You bought a few cans of condensed milk last year to prepare caramel for a dessert. You stored the remaining cans in the pantry cabinet, and now while cleaning the pantry, you found a can in the cabinet. At this moment, you start wondering – Does Condensed Milk Go Bad?
Fortunately, canned Condensed Milk is prepared with preservatives, and hence it is likely to last for years, even after the printed use-by date. But, you must ensure that you are using edible and safe Condensed Milk to avoid making others ill.
So, it is safe to learn about shelf-life, storage requirements, and spoilage signs of Condensed Milk before buying it in bulk.
What is the Shelf-Life of Condensed Milk?
As mentioned, Condensed Milk will last for years to come like other canned products. However, the container of Condensed Milk has printed use-by date, and the time only tells about the quality rather than food safety.
Since Condensed Milk is available in cans with added preservatives, it tends to sustain its peak quality for a long time. The unopened can of Condensed Milk can keep its peak quality for one to two years past its printed use-by date. If stored properly, it can even last for a decade.
Unfortunately, the taste and texture may change with time, but it remains safe and edible for years. After opening, the content may degrade quickly. According to Eagle Brand, the Condensed Milk must be consumed within three to four days after opening.
For homemade Condensed Milk, it is necessary to store it in a fridge right from the beginning to keep it safe for a long time. There is no definite time to describe the shelf-life of homemade Condensed Milk.
|Unopened Condensed Milk||Use-By Date Plus One to Two Years||–|
|Opened Condensed Milk||–||Up to Two Weeks|
Please note the above periods are the estimates for the peak quality. It must not be confused with an expiry date.
What are the Spoilage Signs of Condensed Milk?
Before you learn about the spoilage signs of Condensed Milk, it is important to know the difference between Condensed and evaporated milk. Both are concentrated forms of milk, and 60% of water is removed from the content. The main difference between these two types is the sugar content.
The evaporated form lacks sugar content, and Condensed Milk has 40-45 percent of sugar. The level of sugar helps determine the expiry date of the Condensed Milk.
Fresh Condensed Milk has a yellowish and pale creamy color. The color changes and turns darker when the Condensed Milk starts degrading. So, you have to check the color of the Condensed Milk to know if it is still edible or has gone bad.
The color change does not always mean that Condensed Milk has gone rancid. But the chance must be considered a warning, and be cautious before using them.
Fresh Condensed Milk has a sweet and creamy smell. But, the smell changes to sour when it goes off. You will notice an unpleasant and sour smell when it starts to spoil.
The freshly canned Condensed Milk texture is like chocolate syrup and viscous. However, it turns thicker, making it difficult to pour when it degrades and goes off. You will see lumps in the Condensed Milk, and it is a surefire sign of spoilage.
If your Condensed Milk turns thicker with lumps, discard it as it is no longer safe and edible.
Different brands have different tastes, and none of them will taste unpleasant, stale, and sour. If you notice a sour or stale taste, discard the Condensed Milk as it indicates that the milk has gone rancid and is no longer safe and edible.
The last surefire sign of spoilage is mold growth. Mold and bacteria usually grow when the Condensed Milk is not stored properly after opening. If you see any signs of mold growth, discard the Condensed Milk immediately.
What Happens When You Consume Spoiled Condensed Milk?
Condensed Milk stays fresh and edible even after the printed use-by date on the label, provided that it is stored properly and sealed. If you notice rust, damaged or leaked cans of Condensed Milk, the content may get contaminated, making the Condensed Milk inedible and unsafe.
The Condensed Milk will only go bad when stored improperly, and the seal is broken. Eating spoiled or rotten Condensed Milk can make you sick and may show symptoms like upset stomach and food poisoning.
Some of the symptoms that may show up after eating spoiled Condensed Milk are stomach ache, low-grade fever, diarrhea, and nausea. In many cases, the symptoms are mild to moderate and easily subside after proper treatment.
If the symptoms are serious with diarrhea and vomiting and last for more than 48 hours, seek medical assistance immediately.
Can You Freeze Condensed Milk? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable
After opening Condensed Milk, it won’t keep its peak quality for more than two weeks. If you want to keep the quality for longer after opening, freeze the leftover Condensed Milk.
