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How close to the sell by date are you willing to purchase milk?

I usually purchase 1 gallon containers of skim/fat free milk. I'm finding it more common for it to be within several days of the sell by date, too close for my liking. Today I opted for two 1/2 gallon containers with a date of March 21 vs. a gallon with a March 11 date. But I hate the idea that this will likely contribute to a gallon of milk having to soon be discarded. Interested to hear others' thoughts on how the dates affect their purchasing.

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  1. I don't purchase a lot of cow's milk specifically for drinking. I cook a lot with milk and cream though. The date doesn't bother me in the least because I always freeze the milk and cream in small mason jars. No waste and I never "run out".

    2 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      You can also microwave milk that is on the verge of souring. Get it to where the surface is still not moving, but vapors are starting to rise, then chill it down and return to fridge. Though the milk will have a slightly cooked taste, it will last an additional week.

      1. re: greygarious

        Wow, I didn't know that. Great tip! Thanks.

    2. MIlk can't read. It will keep at least two weeks beyond the pull date if it's been stored properly.

      The higher the fat content the longer it keeps, so nonfat has a shorter shelf life.

      You could always break down into smaller conatiners and freeze some, as mentioned above.

      1. I always check for the latest expiration date...also I try to take a gallon that is far back in the case out of the light, as light hastens the spoilage. That said, It is rare I have milk go bad.

        1. Like other posters, I am not a milk-drinker.

          I do use dairy in cooking and baking, mostly buttermilk and cream.

          I find no loss in quality when the product is past the stamped expiration date. Especially when the container is unopened and refrigerated.

          1. I would not worry about about the exact date of expiry marked on the container. If after the expiry date the milk smells and tastes normal the chances are it is still drinkable. I think even 2 weeks past the date ,if kept properly refrigerated will be still safe to drink.
            As an aside, I feel the expiry date on all perishible foods and over-the-counter medicines are great exaggerations used to frighten gullible customers into discarding perfectly safe products thereby increasing corporate sales and profits. Just use common sense. When was the last time you heard that someone became seriously ill after disregarding an expiry date on a package?
            .

            1 Reply
            1. re: Doctormhl1

              Agreed on both points. I have had milk 2-3 weeks in my fridge past the expiration date (2%) that never smelled or tasted any different. Granted, I kept it in the back of the fridge where it stays cold.

              We use milk for cereal, cooking/baking but rarely drink it straight up. I try to buy milk 10 days or more before the expiration date. I won't buy it less than a week prior.