Have you just recently discovered a forgotten can of evaporated milk that expired two years ago? And are wondering if it can still be safely consumed? Or is it safer to toss it in the trash?
This article explains exactly what to do with an evaporated milk that has been sitting for quite some time now after its expiration date.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Evaporated Milk?
The shelf life of a product refers to the length of time during which it remains safe and retains desired sensory, visual and chemical characteristics (among others) as well as complies perfectly well with the claims on the labeling.
For evaporated milk, the shelf life can vary depending on many factors, but typically, a perfectly stored unopened can of evaporated milk has a shelf life of about 12 to 18 months from the date of manufacture.
This means that within this period, so long as the milk is stored in a cool, dry place and nothing happens to the can, it will continue to retain its flavor, color, nutrition, safety etc.
Even so, it’s crucial to remember that the shelf life is not an absolute guarantee that the product will continue to remain safe, and products may spoil or lose quality before their stated shelf life under unfavorable conditions.
Can You Use Evaporated Milk 2 Years After Expiration?
It is not recommended to use evaporated milk 2 years after expiration date due to safety concerns as well as the fact that it would most likely have declined severely in quality.
One big problem you’ll be facing when it comes to an expired can of evaporated milk that has sat for longer than one year past this expiration date is a likely damage in the integrity of the can in the form of bulging or rusting, which would compromise the seal and allow bacteria or mold spores to enter and breed. Consuming this kind of milk can cause serious foodborne illnesses.
Another thing is nutrient degradation which happens overtime which would result in an overall decrease in its vitamin and mineral content. So consuming this type of milk for the sole purpose of deriving nutritional benefit is out of the question.
Then again, there’ll likely be serious changes in taste, texture and smell of the product all of which would tamper the feeling of satisfaction you’ll get when consuming the product.
Using a can of evaporated milk that has expired a very long time ago, means that you risk consuming a product that has a compromised safety and quality, and that could easily lead to foodborne illnesses and an undesirable taste or texture in your recipes.
How Long After Expiration Is Evaporated Milk Still Safe To Consume?
If you ever find yourself in a situation where the evaporated milk you have is only slightly past the expiration date, say by a month or two, and the can displays all round perfectness in terms of condition, and the contents inside appears, smells and tastes normal, it may be safe to use BUT at your discretion.
How Long Does Evaporated Milk Last Once Opened?
Once opened, evaporated milk should not be stored outside or at room temperature, as this increases the risk of bacterial growth and spoilage.
The opened milk must be stored in a refrigerator to slow down bacterial growth and maintain its quality and safety.
There, it can easily store for 3 to 5 days before it begins to show signs of spoilage.
The best way to store opened evaporated milk is to follow these steps:
Transfer the milk to an airtight container
Pour the remaining evaporated milk into a clean, airtight container, such as a glass jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
Avoid using the original can, as it may not provide an adequate seal and could impart a metallic taste to the milk.
Write the date you opened the evaporated milk on the container, so you can track its freshness and ensure you use it within the recommended 3 to 5 days.
Store the container in the refrigerator, ideally at temperatures between 34°F to 40°F (1°C to 4°C).
How Do You Know If Evaporated Milk Is Bad?
If you’re worried about whether your evaporated milk has gone bad, keep an eye out for the following telltale signs:
If the evaporated milk has a sour, rancid or off odor, it’s probably no longer safe to use. It likely has a load of bacterial activity going on inside. Fresh evaporated milk should have a mild, slightly sweet smell and not a rancid one.
Check for any changes in the milk’s appearance and if you spot anything unusual like curdling, discoloration or worse mold, it’s time to toss the milk out.
If the evaporated milk has become thick, lumpy or separated, it’s likely past its prime and should be discarded.
Before even opening the can, inspect it for any damage, rust or bulging at all sides. These are signs of potential contamination, and the milk inside may not be safe to consume.
If you come across any of these red flags, it’s best to play it safe and get rid of the evaporated milk.
Do not take any chances with the quality of your dishes or worse, your health!