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According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, the cost of a pint of milk has jumped nearly a fifth in a year, making it one of the biggest price rises among everyday essentials. Whilst milk can last a relatively long time, here’s how to make it last for three weeks or more with a clever food storage hack.
Eat By Date explains that once opened, all milk lasts four to seven days past its printed date if refrigerated.
If unopened, whole milk can last five to seven days, reduced-fat and skim milk can last seven days plus, and non-fat and lactose-free milk lasts longer, seven to 10 days past its printed date if kept in the fridge.
There are a few things you can do to increase the shelf life of milk.
The first thing to do is buy milk with the longest shelf life; that means when you’re in the supermarket, check the dates on the cartons and choose the furthest one away.
Experts also suggest adding the milk to your trolley last – so when you’re finished picking the other items you want to buy, collect the milk, that way you give it the best chance of remaining at a constant temperature.
When you get the milk home, it’s important to put it in the fridge immediately.
Most people put the milk in the fridge door, but it’s best kept on a shelf where it is cooler and the temperature is more stable.
Most often, dairy is to be placed at the back of the fridge; because every time the fridge door is open, the items at the front of the fridge, and in the door, are exposed to the warmer air.
When using milk, return it directly to the fridge once you are finished with it.
It’s best to not let it sit on the counter any longer than necessary.
Once opened, milk can last for a week or two without curdling, but some suggest adding a pinch of salt to the carton, putting the lid back on and shaking it to ensure the salt is evenly distributed.
Salt minerals “slow downs the souring of milk” because it draws water molecules out, which lowers the water product activity and in turn slows down most bacterial growth.
As a result, the milk will last up to a week longer.
So if you buy milk a week before the use by date, and follow the above tips and salt hack, a carton of milk can last around three weeks.
Once milk has soured, it will taste unpleasant and smell, but it’s not dangerous.
You can avoid pouring it down the sink by using it to replace buttermilk in a batch of pancakes, scones or bread.
If you’re worrying you won’t use or drink the milk, you can freeze it – frozen milk can be kept for up to three months.
The texture and taste may be a little altered, but thawed milk will be safe to drink and particularly suited to cooking or baking.
Just make sure the container you’re freezing it in, or the carton, has room at the top to allow for expansion as it freezes.
Thaw milk in the fridge and, if it separates, just beat it with an electric whisk.
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