Who does not love yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, creams, cakes, bread, cafe lattes, mocha, and other forms? One thing that these goodies have in common is that they basically use milk.
However, not all are lucky enough to enjoy dairy products, especially with milk due to lactose intolerance. In other words, they have a condition that makes it hard for their digestive system to the sugar called lactose. Besides that, dairy products are a no-no to most vegans and vegetarians since they are sourced from animals – cows, goats, camels, etc. With this worldwide challenge where dairy products are mostly present in people’s favorite dishes, baked goods, and other desserts, non-dairy milk can also keep up with this challenge. Meet soy milk! (You might also want to read our substitutes section articles about soy as a non-dairy alternative: Substitutes for Milk in Coffee, Substitutes for Evaporated Milk – What Can I Use Instead?)
Soy milk, also known as soya milk, is recognized as the old and original plant-based alternative for dairy milk. It was discovered before the 20th century in China. This plant-based non-dairy beverage is made from soybeans low in sugar, rich in protein, fiber, vitamin D, and calcium. Furthermore, its cholesterol level is lower compared to those of cow’s milk!
Culinarily, soy milk has many uses. It gives your dish a creamy texture, and it comes with an excellent nutritional profile. Plus, it serves as a creamy milk substitute in vegan and vegetarian cooking and many milk-based beverages or healthy beverages.
Just like animal-based milk, soy milk comes with an expiration. And it is easy to tell if your soy milk has already gone spoiled.
Find out more in this post!
How to store soya milk properly?
Like any plant-based milk product or non-dairy milk, whether it is almond milk, coconut milk, or others, storing soy milk applies the same way.
Soya milk that is bought unrefrigerated at the grocery store is shelf-stable. So, you will just need to store it in a cool, dry place. It could be in your kitchen cabinet or food pantry. Also, you can keep it in your refrigerator if you have some space there. But it doesn’t make much of a difference when it is still unopened though.
And! If your soy milk was sold refrigerated at the grocery store, then that’s another story. You might as well keep it immediately in the fridge when you get home. Now, if you have already opened the carton of soy milk, you should always keep it in the refrigerator. Putting it back in the pantry will just shorten its shelf life.
Note that soy milk is sensitive to temperature changes. When you refrigerate it, we recommend that you place that soymilk in the middle part of the fridge so that you can maximize its shelf-life. As much as possible, it should be away from the refrigerator’s door, and it should not be stored on the refrigerator’s door because this is the part where temperature fluctuations often happen.
As for soy milk that you just made at home, also known as homemade soy milk, you should always keep it in refrigerated conditions. Never keep it in the pantry because it is never shelf-stable!
Can I freeze soy milk for later use?
Yes, you can keep your soy milk in the freezer, especially if you want to keep it around for a little longer. However, once you thaw frozen soy milk, its taste and texture are expected to diminish. It won’t be as tasty before you have it frozen. Also, the soy milk components will eventually separate, making it look watery, and it may be unappetizing to other’s tastes.
Of course, it does not mean that it is already spoiled. The best way to use thawed soy milk is to cook it in your favorite creamy dishes and iced blended drinks. You will surely not notice the change of texture of your soy milk.
Here is how to freeze your store milk:
- Transfer the soy milk in a sealable container.
You can also place the soy milk in the ice cube tray for cube-shaped milk. However, make sure you have to find ways to cover it. Soy milk can absorb the odors from other food in the freezer, affecting its taste. Or, wait until the cubes are completely frozen then transfer it in a sealable bag.
- When the day comes for you to use the frozen soy milk, take it out of the freezer and have it thawed at room temperature.
How long does it last?
First, you have to know if the soy milk you bought is shelf-stable or not. In other words, it is either sold refrigerated or non-refrigerated.
How are they different? It’s the pasteurization process each underwent. Store-bought milk has usually undergone pasteurization, a method of food sterilization that kills harmful microorganisms at certain temperatures to extend its shelf-life without altering the quality of food.
Refrigerated soy milk is simply pasteurized soy milk that undergoes a High-Temperature Short-Time (HTST) method. Here, milk is raised to a temperature of at least 71 °C (161 degrees F) for at least 15 seconds, or 62 °C (145 degrees F ) for 30 minutes, then rapid cooling is followed.
You shelf-stable soy milk or unrefrigerated soy milk undergoes an ultra-pasteurization process where milk is put at Ultra-High Temperature (UHT), heating the milk higher than 135 °C for just a few seconds, then followed by rapid cooling before it is transferred in aseptic packaging.
Unopened shelf-stable soy milk can last between 8 to 12 months after the date of production. Or, you better check the best by date on the package, which can tell you how long your soy milk will hold its peak quality.
Once opened and refrigerated, your soy milk will last for at least a week as long as it is stored properly. If not, you will only have it for not more than two days.
Homemade soy milk will only last approximately for less than a week in the fridge because it is usually produced without preservatives.
How to know if it has gone bad?
Smell it. That’s the first thing that most people do, and it’s the easiest way to detect sour spoiled soy milk. Good soy milk should have a mild smell of soybeans. If it is already emitting an odorous smell, then it has probably gone bad. There’s nothing you can do about it. Just throw it away.
Check the package. If you notice your carton of soy milk looks abnormally bloated, that’s a sign of spoilage. Probably, microbes have abnormally multiplied in your soy milk.
Check the milk’s appearance. Pour a soy milk sample in a glass and check if it has turned into an unusual off-white color with a less creamy to watery texture. If yes, that’s your sign that it is better to not drink it.
Taste it. Examine the texture of the liquid in a glass. If you see lumps or curds have already formed, or if they have become thicker than usual, then your soy milk is already spoiled. Say goodbye and dispose of it properly.
And, if your carton of soy milk has reached its expiration date, you should dispose of it immediately for safety reasons. You will get nothing out from soymilk that has gone bad. Instead, you will be putting yourself more susceptible to food poisoning symptoms such as an upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
Is it still safe to drink an unopened but expired soy milk?
Actually, it’s up to your judgment whether or not you should drink it. Understandably, you do not want to waste food. So, do it at your own risk. Make sure to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming it. It is better to use everything as soon as possible rather than let it stay longer.
Note that any expired product is expected to not be in its peak quality anymore. We advise you to discard it if it has already expired for your own safety as for soy milk.