Little Secrets of Storing Powdered Milk


Milk is a basic ingredient for a lot of recipes as well as a favorite beverage. But if you are not able to buy in the store for a gallon, powdered milk is handy, readily available, and easy to use. Therefore, it is essential to include it in your food storage plans. However, powdered milk also needs proper storage to maintain its quality.

According to USDA, the powdered milk can be stored indefinitely as long it is kept in a dry location with an average temperature below 75° F. In case of higher temperatures rotate products every 6 months because powdered milk is subject to oxidation that can create an unpleasant off-flavor.

Though it is not inexpensive, buying a box of 12 ounces in the grocery store or whatever sizes is not the most effective way to buy powdered milk for food storage purposes.

There are a lot of questions about powdered milk, so let’s see if I can provide the answers you need.

Why Do You Need To Store Powdered Milk Properly?

Powdered milk is probably one of the most sensitive to environmental conditions, particularly to temperature and moisture content.

Their Vitamins A and D are also photosensitive that will break down easily if exposed to light. The area where the dry milk is stored should be kept as cool as possible.

If possible, you can put them in the refrigerator or a fully air-conditioned room as this helps to extend the nutrient’s shelf-life.

If the storage container is transparent or translucent, then make sure to put the milk in a second container that is opaque to light and must be stored in the darkroom.

Dry milk can absorb moisture and odors from the air so storage containers should be impermeable to both air and moisture.

The drier it can be kept, the better it will last.

On the other hand, the use of desiccants is an excellent idea. The presence of oxygen can also speed up the decomposition.

Powdered milk canned with nitrogen or carbon dioxide can replace the air that contains oxygen.

Vacuum canning or oxygen absorbers can also decrease the available oxygen. If the dry milk purchased was not packaged for long-term storage, then it should be repackaged right away.

Or if you have access to a can sealer, #10 can make wonderful storage containers for dry milk, particularly used in conjunction with oxygen absorbers.

Related Post: How To Keep Cereal Fresh?

Shelf Life For Powdered Milk

Powdered can go stale, but takes a while. Most manufacturers recommend the use of powdered milk can within 18 months, but this is just the best by date.

According to the USDA, powdered milk can be stored indefinitely. An unopened package can still be usable for 2 to 10 years after the printed “best by” date.

However, the shelf-life does not depend on the type of powdered milk. Meanwhile, nonfat powdered milk can last longer than powdered whole milk or buttermilk since fat is less stable.

As such, nonfat dried milk is preferred for long-term food storage. If you are looking at the label of powdered milk, you will want to use it up soon after the “best by” date.

How To Store Powdered Milk In Mylar Bags?

Mylar bags are metallic-looking pouches that when sealed completely can be impermeable to air and moisture. They are considered the best long-term storage method for dry staples, including powdered milk.

To store dried milk in Mylar bags, you will need to add a desiccant at the bottom of the bag and oxygen absorbers at the top of the bag before sealing.

The desiccant controls the moisture and the oxygen absorber removes the oxygen. If kept in a cool place, powdered milk can last for 15 years. Some companies can even put the shelf life at 25 years.

How To Store Powdered Milk For Long-Term Storage?

For long-term storage, the best way to store dried milk is to put it in sealed Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and desiccants. Dried low-fat milk can last for 15 years when stored this way.

Below is an overview of ways on how to store milk and what you can expect.

Keep it in original plastic or paper packaging (Not highly recommended)

Some dried milk comes in plastic or paper pouches packaging. The shelf life when kept in this type of packaging changes drastically.

One study shows that dried milk can spoil within a month when kept at high temperatures.

If kept in a cool, dark, and dry place, it cannot last more than a year but I would not risk it.

Place them in the refrigerator or freezer

Lowering the temperature can increase the shelf life of the dried milk. At temperatures about 90F, powdered milk can start to develop bad tastes in just 6 months.

At 104F, the milk will go rancid in just a month. In contrast, dried milk can be kept at 50F or below and can still be good for more than 4 years.

Metal pouches (Not mylar)

Many brands of powdered milk come in metal pouches.

These pouches are better at keeping the milk fresh than in plastic or paper pouches. They block light and can also help moisture from getting to the milk.

The minimum shelf-life on these products is usually around 1 to 2 years.

On the other hand, these metal pouches can still contain oxygen and the seams often leak. You will need to be careful about keeping the milk in a cool, dark, and dry location.

Ideally, you should use the milk within a few months. Otherwise, you may repack the dried milk into a more reliable storage container like Mylar bags.

#10 Cans

Several brands of powdered milk sell their products in #10 cans.

Dried milk can last for over 5 years when packaged in these cans.

However, keep in mind that not all brands of #10 dried milk cans were equal.

Other brands used either nitrogen flushing or oxygen absorbers to get rid of oxygen from the cans. The ones packaged with nitrogen are more successful and tend to have higher amounts of nutrients.

Choose a reputable brand that discloses the methods they use for the packaging of their products. But if kept in a cool location, expect canned dry milk can last up to 5 years.

Use canning jars with oxygen absorbers

To store smaller amounts of powdered milk is to put in the jar.

Some people put a desiccant in the jar to control moisture levels. Though oxygen is present in the jar, it can cause the milk to go stale about 3 to 12 months.

To lengthen the shelf-life, get oxygen absorber packets.

Absorber packets are little packets containing iron where it absorbs oxygen from the air. If you put one in a canning jar, remove almost all oxygen from the container.

You will know that oxygen absorbers are working because the lid will look sucked down.

Nonetheless, the jar will have to be kept in a cool, dark place. The lack of oxygen means dried milk can last for more than 5 years.

How To Freeze Powdered Milk?

If you don’t use powdered milk often, you may want to consider putting it in the freezer. Just scoop some out as you need it. There’s no need to bring it to room temperature first.

This will keep your powdered milk fresh for a long time. To prevent freezer burn, be sure to seal it tightly between uses.

How To Tell When It’s Time To Toss It?

If you think your powdered milk develops yellow discoloration and an unpleasant odor, it is now time to discard it.

These are the telltale signs that the milk has gone bad. If you think that the package has moisture that entered in, you might be dealing with mold and bacteria growth.

If ever you transfer powdered milk from its original container, label it with the “best by” date and the date you transferred it.

If you are not using it within three months, consider vacuum-packing and freezing the remaining dried milk.

Once you reconstitute nonfat dry milk, keep it in the refrigerator and use it within five days.

Photo credit: ©canva.com

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