3 Tips for extending your milk storage time
Milk can be expensive. In my neck of the woods, it’s going for $3.49 a gallon, which is even more than gas right now. Use these quick tips to extend expiration dates and store fresh milk for a few months longer.
Extend Milk Storage in the Refrigerator
To maximize the shelf life of fresh milk you should keep it refrigerated at all times. That can be hard when you have kids that get busy and don’t put it away, so strive for keeping it at or below 40° Fahrenheit at all times.
Assuming that you have stored it properly, it is safe to drink milk for about a week after the sell by date. For other information about food best by dates, and use by dates, read our post Expiration Dates: Should you pay attention?
The refrigerator door is the worst place to storing your milk. Temperatures there fluctuate too much to keep your milk at the proper temperature. There is an interesting graphic from Food Republic you should check out – Where food goes in the refrigerator. Where does milk go? On the top shelf, along with the juices, iced tea and any other items that need to be chilled but not too cold.
Milk that is kept at room temperature will quickly spoil and it should be discarded all-together if you’ve left it unrefrigerated for more than four hours.
How do you tell if milk is bad? Your nose knows!
Freeze milk for longer storage
If you have the freezer space you can extend your milk storage past the sell by date by freezing it. Some people will not find it acceptable for drinking after it has been thawed, because it separates and becomes grainy, but don’t let that stop you. Give it a try with a small amount and see if your family likes it. Plus, what they don’t know, won’t hurt them – right?
If they don’t care for it, you can always use it for cooking and baking. Freezing milk does not cause it to have an off taste.
To freeze: use the same container you purchased it in and leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Milk, like water, will expand when frozen so you need to leave room. Remove from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator.
Consider pouring milk into ice cube trays and using them frozen in smoothies. Once the cubes are frozen, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag, and pull out a few at a time when you need it.
How long does frozen milk last?
Michelle from Grocery Saving Tips offers this little gem: “We’ve lived in 6 different states and I have consistently found that I can purchase gallons of milk cheaper at gas stations (convenience stores) and even dollar stores than at the local grocery stores. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Whatever the reason is, you might as well try it in your town too.” Read her full post for other great milk and dairy aisle saving ideas.
So now you have it, Keep milk refrigerated at the proper temperature, store it in the right place and freeze it to extend the shelf life. What about you? Do you have any other tips for extending the self life of your fresh milk?