Evaporated milk is a milk product that is typically sold in cans and is made by eliminating 60 percent of the water from the original milk. Evaporated milk can either be made from whole milk or skimmed milk.
The final product is sealed in cans which are then heated again to kill any bacteria left in the milk. Due to this method, evaporated milk can be stored for a year. However, once it was opened it can only last for about four to six days when refrigerated.
But can you freeze evaporated milk? You can freeze evaporated milk but it is not recommended because the milk particles will become separated. It is impossible to get the evaporated milk back to its original texture once frozen.
Here are the things you need to remember before freezing evaporated milk:
Evaporated milk changes its physical properties when you freeze it.
The evaporated milk will change its color, flavor, and texture after freezing it. Once the evaporated milk defrosts, it will become watery and you may also see clumps of proteins floating on it.
Its texture will become grainy because of the separation of fat from the water. It will also change its color from white turning into a yellow after being frozen due to the separation of water from fat.
The water will turn into ice crystals while the fats and proteins will be squeezed out of the mixture. The fat and proteins will form around the center of the ice which will result in yellow.
You can never homogenize the mixture of the evaporated milk after being thawing.
We know that freezing evaporated milk will result in the separation of its solid and liquid properties when thawed. The milk properties will not combine back to their original texture. The milk solids will remain separated.
Do not freeze unopened evaporated milk especially if it is in a can.
Freezing unopened evaporated milk will affect the seam of the can which will result in the spoilage of the milk. It is also unsafe to freeze any canned goods because the food inside will expand which will make the can bulge or sometimes burst.
In the case of evaporated milk, even if the can is not bulging, you still have to throw it away because there might still some microscopic openings in the seams due to the stress. So bear in mind to freeze only opened or leftover evaporated milk.
How to Safely Freeze Evaporated Milk?
Got a number of cans of evaporated milk sitting in your pantry? You can lengthen the shelf life of your evaporated milk until you are all set to use them up by freezing them.
Below are the safe tips to safely and successfully freeze evaporated milk.
The first step is to make a decision on what type of recipe you will use the frozen and defrosted evaporated milk in. That choice will let know you know how much you need to pour into each container.
The second step you need to do is to transfer the product to a freezer-friendly opaque container first. You can either make use of a container with an airtight lid or a freezer-safe bag. You have to do this because can do not hold up well in the freezer and are more likely to burst at cold temperatures. This will reduce the risk of the package being ruptured in the freezer and it will also save some space.
You should also need to make sure that there is some extra space about one-half-inch headspace in the container to give the evaporated milk enough space for expansion because it does when it freezes.
The third step is to create a hole on any side of the bottom lid so the milk will flow freely. The upper lid of the cans was usually dusty so I recommend opening it up at the bottom part. After that, pour the evaporated milk into your chosen airtight or freezer-safe containers. Each container should only contain just how much you have to use for a single dish.
If you are unsure of how much milk you were going to use you may also try to pour the evaporated milk into ice cube trays. By doing so, you are dividing the milk into single-serving portions.
The fourth step is to seal the containers. You have to cover the container with cling wrap then cover it with an airtight lid. You might want to consider adding labels to each container, particularly if the portions are not equal.
In this way, getting the correct one for the recipe you are cooking will be easy. You may also write the storage date and then stick it on the door of your refrigerator.
The final step is to put everything in the freezer and that is it. Evaporated milk can be frozen for at least a couple of months, just waiting there when you need it.
How Long Do Evaporated Milk Can Last When Put in the Freezer?
If the evaporated milk is properly stored, it will preserve its best quality for about 3 months, but it will still remain safe further than that.
If the evaporated milk has been kept constantly frozen at 0° F, it will be safe for an indefinite period of time.
How to Thaw Frozen Evaporated Milk?
When safely kept in the freezer, evaporated milk will be at its best for at least 3 months. Nonetheless, I suggest using your evaporated milk as soon as possible for optimal flavor.
When it comes to defrosting evaporated milks, there are at least two common options:
If you are going to thaw frozen evaporated milk the best way to do it is to place it in the fridge overnight. It should be thawed in the refrigerator in order to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. You have to place the container in the refrigerator in the evening so that it is ready to use in the morning. After that, you have to give it a good stir or whisk vigorously (or use a blender), it may help a bit, but it will not be as good as the fresh product.
However, there is no need to thaw the frozen evaporated milk when you are going to use it in a cooked recipe. You can just put the frozen evaporated milk into the pot while cooking and let the temperature do its thing. In short, the secret is using a frozen evaporated milk is by putting it only in recipes where it is cooked, like soups, stews, and etc.
I want to add up a reminder: some people let frozen evaporated milk thaw on the counter. If you are one of them, bear in mind that evaporated milk should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours, you should cook it right away.
How to Tell If the Evaporated Milk is Bad or Spoiled?
The best way to know if the evaporated milk is bad or spoiled is to smell and look at the can. If you notice that the cans have an off odor, flavor, or appearance, they should be thrown away immediately. You should also get rid of all cans that are leaking, rusting, bulging, or heavily dented.
Storage Tips for Evaporated Milk
To maximize your supply of evaporated milk, at all times check the expiry dates of the products. Select those with a long expiry date. If you have older cans, consume those first before using your latest stocks.
If for some various reasons the can start leaking or bulging, dispose of the product. Make sure the cans have no dents, cracks, and rust, if you see any of these, discard the cans. For recently purchased cans of evaporated milk, it is advised to place them in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight. Preferably, store the unopened cans of evaporated milk in the kitchen cabinet in order to prevent it from rusting.
So, can you freeze evaporated milk? You can do so but you should not do it if you want to maximize the usage of the milk. Freezing evaporated milk will negatively affect its mixture and taste.
Learn more about freezing foods here.