You must have heard about oat milk if you are a vegan or lactose-intolerant. It is all the talk in today’s time. It is your go-to condiment whether you are allergic to nuts or have celiac disease. But does oat milk go bad if left on the countertop?
Like any other milk, oat milk tends to get spoiled if left open. Oat milk that has gone bad is likely to have molds and discoloration. The cream-ish color will change to a darker shade, indicating the milk is no longer edible. It will also lose its texture and give off an awful smell.
So Let’s get straight to its shelf life.
How Long Does Oat Milk Last?
Oat milk is a shelf-stable condiment that can last long if unopened. However, once the packaging is opened, it can perish within days. Therefore, an open pack must be refrigerated to prevent it from going bad.
Once the oat milk is opened, it can last 9-10 days if kept in the fridge. However, it will lose its nutty flavor after 3-4 days. Although the milk is safe to consume after 3-4 days, its quality degrades before it becomes inedible. Therefore, it is important to refrigerate the milk in an airtight container. Refrigerating it will allow you to keep the milk safe to consume for longer.
Have you ever wondered what makes oat milk lose its quality? Buying a pack of oat milk is easy, but keeping it fresh can be demanding. To help you keep your oat milk last longer, let us discuss a few factors that degrade its quality.
Ever left a pack of half-used oat milk on the kitchen top for more than 3 hours? If yes, you must have noticed it does not have its original taste. They start to go bad when you leave perishable food open at room temperature. As per USDA, a carton of milk can only last for 2 hours at room temperature. Therefore, make sure to refrigerate the half-used milk pack. This will keep the oat milk fresh and safe to use later.
Heat can also make the oat milk go bad. So, leaving a half-used milk pack near a stove will increase the chances of it going bad. Thus, place the milk pack back in the fridge as soon as possible.
3. Exposure (Air and Moisture):
Exposing your opened pack of milk can make it go bad faster. When you leave the oat milk open, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Once the milk gets contaminated, it degrades at a higher rate. Therefore, it is important to seal the milk properly before you store it.
Also Read: Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?
How to Store oat milk the right way?
Now that you know why and how your oat milk goes bad, let’s know how to store it. To store an unopened pack, ensure you store it in a cool, dry place. Oat milk is a shelf-stable beverage that can last long without any problems. Unopened oat milk can last for 8-9 months (or more) when stored properly. An ideal place to store a milk container is a pantry or a cupboard, away from light. Storing the milk properly helps it to retain its original flavor and smell for a long time.
If you have an opened container of oat milk, it loses its shelf-stable quality. To store an open container, seal the pack properly. The pack/ container must be airtight to prevent exposure to air and moisture. Once you have the pack sealed properly, place it in the fridge. This will keep it safe for consumption for a week. Although, the milk might not retain its original taste.
Can you freeze oat milk?
No. If you want to store the oat milk for longer, you want to avoid freezing. It is because oat milk contains water as its primary ingredient. Once you freeze it, the water tends to expand in the container. This will cause the packaging to explode, rendering the milk unconsumable.
Does oat milk go bad ? How to tell if oat milk has expired?
Have you ever been in a situation where the label reads the milk is expired but appears fine? The labels are just tentative indications of when the product was manufactured. However, an expired label does not mean that the condiment is spoiled. So, how can you tell if oat milk is unsafe for use? Well, we suggest you rely on your senses and follow your instinct. Look for the following signs of spoilage to check the quality of your oat milk.
Fresh oat milk is soft, light brown, or cream-ish. If you see the milk appearing darker in the shade, it must be tossed away. The color change indicates the milk has been contaminated. Another reason for the discoloration can also be the ingredients have run stale.
The appearance of mold is another indication of rotten oat milk. A common reason mold appears if you leave the container open and exposed. Thus, if you see mold appearing, discard the milk immediately.
3. Off-putting smell
A sour or off-putting smell indicates rotten oat milk. The milk gives off a rotten smell if it is not stored properly. Leaving the oat milk for months (or years) will also make it smell awful. Take a quick whiff before drinking the oat milk. If the milk emits a sour or bitter aroma instead of a sweet, nutty one, toss it away.
How does spoiled oat milk affect you?
Drinking expired oat milk is safe, but drinking spoiled oat milk is not. Expired oat milk is safe but might not be as flavorful as fresh milk. Rotten oat milk, however, can make you sick. It is because a spoiled oat milk pack is contaminated with molds and bacteria. Consuming rotten oat milk can cause food poisoning. Common symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and nausea. In severe cases, food poisoning can also cause intestinal inflammation. Therefore, make sure to consume only fresh oat milk.
Also Read: Does Tea Expire?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What happens if you drink bad oat milk?
Ans. If the label of your oat milk reads “expired,” the milk can still be safe to consume. However, if the oat milk shows signs of spoilage (mold, discoloration, etc.), it could cause food poisoning. A few symptoms of food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping.
Q2. How do you know if oat milk is off?
Ans. Rotten oat milk can be identified by assessing the signs of spoilage. If the oat milk gives off a rancid smell, appears moldy, or shows signs of discoloration means the milk is bad.
Q3. Does oat milk actually go bad?
Ans. Yes. Just like any other condiment, oat milk can eventually go bad. However, an unopened pack of oat milk is safe to consume even after its expiry date.
Q4. Does spoiled oat milk smell?
Ans. Yes. Spoiled oat milk gives off an unpleasant and rancid odor. Apart from the rancid smell, the sweet taste of spoiled oat milk is replaced by the sour and acidic flavor.
Q5. What does oat milk taste like when spoiled?
Ans. Spoiled oat milk tastes very different than fresh oat milk. A sour and acidic taste replaces oat milk’s sweet and nutty taste when it goes bad. Therefore, make sure to take a sip of the oat milk to check its quality.
Oat milk is a popular choice of beverage for people of all ages. Not only does it go well with baked goods, but it is a great addition to smoothies. But to get the most out of oat milk, you must consume fresh. To keep your oat milk fresh for longer, seal it properly after using it. Keep the oat milk container away from heat and light sources. Do not freeze the oat milk. Any off-smell from the oat milk, immediately toss it away. And if you need help with the quality, rely on your senses and sniff quickly. Remember, buying a fresh pack of oat milk is better than visiting a doctor.