How to Store Milk

Three Parts:Buying the MilkStoring and Using Regular MilkOther Types of Milk

To make sure your milk stays fresh, it is important you store it is the best possible conditions. With milk costing more than gasoline in many parts of the world it is important to store it with care. Storing milk properly can help make milk last longer, increases freshness and saves you money.

Part 1
Buying the Milk

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    Buy the milk last. Milk should be constantly stored at 39°F (4°C) and by carting it around the supermarket while you casually select your other groceries and browse the cereal aisle, it can really warm up.
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    Pick the milk with the furthest use by date. Look towards the back of the fridge where they usually store the newest milk.
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    Put the milk in a refrigerator as soon as you get home. If you have a long trip before you arrive home, keep a cooler bag in the car to store the milk in.

Part 2
Storing and Using Regular Milk

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    Consume the milk within five to seven days of its printed sell-by date.[1] Food specialists recommend that once opened, it is best to finish the milk in three days. Often it is better to buy small bottles more often.
    • Open the bottles or cartons in the order you bought them. Place the oldest bottles towards the front of the fridge and use them first, because if it's first in, it's first out.
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    Store milk on the refrigerator shelves. Most people keep their milk on the door, but it is best to keep it on the shelves where it is cooler and has a more stable temperature.[2]
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    Take some measures to avoid contamination or spoiling of your milk. Even when it's refrigerated, you can help it last longer:
    • Keep the lids on the bottle. Tightly screw the lid on so that the milk doesn't absorb any odours from strong smelling food. If you want to be extra careful store the milk separately from other foods.
    • Never return unused milk back into the original bottle. Once it spends any time at room temperature, milk spoils quickly. When people have unused milk from a jug, especially in restaurants, it is often put back in the bottle which can easily create spoilage. Don't do this.
    • Avoid exposing the milk to light. Light can destroy many of the vitamins and nutrients in milk such as vitamin D and riboflavin.[3]
    • Maintain the cleanliness in your fridge. Milk can easily pick up any odors. Keep all food in your fridge sealed so they don't get a chance to contaminate your milk.
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    Freeze milk to keep for a long time. You can freeze milk for up to 3 months. After thawing, the texture and taste may be a little affected, but the milk will still be safe and usable, especially if used in cooking or mixed with anything else.[4]. Make sure the container you're freezing it in has a little room at the top, to allow for expansion as it freeze.
    • Always thaw milk in the fridge and if it separates beat it up with an electric blender.
    • For the best results freeze skim milk. Condensed and evaporated milk also freeze well.

Part 3
Other Types of Milk

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    Refrigerate canned and UHT milk. Even though you buy ultra-heat treated milk at room temperature, when opened it must be transferred to an airtight container, refrigerated and consumed within three days.
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    Keep powdered milk in a cool and dry place. Once opened, powdered milk should be consumed within a month. After being made up, reconstituted powder milk should be transferred to an airtight container, refrigerated and consumed within three days.
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    Remember that chocolate milk goes bad. Flavored milks are more tricky to tell if they are bad because of their high sugar content. Like regular milk, chocolate milk lasts for about a week.


  • If you freeze soups or stews, add the milk afterwards.
  • Refrigerate the milk at all times to maximise shelf life.

Article Info

Categories: Food Selection and Storage | Eggs and Dairy