As almond milk continues to rise in popularity, so do the questions around its proper storage and use. One frequent question is, “Can almond milk be frozen?” In short, the answer is yes, but there are some essential considerations and recommendations to remember before you toss your carton of almond milk in the freezer.
Almond Milk: A Dairy-Free Alternative
Almond milk is a plant-based, dairy-free alternative that has gained popularity due to its light, nutty flavor and its suitability for people who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply trying to reduce their intake of animal products. It is made by blending almonds with water and then straining the mixture to remove the solids.
Why Freeze Almond Milk?
There are many reasons you might want to freeze almond milk. For instance, you might have found a great deal at the grocery store and stocked up, or you might not use it very frequently and want to preserve its freshness for longer. Whatever your reason, freezing almond milk is an option to extend its shelf life.
The Freezing Process
Freezing almond milk is quite straightforward. If the milk is in a carton or bottle, ensure there is enough space for expansion as the milk freezes – this usually means ensuring the container is only about three-quarters full. You can also freeze almond milk in ice cube trays for easy portioning. Once frozen, these almond milk cubes can be transferred to a freezer-safe bag or container.
Thawing and Using Frozen Almond Milk
When you’re ready to use your frozen almond milk, it’s best to thaw it in the refrigerator. This can take a few hours, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Once thawed, you might notice that the almond milk’s texture has changed. It can become grainy or separate, with a layer of water on the bottom and a thicker layer on top.
A Quick Shake for Best Results
Before using thawed almond milk, give it a good shake or stir to reincorporate any separation that has occurred during the freezing and thawing process. While the change in texture might be off-putting for some, especially if you’re drinking it straight from the glass, it doesn’t affect the milk’s safety or nutritional value.
Best Uses for Frozen Almond Milk
Due to these texture changes, frozen and thawed almond milk is best used in recipes where the texture isn’t as noticeable. It’s perfect for smoothies, soups, baked goods, or sauces. In smoothies, you can even use the almond milk straight from the freezer, giving your smoothie an extra-cold, almost ice-cream-like consistency.
Almond Milk: To Freeze or Not To Freeze
In summary, while you can freeze almond milk, doing so can cause changes in texture that may be less desirable for certain uses. If you’re planning on using the milk for cooking or baking, or in smoothies, go ahead and freeze away. However, if you prefer your almond milk straight up in a glass, it’s best to keep it in the fridge and consume it within the recommended time frame.