozen?
Milk does not go bad when frozen. When you freeze milk, you change its temperature from about 40 degrees Fahrenheit to zero degrees Fahrenheit.
This extends the shelf life of milk. Freezing stops the milk from deteriorating.
The sell-by date you usually see on milk does not dictate when frozen milk will go bad. Once you freeze your milk properly, it will stay fresh for up to 6 months.
Tips on Freezing milk
- Never freeze milk in paper cartons
As I mentioned earlier, you need to freeze milk in the right container. Paper cartons are not ideal for freezing milk. It is important that you freeze milk in an airtight container. Therefore, if you buy milk in paper cartons, transfer it to another freezer-safe container.
- Split the milk into smaller containers
Whereas it is possible to freeze a whole gallon of milk at once, I suggest freezing the milk in small containers. This way the milk will take less time to thaw compared to when you freeze a gallon at once.
- Use the previously-frozen milk in dishes and smoothies
Milk changes while frozen, therefore, there are a few changes that you may notice. I suggest using previously frozen milk in dishes including baked goods and smoothies. You can also use it in cereal or oatmeal.
- Freeze milk far away from food items that have a strong flavor or aroma
Milk tends to pick up flavors and aroma inside the freezer regardless of the container you store it in. Therefore, do not freeze milk close to any pungent foods like meats, and fish. No one wants milk that smells and tastes fishy.
How to Defrost Frozen Milk
You can easily and safely defrost any type of milk. There are two main methods of defrosting frozen milk; cold water thawing and refrigerator thawing.
You can also thaw milk in your microwave if you need a quick fix. However, I do not recommend using the last method. Let’s discuss how to defrost milk using these methods.
- Coldwater thawing
This method of thawing is quite simple. Just fill your sink with water and then submerge your bottle or container of frozen milk. Set your timer for 30 minutes and then wait.
Once the 30 minutes elapse, press on the side of the bottle or container to confirm whether the milk is thawing. Drain the tap water you were using and fill it with more fresh cold water.
Set your timer for another 30 minutes and wait. Once the time elapses, check on the milk. At this point, most of your milk will be in liquid form.
Pour what you need in a cup or container and let the rest thaw in your refrigerator.
Do not leave the milk in cold water for more than 30 minutes. If the milk thaws and becomes warm, the warm temperature encourages bacterial growth.
- Refrigerator thawing
The easiest way to thaw frozen milk is by placing it inside your refrigerator. However, it will take longer to thaw compared to when you use the cold water method.
Simply remove the frozen milk from your freezer and place it inside the refrigerator. The milk will thaw completely after approximately 24 hours.
Once thawed, shake the milk so that it goes back to its original texture. Thawed milk usually has a grainy texture because it separates when thawed.
Research has shown that the safest way to thaw milk is inside the refrigerator.
- In the microwave
If you are in need of milk and only have frozen milk, you can use your microwave. Just place your milk inside the microwave for approximately 7 minutes.
Always use a microwave safe container for this. Remove the milk from the microwave and shake. The milk would not have thawed completely thawed at this point, so place it back inside your microwave and only remove it when it has thawed completely.
How long does milk last? Click to Read.
Why Is Frozen Milk Yellow In Color? Is it still safe to use?
Once you freeze milk, it tends to lose that pure white color that fresh milk usually has. If your milk is yellow in color, it does not necessarily mean that it has gone bad.
Do not throw out your frozen milk just because it is not white in color. Despite its appearance, it is still safe to consume.
There is a high chance that once you thaw the milk it will go back to its original white color.
What to do when your thawed milk has a grainy texture
There is a chance that your milk will have a grainy texture once you thaw it. Luckily, there is a quick solution to this.
All you need to do is pour the thawed milk into a blender and blend for about 15 seconds. Blending thawed milk restores it to its original texture.
How to Use Thawed Milk
You can use thawed milk the same way you use regular fresh milk. Drink it, add it to your oatmeal to make it thicker, add it to soups to make them thicker, or use it to make pudding.
The difference between using thawed milk and fresh milk is very subtle. Chances are no one will notice the difference.
Freezing lengthens the shelf life of regular fresh milk. It is actually the best way to store milk when you buy it in bulk. We all know that buying things in bulk saves money, right?
You can thaw milk using any of the three methods we have discussed above, and in case the milk has a grainy texture, just pour it into your blender and blend for about 15 seconds to restore its original texture.
Once you thaw your milk, you should use it within one week. Thawed milk will only stay fresh for 5-7 days, so make sure you use all of it before the 7th day, just to be safe.