Freezing Condensed Milk is the best way to preserve its quality and freshness longer. Freezing can help extend the shelf-life of the Condensed Milk for up to three months. However, the ingredients may separate when frozen for a long time.
The texture may change because of the ingredient separation, and it is difficult to restore the original texture after thawing. The sugar content never freezes properly, and it turns thicker.
You must not freeze the Condensed Milk in the original can. You must transfer them to an airtight container to freeze them. You must leave the frozen Condensed Milk on the countertop overnight or give it a warm bath before thawing. Avoid re-freezing it.
After opening the Condensed Milk can, the sterilization terminates and sets the clock ticking on the Condensed Milk. But with proper refrigeration, the process can be delayed. Refrigeration helps the opened Condensed Milk last for up to two weeks, but it must be refrigerated in an airtight container.
If you don’t have an airtight container, use aluminum foil or plastic wrap and an elastic band to cover the can. Keeping the can tightly seal is necessary to prevent airborne contaminants from leaking in. You must store the can away from smelly items because it traps the odors from other foods.
You must not store it in the doors of a fridge; instead, store it on the fridge’s shelves to keep it longer.
Unopened Condensed Milk can last for years and even decades, provided that it is stored in the original unopened can properly. The sugar content in the Condensed Milk acts as preservatives, and it gives the content a longer lifespan than other sugary products.
After opening, the Condensed Milk only lasts for a couple of hours outside a refrigerator because of the sugar content. After opening, you must seal the can tightly using plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it on the shelves of a fridge.
Unopened Condensed Milk must be stored in dry and cool places away from heat and light sources. The pantry cabinet is the right place to store the unopened can of Condensed Milk.
What are the Best Ways to Store Condensed Milk?
You will have no problem storing the unopened can of Condensed Milk for years and even for decades. The milk lasts for years after the printed use-by date because it comes in exceptional packaging that helps keep the milk unspoiled and fresh.
However, homemade and opened Condensed Milk has special storage requirements, and following the right methods can help the Condensed Milk last longer. Here are a couple of storage tips to help extend the shelf-life of your Condensed Milk.
Store in an Airtight Container
Avoid freezing or refrigerating the leftover Condensed Milk in the original can. You must use an airtight container to store it. Homemade Condensed Milk must be stored in mason jars, squeezable honey bottles, and re-sealable plastic freezer bags.
Make Small Openings
When you plan to open the can of Condensed Milk, make small openings. If you can’t finish the entire can at once, open it with a small opening. Small openings are easy to cover, preventing the bacteria and mold from leaking in to spoil the leftover Condensed Milk.
Store Away from Heat Sources and Light
You must store unopened Condensed Milk in places away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
The heat sources and sunlight can accelerate Condensed Milk’s spoilage process. Hence, it is necessary to store the unopened Condensed Milk in a cabinet or cupboard until it is open.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Shelf-Life of Homemade Condensed Milk?
Since homemade Condensed Milk lacks the sterilization process, it won’t last longer than commercially prepared Condensed Milk. The shelf-life of homemade Condensed Milk depends on the process of preparing it. The homemade Condensed Milk lasts for seven days when stored properly in a fridge and may last up to three months when stored in a freezer.
Is It Safe to Consume Condensed Milk After Printed Use-by Date?
If you accidentally consume the Condensed Milk after the printed use-by date, nothing will happen to you. It won’t go bad quickly, provided it’s stored properly. It tends to last for months and even years past its use-by date. Check the spoilage signs before using them.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you are aware by now that the shelf-life of Condensed Milk depends on the sugar content in it and the canning process. The Condensed Milk won’t go bad and lasts for months and even years after being properly canned with the sterilization process.
However, homemade Condensed Milk has a shorter lifespan as it lacks the sterilization process. Besides, unopened Condensed Milk can need no refrigeration or freezing. When stored in a cabinet away from heat sources and light, it keeps peak quality for years.
After opening, it must be stored in a fridge or freezer to keep the peak quality longer. Ensure to look for spoilage signs before using as spoiled Condensed Milk can make you sick.
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.