For many of us, it seems we are fighting a losing battle with milk and its expiration date. Sometimes you end up using it before the date hits, but for many of us, it seems like the time comes out of nowhere and we have to dump gallons of milk down the drain.
Others ask can you freeze milk because they have found an excellent deal at their local grocery store, but know they won’t use it all in time. No matter how you look at it, milk is expensive, so whether you want to stock up at a low price or not waste your money by having to throw it out, freezing milk is your best option.
Although you can freeze it, it is not a simple matter of throwing a whole or a half gallon of milk into the freezer. If you want to freeze your milk you need to take the time to do it right. In this article, we not only teach you the best way to freeze milk; we also show you how to store the product and how to thaw it.
Can You Freeze Milk?
If you wondered how can I freeze milk – there are specific steps you need to take to ensure you are freezing milk correctly. The thing to remember when figuring out can you freeze milk is if it’s past the sell-by date. Milk must be frozen before the expiration date has passed.
To freeze the milk, remove at least one cup of milk from every whole gallon. Milk expands when it freezes, so every gallon requires some headspace; usually, 1 ½ inches is adequate. If you fail to leave enough room, the gallon may burst and leave behind a mess inside your freezer.
Always freeze liquid in plastic containers; never freeze inside glass containers. Glass cannot withstand the extreme temperature changes and will either crack or shatter during the freezing process. Always put the lid back on the milk jug before freezing.
If you want to freeze smaller amounts to use in various recipes, pour milk into smaller containers or ice cube trays. If using ice cube trays to freeze your milk, once frozen, remove and place inside a freezer bag to store inside the freezer for up to three months.
How to store milk?
The key to storing milk inside the freezer is making sure it is inside an air-tight container. Air-tight means paper cartons are out, but that doesn’t mean the liquid can’t be frozen. To freeze milk from a paper carton, transfer it to a plastic jug for freezing.
Something else to think about when storing milk inside your freezer is what you are keeping next to it. You can safely store milk in the freezer for up to three months, but for the freshest tasting milk, use it within a month or two. Milk can change flavor during the freezing process based on what it is stored next to it.
Milk can pick up various flavors through plastic jugs, with fish being one of the worst offenders. When storing a gallon in the freezer or fridge, keep it away from strong smelling foods, including most meats and seafood.
How to Thaw Frozen Milk
It doesn’t take long to thaw milk; it is often ready to use within a day. The smaller the container of milk, the faster it melts. Regardless of the method, you use thawed milk within seven days. Never refreeze milk after it has thawed.
You have two methods you can use when thawing your milk. You can place it in the fridge or use a sink of cold water. Never allow thawing at room temperature as the quality becomes compromised if it becomes too warm.
The refrigerator is your best choice, but the sink and cold water work in a pinch. When using the sink, only use cold water and replace the old water with new water once it reaches room temp. If leaving for an extended time, place the milk in the fridge to finish thawing.
Can milk be frozen without affecting its texture?
To answer the question can you freeze milk without affecting its texture is no, you can’t. Frozen milk doesn’t lose any nutrients, but once thawed out; you will notice a change in its composition.
The reason for this change in texture is due to the separation of fat. Not everybody enjoys drinking frozen milk, but there are some ways to get most of the texture back.
After thawing, shake gallon jugs to help mix the fats back into it. For the best drinking results, shake the gallon every time you use it to incorporate the fats. Shake it by hand or use an immersion blender.
If you are not a fan of the way frozen milk tastes for drinking, use it for your cooking and baking needs, such as rice pudding. Frozen milk works well for oatmeal but hits the spot in smoothies and ice cream.
Another idea is to use milk instead of water in condensed soups. Not only does this allow for a creamier soup, but it also adds nutritional value, as well.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Ice cream is one of everybody’s favorite dairy products; it can be eaten plain, enhanced with a variety of mix-ins, or as toppings for your favorite baked dessert. It is so simple to make using only five ingredients.
Whisk the ingredients and pour into an ice cream maker. Follow directions for your ice cream maker for churning. Eat immediately or place inside an air-tight plastic container for freezing.
Quick Tips for Freezing Milk
Always freeze milk before the expiration date. While you can freeze it on the day of, it is not recommended by the Dairy Council as there is a high risk of the milk already being spoiled. Freezing milk past the expiration date is a waste of time and will take up valuable freezer space.
How well fresh milk freezes depends on its fat content. The less fat the milk contains, the fewer changes you will have to deal with; skim and low-fat milk freeze better than whole milk.
Raw milk can be frozen, and for the best results, freeze it while it’s still fresh. When thawing out raw milk never shake it while it’s still frozen. Shaking while still frozen prevents the cream from mixing. Raw milk only keeps in the freezer for one month, compared to three months for store bought milk.
Extend the shelf life of your chocolate milk by freezing it the same way you would regular milk. For best quality, use within four months, but if frozen at a steady 0°F, it will stay safe indefinitely.
We hope this article answered the question about can you freeze milk. If you found any of these freezing milk tips or ideas useful, please share them, as well as your favorite milk recipe, with others on Facebook and Pinterest.