We all know the horror of opening the fridge for the milk to pour on our cereal, and getting that sour, god awful smell or worse the chunks that land in your cheerios. No doubt about it - your milk is sour. And your stomach has probably turned sour too.....
As a vegan, I have come to realize that non dairy milks do not have that same big red flag. So how do you tell if almond, soy or coconut milk has gone bad?
Well first thing is to refer to the expiration date. This is a no-brainer. If the date has passed, toss it. Why take the chance. Granted plant based milk does last a whole lot longer than cow's milk, so there is a plus - 2-3 weeks once opened for most non dairy milks. Coconut milk a little shorter due to the higher natural oil content - oils get rancid hence get sour tasting.
Second thing - look at the container - is it unusually bloated? Is there a little "phew" when you twist the cap off? This could be a sign your milk has turned.
Second, take a whiff - don't worry, there will not be that gut wrenching gag reflex smell of sour cow's milk. There may be a slightly sour, "off" smell to your milk. Sign two. Look at your milk - is the color and consistency different than when you first opened it? Look for parts that are thick, moldy or curdled, and milk is no longer smooth and creamy looking.
Still not sure? Well the only thing left to do is taste it. This is where I hesitate myself, but I have a true physical aversion to sour milk. Is the taste off? Coconut, almond and soy milk are mild in flavor and slightly sweet. If your milk no longer has this taste, but is stronger, slightly sour, or just off in taste - it is time to toss the milk.
Many non dairy milks come in both shelf stable and refrigeration needed varieties. Be sure you know which one you have purchased. Always store opened milk in the refrigerator to avoid bacteria from growing. Never drink from the carton - this will introduce bacteria into the carton putting your milk more at risk for spoilage. Never leave milk out on the counter for long periods of time. And always watch your expiration dates.
Bottom line? Bloated, sour, and no longer smooth? Toss the milk and have some toast.