Lovers of fresh animal milk all over the world have become accustomed to the idea of freezing milk. There are those who, for various reasons, use plant-based milk and may also have toyed with the idea of freezing it. One of the most popular plant-based milk varieties is almond milk. So the question as to if you can freeze doesn’t have a simple answer. Let’s take a deeper look at almond milk then discuss freezing it.
What Is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is produced from almond nuts and can be found sometimes flavoured to imitate the taste of cow’s milk. It is completely plant milk. It is favoured by people who are lactose intolerant as it contains no lactose. It also happens to contain no cholesterol. Another group that favour almond milk are vegetarians and vegans. Almond milk traces its origins back to the 13th century in the Islamic middle East. It appeared in cookbooks from the time. It is believed to have spread from there to the Levant. The Levant is a vast historical territory which included present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and most of Turkey south-east. Almond milk was known in both the Islamic world and Christian world. It is believed to have gained wide acceptance in these cultures because it is permissible to consume during Ramadan and Lent.
Can You Freeze Almond Milk?
First of all, you should know that almost all brands of almond milk advise against freezing it.
No reason is given for this advice but it is pretty much standard across the board. That said almond milk can be successfully frozen and thawed for use. Now comes the not so simple part. There are certain things you must be aware of when freezing almond milk and a good method to ensure your success when freezing and thawing almond milk.
The recommended method for freezing almond milk uses ice block trays to freeze the milk in small cubes. This method is favoured because it makes the thawing process much easier.
- Pour the almond milk in an ice cube tray, and put it into the freezer.
- Once frozen solid, move the cubes into a freezer bag or container.
- Label it with a name and date.
- Put the bag or container back into the freezer.
The idea is to freeze the almond milk in a manner that makes it both easy to thaw and avoids the refreezing of almond milk after thawing. By having small serving size cubes of the milk that you can thaw as needed you prevent wastage. It’s much easier to thaw as many as you need.
There are two important durations when it comes to freezing and thawing almond milk. Firstly, frozen almond milk can keep in the freezer for between two and three months and it is highly recommended to use it within that period. The freezing and thawing process tends to separate almond milk and disrupts the taste of the drink. Secondly, once almond milk is thawed it must be consumed within 3 days to be safe. While you may find recommendations of many as five days it is important to consider how long the almond milk was open for before freezing.
The recommended method which we outlined, uses plastic containers to store frozen almond milk. Plastic freezer bags are the best containers given the method freezes the milk in individual ice blocks. You could just as well use small Tupperware designed for freezer storage.
You have to be strict with the storage of almond milk and monitoring its duration. Labelling the freezer bag with the date the contents were placed in the freezer is the easiest method to keep track of this. Also useful if the milk is going to be handled by more than one person.
When thawing almond milk, if you’ve used the block method you have a very easy time. You can thaw almond milk in the fridge. This takes more time but is by far the safest method of thawing almond milk. Place the cubes or containers into the fridge the night before you intend to use them. If you froze your almond milk in larger containers you will have to allow more time for it to defrost. Another option is placing the freezer bag or container into lukewarm water to speed up the process. Please do not use warm water. Cold or lukewarm water is safe and will do the job just fine. If you’re using the frozen almond milk in something that’s cooked you can simply put the frozen cubes in the dish. It may require a little stirring once thawed.
How To Use Defrosted Almond Milk
There are many ways of using thawed almond milk. Those who use almond milk in smoothies can place frozen almond milk cubes directly into the blender with other ingredients. Frozen almond milk is also enjoyed by many in hot beverages like coffee, tea and cocoa. When using almond milk in hot beverages best advice is to slowly warm the milk up and then pour it in warm. This will prevent the milk from curdling. Blending or stirring it during the heating will also help. You can also use frozen or thawed almond milk in baking. A lot of vegan baking recipes call for almond milk. Finally, you can also use thawed almond milk in cooked dishes. Anything that’s cooked on the stove and calls for almond milk is a good candidate.
The short answer is that almond milk can indeed be frozen. It’s best to freeze the almond milk in smaller blocks using an ice cube tray. Once frozen the blocks can be placed in a freezer bag which should be labelled with the date of freezing. Almond milk is best thawed slowly in the fridge or cold water and can be used in a variety of cases.