More and more people are beginning to purchase their groceries in large quantities which means you’ll need to freeze some of it. We’re all familiar with the infamous Costco run that leaves you with a year’s supply of toilet paper and 6 jugs of milk.
Assuming that you aren’t going to drink all 6 gallons of milk before they spoil in the refrigerator, what do you do? Can you freeze some of the milk jugs so we can use them later?
Milk can be frozen in a plastic bottle as long as there are 1 to 2 inches of space from the top of the bottle. Milk expands when frozen so milk cannot be frozen in glass or cardboard containers. Frozen milk can be stored for 3 to 6 months.
Thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator for about 24 hours and consume thawed milk within 48 to 72 hours after it’s defrosted.
So freezing milk is a great option for storing extra jugs or liters of milk. Let’s cover some tips and things to look out for before you start freezing your extra milk.
Freezing Skim vs Low-fat vs Whole Milk
Before we dig into the step by step for freezing and thawing milk properly, we need to cover what types of milk you can freeze.
The good news is you can freeze any type of milk. However, skim, low-fat and other types of milk that contain more water and less fat will freeze better. You can even freeze non-diary milks since most contain a high percentage of water.
The reason why whole milk and other high fat milks are trickier to freeze is because fat and water will separate when freezing. This means you’ll see a layer of fat at the top of the milk jug when frozen.
This can become challenging when thawing the milk out since it requires more stirring and shaking to mix everything together. If the milk is not properly mixed then you might pour out a cup full of fat or have watery milk which is very undesirable.
Steps For Freezing Milk
Now that you know which types of milks to be caution when freezing, let’s cover the steps to properly freeze a plastic milk jug:
- First pour out milk from the bottle so there is 1 to 2 inches of space from the top of the jug
- Securely close the jug and wipe down any moisture on the outside of the jug
- Write the date on the milk so you know when the milk is frozen (it will last up to 3 to 6 months)
Freezing milk is a fairly simple process and will ensure that you can keep your milk from spoiling before getting the chance to use it.
Make sure that you freeze the milk before the expiration or use by date since freezing milk will not save spoiled milk.
Even though the Dairy Council of California states that milk can be frozen for up to 3 to 6 months, it’s best to use milk as soon as possible. Milk can absorb odors from nearby food so the taste and texture can change the longer the milk is frozen.
Steps For Thawing Frozen Milk
Thawing milk is a simple but slow process since the milk but be kept at a cold temperature the entire time. Room temperature will encourage microorganism growth which you do not want.
Here are the simple steps to safely thaw frozen milk:
- Remove frozen milk from freezer and inspect for any cracks in the plastic container
- Wipe outside of any ice
- Place frozen milk jug in the refrigerator and wait 24 hours
- Frozen milk can also be thawed in cold water but must be submerged so that the milk stays cool
Once the frozen milk is thawed then you can safely consume your milk for the next 2 to 3 days.
Changes In Milk After Freezing
Freezing milk can cause some texture and taste changes.
Milk can have a different texture once frozen since the water and fat will separate. This is why skim or low-fat milk is easier to freeze compared to whole milk.
If the milk is mixed well enough after it is thawed then the texture can feel grainy or chunky. You can blend your milk before serving in order to reduce any unpleasant textures.
Milk can also taste differently when frozen since frozen milk will absorb the smells and flavors of food stored around it. So if you have a big cut of stinky fish in your freezer then the milk can take on some fish smells and flavors.
Ideally you want to use your milk as soon as possible in order to avoid any new flavors and smells. It’s also best to keep smelly items away from your milk in the freezer.
It is possible to freeze milk to store it for a longer period of time. There are a few things to keep in mind such as using a plastic bottle, having room for the milk to expand when it freezes, and keeping the milk away from smelly foods.
Milk can be frozen in a plastic bottle but there are a few things to keep in mind. Milk will expand when frozen so it’s recommended to have 1 to 2 inches of space from the top of the bottle. Since milk expands when frozen, you cannot freeze milk in a glass or cardboard container. Frozen milk can be stored up to 3 to 6 months. Thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator for about 24 hours and consume thawed milk within 48 to 72 hours after it’s defrosted.