You’d think that you can tell when your milk has gone off. After all, that’s why there’s an expiration date on the bottle, right?
Well, you would be wrong. The expiration date acts as an advisory indication. Most people tend to trust the good old nose test when it comes to fresh milk. If the milk smells okay, then it is still suitable for consumption.
There’s only one problem when it comes to smell. Our noses can’t always cope with subtle odors in winter, such as milk in the early stages of spoiling. Indeed, when you spend most of your time indoors with the heating on, chances are that you might remove moisture from your home air. As you do, you might experience slight stuffiness in the nose. Additionally, it makes you more vulnerable to germs, such as cold and flu. You can’t detect scents with a blocked nose. So how can you tell if your milk is still good?
How to tell if your milk if off
When your nose can’t detect anything, you have to rely on your eyes. Let them do the talking. The expiration date is a good indication of risk. Typically, it doesn’t mean that you should throw away milk that is passed the date. It only indicates the limit in time of the optimal quality of your food. Milk that is to be used by March 14 is likely to be safe for consumption on March 15, too. Think of it as guidance only. The signs that your milk has gone off is when it gets lumpy. Lumps in the milk mean that the lactic acid has started to produce bacteria. Typically, this should happen long after the use-by date. After keeping your milk in the fridge door can accelerate the phenomenon, because it’s the warmest part of your fridge. However, if you find that your milk is going off too early, along with other ingredients in your fridge, it’s a good idea to consider professional appliance repair. Indeed, when your fridge can’t maintain its temperature any longer, food tends to go bad quickly!
Texture is okay, but the taste is odd
You’ve done the visual check, and your milk seems fine. No lump and no change of color, which is good news. However, when the taste is a little bit off to consume raw, it’s probably a sign that the lactic acid in the milk has just started to get to work. You might have another few days before your milk gets lumpy, so it’s time to consider recipes that will cook the milk, such as lovely biscuits, for instance. You can also safely prepare your morning porridge with it. Add an extra spoonful of sugar to adjust for taste.
Argh, it’s all curdled!
Don’t panic. Curdled milk may not be suitable to drink in your morning coffee anymore, but you can still use it in many ways. Did you know that you can make delicious cheeses out of your lumpy milk? Have a look for Indian-inspired cheese recipes using curdled milk. You can also dilute it and use it to feed your garden soil. It’s excellent for tomato plants!
In the light of reducing food waste, it’s important to understand not only how to use milk that appears to have gone off, but also how to tell exactly when your milk is unsafe for consumption. We need to think twice before pouring that lovely milk in the sink. You can still use it!