Cashew milk has become incredibly popular as a vegan-friendly and lactose-free alternative to regular cow’s milk. But does cashew milk go bad? It’s made with nuts, after all – won’t it spoil like other dairy products?
In this blog post, we’ll get into the details of cashews, store-bought versus homemade nut milks, traditional dairy products vs. non-dairy alternatives, and provide answers to questions like “how long does cashew milk last?” and “what happens if I drink expired nut milk?”.
Keep reading to find out all you need to know about storing your delicious homemade cashew milk!
What Is Cashew Milk?
Cashew milk has creamy texture with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. It can be used in a variety of ways such as in coffee and tea, with cereal, in smoothies, in baking, in hot chocolate, and in cooking.
Nutritional Content of Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is low in calories, typically ranging between calories per cup. It’s a healthier alternative for those watching their calorie intake.
- It has healthy fats, that are beneficial for heart health.
- The milk generally contains less than grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates per cup.
- Cashew milk is often fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E.
Homemade cashew milk may have a different nutritional profile, often made from whole cashews and water.
How Long Does Cashew Milk Last?
The shelf life of cashew milk depends on whether it’s homemade or store-bought, and whether it’s opened or unopened.
Store-Bought Cashew Milk
Store-bought cashew milk in a refrigerated carton, however, can last up to two weeks after opening if kept constantly chilled.
Unopened, it generally has a long shelf life and can be used until the ‘use by date’ printed on the milk carton. This makes it a convenient option for those with a dairy allergy.
Homemade Cashew Milk
Homemade cashew milk, similar to homemade almond milk, usually lasts up to seven days when continuously refrigerated and properly stored.
Always remember, the key to maintaining the best quality of cashew milk is proper storage – keep it refrigerated and tightly sealed when not in use.
Does Cashew Milk Go Bad?
Just like any other plant-based milk, cashew milk can indeed go bad. Fresh cashew milk, which is usually homemade, has a shorter shelf life while store-bought pasteurized cashew milk can last unopened for several months due to the preservatives and the pasteurization process that kills bacteria.
Interestingly, there’s also shelf-stable almond milk and cashew milk available in the market. These variants undergo a special packaging process that allows them to be safely stored at room temperature until opened. After opening, they need to be refrigerated and consumed within a week or so.
How to Know if Cashew Milk Has Gone Bad?
Cashew milk, like other plant-based milks, can indeed go bad. There are a few signs that indicate spoiled cashew milk.
- Unpleasant Smell: Fresh cashew milk has a mild, nutty aroma. If it starts to emit a sour or weird smell, it’s likely gone bad.
- Sour Taste: Cashew milk should have a creamy, slightly sweet taste. If it tastes sour, it’s best to discard it.
- Change in Texture: Fresh cashew milk has a smooth consistency. If it becomes chunky or develops a thick layer, it’s a sign of spoilage.
- Past its ‘Best By’ Date: While an unopened carton of cashew milk can last until the ‘best before’ date, once opened, it typically lasts about one week when properly stored in the refrigerator. If it’s past this time, it’s safer to throw it out.
It’s crucial to note the storage instructions and expiration dates on plant-based milk products to ensure their freshness and safety.
Does Cashew Milk Expire?
Yes, cashew milk does expire. Just like expired almond milk, it can develop an unpleasant smell, sour taste, and change in texture.
The expiration date on carton is a good indicator of its shelf life when unopened. Once opened, it should be consumed within 7-10 days for the best quality.
What if You Drink Expired Cashew Milk?
Drinking expired cashew milk can lead to discomfort, much like if you were to drink expired almond milk or dairy milk. You may experience digestive discomfort, such as bloating, diarrhea, or stomach cramps. It’s always best to avoid consuming expired products.
Can You Use Cashew Milk for Cooking and Baking After the Expiration Date?
While it might be tempting to use expired cashew milk in cooking and baking, it’s not recommended. The expiration date on the package is there for a reason — it indicates the estimated time until the product may start to deteriorate in quality and safety.
