Finding out does soy milk go bad can save you from quite trouble.
Over the last couple of years, soy milk has become a trendy staple in kitchens all over the world. We can’t say we are surprised by this.
First and foremost, soy milk is, as we will see in the following article, is an incredibly healthy food stacked with beneficial elements and nutrients.
Second, since it represents a plant-based drink, soy milk is an excellent milk supplement for vegetarians, vegans, and people with lactose intolerance. Whether you like to eat tofu, start your day with cereals, or simply want to spice up your morning coffee, soy milk does all these duties just as well as the classic dairy alternative.
But, how does soy milk holds up when it comes to shelf life? Dairy products are known as perishable products that can survive very short if they are left unrefrigerated. What about the plant-based alternatives?
Let’s try to find out.
Soy Milk Vs. Cow Milk – What’s Better For You?
Now, we have briefly mentioned that soy milk serves as an excellent dietary supplement for all the people who, for some reason, can’t consume cow milk. But, is soy milk worth buying and preserving even if you are not faced with similar nutritional restrictions?
We say hell yeah. As a matter of fact, this plant-based milk variety outclasses its animal-farm distant cousin by a mile.
Here’s a short break nutritional breakdown of these two milk varieties:
As we can see, traditional cow milk has one distinct advantage over the plant-based soy alternative. Of course, we are talking about the unusually high amount of calcium – a mineral vital for bone health and development.
On the other hand, soy milk takes a clear winner when it comes to the presence of saturated fats, or lack thereof to put it more precisely. If you want to lose weight and maintain a healthy, balanced diet, soy milk is the way to go.
Soy Milk Health Benefits
Of course, even when considered on its own merits, this plant-based drink offers a couple of very unique benefits that should definitely motivate you to put soy on your grocery list.
Soy Milk Improves Hearth Health
Looking at the nutritional table above, we can see that soy milk packs a very high amount of protein. Aside from being an essential building block for muscle growth, this biomolecule has been proved to have strong effects in preventing various health disorders as well. Some studies also suggest that switching to soy-based protein may help you lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by a whole 3%.
Soy Milk Relieves Relief From Osteoporosis
In this case, we are about women in post-menopausal years of age. Studies have shown that in this delicate period, an animal protein diet increases the excretion of calcium through urine. Soy-based milk provides the body with a healthy dose of this beneficial element but doesn’t produce similar adverse effects.
Soy Milk Acts As An Antioxidant
Soy milk is a product that is very rich in various antioxidants, which can prove to be quite beneficial in fighting off some chronic diseases. We are talking about medical conditions, like oxidative stress and liver damage. Also, soy milk has a positive effect on reducing menopausal symptoms in women.
Soy Milk Has A Strong Anti-cancer Potential
Last but not least, we have to mention that soy milk packs a very high amount of estrogen. This fact may turn off the male part of the population. But, since estrogen deficiency is suspected to be one of the leading causes of breast cancer, soy milk can definitely help ladies going through menopause to do a bit of health prevention.
So, with all these benefits in mind, soy milk is definitely worth having in your kitchen and preserving for as long as possible. But, for just exactly how long?
Soy Milk – The Shelf Life
People often think that since soy milk features a plant-based origin, it features a much longer shelf life than its animal-produced fat, saturated dairy cousin. Well, this belief is true – at least partially. While soy milk has a slightly longer shelf life than traditional cow milk, the time you are getting is not something to write home about.
So, proper storage is more than recommended. We’ll get to that in a minute. Let us first see what kind of shelf life you can expect in this short breakdown:
|Shelf-stable (unopened)||Best by 2-4 months||–|
|Shelf-stable (opened)||–||7-10 days|
|Refrigerated (unopened)||–||Best by 3-5 days|
|Refrigerated (opened)||–||3-7 days|
Keep in mind, though, that some types of soy milk are branded as “ultra-pasteurized,” meaning they were produced to push the shelf-life limits. In their case, you can bump the unopened pantry time to whole eight months. Once opened, the milk behaves similarly.
There you have it – not great, not terrible. Once you let the soy genie out of the bottle, the clock starts ticking, and it ticks fast.
But, before we see how you can stretch the time we have presented above, let us quickly consider one more option.
See Also: How Long Does Powdered Milk Last?
Can You Freeze Soy Milk?
The short answer would be – yes. As a matter of fact, freezing soy milk could theoretically extend its life to an indefinite period. In practice, you will get a good six months of But, there are a couple of things to take into consideration.
Namely, soy milk loses a great deal of its taste and quality after thawing, which is very unfortunate. Especially taking into consideration that the drink already has a rock-solid shelf-life if left unopened.
But, if you really want to go down this route, these are the steps you should take:
- Pour the cold milk into an ice cube tray. Solid trays tray do the job more than adequately.
- Put the trays into the freezer and wait until the milk freezes. No set time, do a couple of checkups.
- Get the trays out of the freezer and move the cubes into an air-tight plastic container, preferably a sealed box.
- Chuck the containers back into the freezer and keep them there until the next thawing.
If you are wondering why you need to bother with the milk cubes, the simple answer would be rationing. You can thaw the soy milk once, but that’s the path with no return.
How To Store The Soy Milk To Extend Its Life
And now, let’s see what to do if you simply want to push the soy milk to its regular seven-day shelf limit.
Well, soy milk is very rich in nutrients that make one an enjoyable environment for the growth of microbes that cause food-borne illnesses and spoilage. So, the best thing you can do to preserve the milk for as long as possible is to prevent these bacteria from getting into contact with the drink.
So, keep the container safely sealed. If you can, transfer the milk into a glass bottle that provides far better protection than the carton packages. The bottle lids are also more efficient when it comes to sealing.
Second, for a number of reasons, direct sunlight is the arch-nemesis of all types of milk, and your favorite soy variety is no exception. Therefore, do your best to keep the liquid in some dark, secluded place.
Finally, do something about the temperature. The soy milk does a solid job of repelling the bacteria at room temperature, but you can’t lose anything by going slightly lower or even by putting the bottle in the fridge.
How To Tell If Soy Milk Is Bad?
This is a good question. With a shelf-life so short and no options to push it for even a bit further, you do want to have a reliable way to see if the milk has gone bad.
In this case, one of the most obvious tells is the bloated package (unless you have transferred the milk in the glass bottle). How does this happen? It’s simple – the bacteria within the milk is slowly releasing the gas that gradually bloats the package and gives you one big red flag to take notice of.
Another thing to keep an eye on is the color that is usually off-white. When the liquid starts thickening and picking up a darker hue, it’s probably time to throw it away.
Last but not least, you can always ask your nose for help. Just like cow milk, and any other milk for that matter, soy milk starts smelling very sour when it goes bad. In any of these three cases, throw the container into the bag.
We hope you like this short breakdown of soy milk’s short but inspiring shelf-life. This drink is simply too good, too beneficial, and far too expensive to be easily thrown away. So, do your best to extend this narrow time frame for as long as possible.
Of course, there is always an option to simply put the liquid into the freezer, which is perfectly ok if you are ready to lose some of its taste during thawing. But, something’s gotta give. As long as the drink is safe for use and preserves its beneficial qualities, it’s well worth the effort.