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I can't tell when milk is spoiled

Does anyone else have this problem?

Milk always has an odor that seems off to me. I just never learned to tell when it is bad. Not having a lot of it growing up in a house with lactose-intolerant Asian parents is probably why.

I buy it when I plan on cooking something with milk and I am often left with half a container of milk that I end up forgetting to use. I hate how wasteful it makes me feel.

Even though I don't like the smell, I have no problems eating cereal with it. I just have zero confidence in being able to tell if it has gone bad and is more likely to cause stomach problems as it approaches the "sell by" date on the container.

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  1. If you are not a regular milk drinker you can freeze what you don't need for later use. I use ice trays and then transfer to plastic bags. Then I can take out only what I need.

    1. We only use milk on very rare occasions and find it very convenient and less costly to keep a bag of powdered milk in the pantry.

      1. I wonder if you haven't really smelled spoiled milk before? The smell is unmistakeable

        7 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97

          I was getting ready to say...I don't drink much milk either but spoiled milk is pretty distinct either in smell, texture or taste.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            There seems to be some point in the aging of milk where it starts to cause cramps, flatulence, and other symptoms of lactose intolerance.

            I don't have problems when it is milk that is recently bought. I am more likely to have problems when the milk has been there for a while. I suspect it has gone bad somehow, but I can't really tell when it has passed that point based on odor and taste.

            1. re: FoodPopulist

              I can't explain that, maybe someone can. Lactose content doesn't change over time, if it did it would decrease perhaps if bacteria got into the milk.

              1. re: FoodPopulist

                your phrase above about "lactose-intolerant Asian people" is, I think, the biggest hint here....

                Lactose intolerance can be genetic.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  "Can be?" Most lactose intolerance is genetic, nearly all Asians and most Africans.

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    I was trying not to wield the sledgehammer...

              2. re: scubadoo97

                Unless milk is very fresh, I usually find its smell offensively ripe, bordering on spoiled. Whether it is curdled and separated or just a week old, milk generally smells unpleasant to me.

              3. Spoiled milk smells like strawberries.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Chinon00

                  Yes, when it's starting to go bad it has a sweet odor like ripe fruit

                2. I have lots of fresh milk in the fridge at all times for baking and cooking and coffee.
                  Sour milk won't hurt you so tasting it usually is the best way to see if it's 'gone bad'.

                  1. I usually buy evaporated milk because I only use it for cooking, and not often at that. I only buy a bottle of milk if I really want to make something that needs it.

                    1. If you pour soured milk into hot coffee or tea, you'll see some solid particles (size and number depending on how far gone it is) floating on the top.

                      1. Most of the time, I can smell & taste the difference, but every now and then, nope - it all tastes rotten. Like the milk this morning. Smelled and tasted rotten. But the husband tasted it (I gave him a sample since I know I'm sometimes broken) and to him, it's still perfectly fine. The best before date is still a week away - I just opened this jug.

                        1. I would say that all milk has an odor that seems off to me, but I can still tell when it has gone bad - it is a different kind of 'off'.

                          We don't use very much milk at all. I never drink milk, and I eat cereal dry. My husband and step-daughter will occasionally drink it or eat it on cereal, but not with any regularity. Unless we are having nieces and/or nephews visiting, I use the shelf-stable tetrapak milk, which is sold by the quart. I can keep it in the pantry, so we have it when we need it, and a quart is small enough that I usually manage to use up the whole thing once opened before it goes bad. Given the amount of milk that we were throwing away when I bought refrigerated at the store, it is less expensive for us this way.

                          1. Why don't you buy those 8oz, shelf stable, aseptic packed (like juice boxes) cartons? They last a long time on the shelf and along long time refrigerated. I've used some 2 year old product that was still fine. I buy whole milk for cooking/baking. We generally drink non-fat.The brand my store sells is Parmalat.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: zackly

                              wow never knew they came that small. hard enough to find Parmalat of any size as it is for me these days.

                              1. re: hill food

                                Yes, 3X8 oz. packs and quarts in my store.I turned my recently divorced buddy on to them and he is eternally grateful that he doesn't have to pour lumpy milk into his Cheerios

                                1. re: zackly

                                  when I had to travel a lot, it was always nice to come home to a few packs in the pantry, just never saw anything smaller than maybe 16 oz.

                            2. I have the same problem. Luckily my SO is a big milk drinker but it always smells bad to me.

                              1. "Spoiled" milk won't hurt you, ad far as I know and in my experience. It's just curdled/soured. I'll use it for mashed potatoes or in baking. If you can't taste the difference just use it.