If your cashew milk has passed its expiration date, it’s important to check for signs of spoilage. If any of spoilage signs are present, it’s best to discard the milk.
Even in cooking and baking, using spoiled milk can affect the taste of dishes and potentially cause foodborne illness. It is important to always prioritize safety when using food products that have expired.
Factors That Help Cashew Milk Stay Fresh Longer
Several factors contribute to the longevity and freshness of cashew milk:
1. Proper Storage
One of the key factors in prolonging the freshness of cashew milk is proper storage. Unopened, store-bought cashew milk can be kept at room temperature until it’s ready to use. Once opened, it should be refrigerated immediately. This slows down the growth of bacteria and extends its shelf life.
2. Consistent Temperature
Cashew milk should be stored at a consistent, cool temperature. The back of the fridge is usually the best spot as it experiences fewer temperature fluctuations. Frequent changes in temperature can cause the milk to spoil faster.
3. Avoid Cross-Contamination
Always use clean utensils when handling cashew milk to avoid introducing bacteria into the milk. Cross-contamination can significantly shorten the shelf life of cashew milk.
4. Sealed Packaging
Keeping the cashew milk container tightly sealed when not in use also helps maintain its freshness. Exposure to air can introduce bacteria and speed up spoilage.
5. Use of Preservatives
Store-bought cashew milk often contains preservatives to extend its shelf life. These additives slow down the growth of microorganisms that cause food to spoil.
6. Freshness of Cashews
When making homemade cashew milk, the freshness of the cashews used plays a big role in how long the milk will last. Fresh, high-quality cashews will produce milk that stays fresh longer.
By considering these factors, you can make sure that your cashew milk stays fresh and safe to drink for as long as possible.
How to Store Cashew Milk Correctly?
Like all perishable items, it requires proper storage to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage. To store cashew milk correctly and prevent spoilage, follow these steps:
- Unopened Cashew Milk: When dealing with unopened cashew milk cartons, ensure they are properly stored in a dark place, away from direct sunlight or heat.
- Refrigeration for Freshness: Once opened, transfer the cashew milk to the refrigerator promptly. It may stay fresh for up to seven days when stored in the main body of the fridge, not on the fridge door.
- Airtight Container: If you’re making homemade cashew milk, store it in the clean, airtight container to prevent air exposure and potential contamination.
- Extended Shelf Life: For longer-term storage of homemade cashew milk, consider freezing it. Cashew milk can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
Remember that proper storage practices are key to maintaining the quality and safety of cashew milk, ensuring it remains suitable for consumption.
Can You Freeze Cashew Milk?
Yes, you can freeze cashew milk. However, keep in mind that the texture might change upon thawing, making it potentially less suitable for drinking straight but still usable for cooking or baking purposes.
Always remember to leave some space at the top of your container when freezing, as the milk will expand.
Culinary Uses of Cashew Milk
Cashew milk, made by blending cashews and water, is a vegan friendly alternative to cow’s milk. It is often used as food additives in various recipes due to its creamy texture and nutritious content.
You can use cashew milk in baking, smoothies, or even as a base for a good shake. Furthermore, cashew milk is a great choice for those seeking dairy alternatives due to dietary restrictions or personal preference.
Other Alternative Milks To Cashew Milk
Oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk are all other alternative milks to cashew milk. These types of milk, along with other plant milk options, present a healthy alternative to cow’s milk.
Each milk offers unique nutritional profiles and flavors. Like cashew milk, each of these other alternative milks is a great choice for those seeking dairy-free options due to dietary restrictions or personal preference.
So, Does Cashew Milk Go Bad?
In conclusion, cashew milk, like all dairy alternatives, does have a shelf life and can go bad. Generally, an opened container of cashew milk will stay fresh for almost about 7-10 days in the refrigerator.
Always be sure to check for signs of spoilage such as an unusual odor, change in color or consistency, or mold. If any of these are present, it’s safer to discard the milk.
Extending its freshness through freezing is possible, but be aware that texture may alter upon thawing. Proper storage is key to keep your cashew milk at its best quality.