Have you ever wondered if it’s okay to drink milk that has been frozen? If you’ve got more milk than you can use and you don’t want it to go to waste, you might be thinking of putting some in your freezer, but is this okay, or can it cause problems?
Can you drink milk that was frozen? Yes, you can drink milk that was frozen, although you may find that it has a slightly grainier texture than fresh milk. Many people use frozen milk in other ways, e.g. baking, cooking, hot drinks, but it is perfectly safe to drink as long as you froze and defrosted it correctly.
Is it Safe to Freeze Milk?
As long as the milk is still reasonably fresh, it is perfectly safe for you to freeze it. You should do so as soon as possible when you realize that you are not going to use it up in time, as this will maximize its shelf life once defrosted again.
Freezing does not reverse the bacterial spread that eventually leads to the milk spoiling. It simply stops the process while the milk is frozen. If you freeze milk about three days before it is due to go off, it will last for about three days once it has been defrosted. Be aware of this, and make sure you are handling milk safely.
You can safely freeze all kinds of milk, and they should all taste fine when defrosted. As long as they are fresh enough when frozen, they will be perfectly safe to consume when you thaw them. However, freezing will not undo spoilage, so don’t freeze milk that has gone off, or that is very close to going off.
How Should You Freeze Milk?
You can freeze milk in the original container as long as it is plastic, or you can decant it into small portions to make it easier to use up when you thaw it. Do not freeze milk in glass, and if you decant it into other containers, make sure you leave room for the milk to expand when it freezes.
You shouldn’t freeze milk in glass containers because the liquid will expand when it freezes, and this could cause the glass to shatter. Plastic containers have a little more flexibility and will usually
flex even if they are full. However, you should still leave a gap so that the liquid can expand without splitting the container.
Does Frozen Milk Taste Different?
No, milk doesn’t take on a different taste after it has been frozen, but you should shake it well once it has thawed to mix the fat back in. This sometimes separates out during the freezing process and needs to be recombined.
You will likely find that you can’t tell the difference between milk that has been frozen and milk that hasn’t, although some people notice a slight change in the texture. This is usually quite subtle and shouldn’t have much impact on the milk, but if it bothers you, use the milk for cooking or baking, as it should be unnoticeable there.
How Long Does Frozen Milk Last?
Milk should last almost indefinitely in the freezer, but some sources say that you should use it up within six months, and the FDA recommends only storing it for three months. This assumes that the milk was reasonably fresh at the time of freezing.
If you have accidentally left milk in your freezer for too long, you should smell it and inspect it carefully before you consider using it. It may be better to discard it, especially if had developed a strange taste, smell, or texture while in the freezer.
How Should You Defrost Milk?
When you want to defrost the frozen milk, make sure you do this by placing the milk in the fridge to thaw, rather than leaving it on the counter. It may be tempting to put it on the counter, as it will take a long time to defrost in the fridge, but this isn’t safe and will cause the milk to spoil more quickly.
This is because the outside of the milk will thaw quite fast, while the inside is still frozen. The outside will then start to warm up to room temperature. Once it passes 40 degrees F, the rate at which bacteria can breed in it will massively increase, meaning that the milk will quickly start going off, even when the inside is still frozen.
Just as you would not leave thawed milk at room temperature, you shouldn’t leave frozen milk to thaw at room temperature. Place it in the fridge, or use cold water to defrost it. If you want to use cold water, put the milk in your sink and run cold water over it, refreshing the water every so often to keep it cold.
Do not thaw the milk using hot water or warm water, as this will heat the outside up while the inside stays cold. This exacerbates bacterial problems, and needs to be avoided. The water must be cold so that the outside of the milk stays chilled while the inside gradually thaws.
You can also thaw frozen milk in the microwave, but you need to be careful, as heating will ruin beneficial enzymes in the milk, making it less nutritious. It might also ruin the flavor, and can encourage bacterial spread.
If you do thaw the milk in the microwave, make efforts to use it up much more quickly. Even if you thaw the milk in cold water, you should use it more quickly, as it won’t last as well. If you thaw the milk in the fridge, it should last for longer.
Does Frozen Milk Turn Yellow?
Yes, frozen milk turns yellow; this is normal and doesn’t indicate that there is any problem with the milk. It will revert to white when thawed.
There are a few theories about why milk turns yellow, but it is likely because riboflavins in the milk freeze more slowly, and they get separated out. They are yellow, and this color becomes visible until the milk has thawed.
You can freeze milk perfectly safely, and it will be fine to drink after you have defrosted it. However, if you find the texture isn’t as good, you may wish to use the milk up in cooking instead.