When it comes to dairy products, milk is probably the most loved and consumed. Some people chug a gallon within a day or two. But if you’re not one of those people, you’ve probably been in a situation to pour leftover milk down the drain because it has gone bad.
To reduce food waste, you’re probably wondering can you freeze milk? Well, good news! Milk can be frozen for future use. But, it might turn slightly different once thawed. Read on to find out why.
Is Freezing Milk A Good Idea?
No food or drink should go to waste if it can be preserved. In the case of milk, it’s good to know you can put it in the freezer and prolong its shelf life. But while you can do it, the real question is, should you?
Regardless of what your reasons for freezing milk are, you should know that it doesn’t do much good. It affects the taste and texture, and we’ll get into details in a bit. With that in mind, you should opt for freezing milk only in certain situations (see also Freezing Evaporated Milk). A good example is when milk is very close to its expiration date, and there’s no way you can use it by that time.
Or let’s say you live in a remote area where the closest grocery store is located more than an hour away. In that case, you probably buy stuff in batches, and milk is no exception. In that case, you actually have two options. The first one would be buying milk with a UTH label on it. This is short for Ultra High Treatment, and it means it can be stored at room temperature for up to half a year. We can’t argue that UTH milk tastes a bit different than daily fresh milk due to the high-temperature processing, and that’s not something everyone enjoys. If that’s the case with you, the other option is freezing fresh milk (see also Can You Freeze Chocolate Milk).
Freezing And Thawing – What It Does To Milk Texture And Taste
As we already stated, freezing milk affects the way it tastes once thawed. It also changes consistency a bit. Some people don’t like its flavor and texture after freezing, so keep that in mind when choosing to freeze milk for the first time.
In fact, it would be best to do a little test freeze first. Freeze a container when it’s half empty. Then, take it out to defrost the next day, and try it once thawed. If you end up not liking it, it’s not the end of the world. You can use freeze milk that you plan to use for cooking and baking. Once mixed with other ingredients, the change in flavor will be unnoticeable.
Another thing to keep in mind is that low fat milk freezes way better than whole fat milk does. That’s because fat separates during the freezing process, and milk will appear grainy.
Other Things You Should Know About Freezing Milk
Let’s tackle a few things you should know before freezing milk. You might be tempted to put the unopened container into the freezer, but that’s the wrong way to do it. As you know, the liquid expands when it freezes, and if there’s no space in the container, it will burst, leaving a mess inside your freezer. Whether you’re using a plastic or cardboard container, you should always pour out a bit of milk to make some room for the liquid to expand. Or if you want to freeze a small amount of milk, you can pour it into an ice-cube tray.
As for thawing milk, it’s best done by letting it sit in the fridge. This might take up to two days, depending on how much milk is in the container. Another, faster way to defrost it is to put the container into cold water.
What’s more, you should always shake the container after thawing. That way, the fat that has separated during the freezing process will come together with milk again.
You don’t have to freeze milk with the container you bought it in. Depending on your needs, you can transfer it to a larger or smaller container. One thing to keep in mind is that you should always use an airtight container. That way, milk can’t absorb odors from your freezer.
Finally, always write the storage date on milk before freezing. This is especially important if milk is close to its expiration date. Once thawed, you will know exactly how much longer it can stay fresh.
Milk is one of the most popular drinks around the world. If you drink it a lot, you’ll be happy to know you can freeze it for later. Still, you should expect it to change a bit in texture and flavor. So before you freeze gallons of milk, do a test run first.