The most commonly consumed dairy product worldwide is actually goat milk. This is because goats tend to be easier to take care of than cows and the milk they offer is packed with benefits. If you plan on having fresh goat milk, it’s important to know how long it will last and how to store it.
Goat milk (raw or pasteurized) can be safely stored in the fridge in a clean container for up to 10 days, while 3 to 6 days is a better guideline for taste. Pasteurized goat milk can be frozen for 6 months in the freezer, or up to 15 to25 years if freeze-dried.
It’s always important to be careful when handling goat milk, even when freshly harvested. Being extra careful upon harvesting the goat milk (to prevent accidental contamination) will increase its longevity, safety, and flavor. Read on for more about how different types of storage affect goat milk.
How Long Does Raw Goat Milk Last?
Raw goat milk can usually last 7 to 10 days if stored and handled correctly, but it can also go bad as early as 3 days. Raw goat milk can also be purchased at various dairy farms, though pasteurized goat’s milk is more easily available.
Raw goat milk has not been pasteurized to remove potentially harmful bacteria. However, despite safety concerns, a number of people still prefer raw goat milk due to its taste and its nutritional benefits.
Personally, I prefer the taste and flavor of raw goat’s milk over pasteurized. I find that once pasteurized, goat’s milk has a goaty flavor, even if the raw milk didn’t originally have it.
How long does goat milk last at room temperature?
Goat’s milk, like any other food, shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for longer than needed. Foods left out for more than 1 to 2 hours can become contaminated with sufficient bacteria to cause food-borne illness.
It really doesn’t last long at all. If you leave raw goat milk out for a couple of hours, bacteria will begin to breed, causing the milk to go bad right away. We recommend storing raw milk in a tightly sealed container in a fridge when you bring it home.
If you’re milking and bringing it in, get it chilled and into the fridge ASAP. Because let’s face it – milking the goats does take time. And that’s time spent at room temperature.
Pro tip: the longer any food (goat’s milk included) spends at room temperature, the faster it goes bad.
How long does goat milk last in the fridge?
If managed properly, raw goat milk can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge, though the ideal threshold would be 7-10 days. However, in my experience, raw goat’s milk will taste best if used within 3 to 5 days after milking.
If you’re getting enough goat’s milk that it’s sitting around longer than a few days, that’s when it’s time to start making use of a freezer and freeze-dryer to store that milk for later.
Depending on your area (and applicable cottage or food-handling laws), you may also be able to give it to friends and family or sell it. Just be sure you’re following all the rules, because they vary from one area to another.
In my area, for example, I can’t sell raw goat’s milk to the public. So my children don’t get into a goat’s milk business, unlike how they have an egg business.
How long does goat’s milk last in a freezer?
Raw goat milk can last up to 6 months if you freeze it properly, but once thawed it cannot be refrozen for storage. Thawed milk can be kept in the refrigerator for about 4 to 5 more days.
It’s a good idea to separate the milk into small-sized containers before freezing. That way, you can use it in small batches or prep those batches for the freeze-dryer if the freezer gets too full.
How Long Does Home Pasteurized Goat Milk Last?
Pasteurized goat milk can stay fresh anywhere from a few hours at room temperature (if it’s sealed and shelf-stable), or three days to two weeks in the fridge, and up to six months in the freezer. It can last up to 15 to 25 years if freeze-dried and stored properly.
Another good way of keeping goat milk fresh is by pasteurizing it. It’s also much safer to drink pasteurized milk if you’re not sure about the health of your goat or if you’re at all worried about anything else.
Through the process of pasteurization, harmful bacteria get eliminated. However, some of the good bacteria get eliminated along with it. A number of people also prefer the taste of raw goat milk.
How long does pasteurized goat milk last at room temperature?
Do not leave home pasteurized milk out in the open at room temperature, as it will spoil within hours. Instead, after pasteurizing the milk we recommend cooling it and putting it in a glass container before putting it in the fridge.
There are some commercially available, pasteurized milk options that are shelf-stable until opened. This includes goat’s milk. They tend to be expensive, but are a great option for short-term food storage enthusiasts who don’t have goats (or cows).
How long does pasteurized goat milk last in the refrigerator?
Similar to cow milk, pasteurized goat milk can last up to 10 days in a regular refrigerator. However, depending on how you handled and pasteurized the milk, it’s possible that time could be as short as 3 days or as long as 14 days.
For example, suppose the milk is well-stored and kept in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature between 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit. In that case, it can last up to 2 weeks.
How long does pasteurized goat’s milk last in a freezer?
If the milk is placed in a chest or upright deep freezer, the milk can be kept there for 6 months. Keep the milk in small containers because the milk can only be defrosted once.
That being said, I’ve kept milk in the freezer for as long as a year and still used it, and we’ve been fine. So it is possible that it could last up to a year. However, if I’m going to keep milk for long-term, that’s when I usually try to prep it for the freeze-dryer.
How Long Does Store-Bought Pasteurized Milk Last?
At room temperature, store-bought goat milk spoils rapidly and may go sour within 1 to 2 hours. It will last three days to two weeks in the fridge, and up to six months in the freezer.
Suppose you want to change from cow milk to goat milk. Pasteurized goat milk is commonly found in almost any supermarket and is already packed for home use. Raw goat milk may be available in stores but is a rarity due to health risks. You’ll have better luck finding it from a goat dairy farm or by raising your own goats.
How long does store-bought goat’s milk last at room temperature?
Just like all the other types of goat milk, store-bought spoils fast at room temperature. It’ll go bad in just a few hours. So, if you are buying goat milk make sure to choose the container found in the refrigerator.
Note: just because the goat’s milk goes bad in 1 to 2 hours from being in the “danger zone” doesn’t mean it will always taste bad or make you sick.
Think of it as a game of “how many risks are you willing to take?”
Generally speaking, if milk has been left out for 2 hours at our home, we go ahead and discard it, depending on how much it is.
How long does store-bought goat’s milk last in the refrigerator?
Similar to regular pasteurized milk, it can last up to 3 days to 2 weeks. Just make sure to store the milk in a fridge that can maintain a temperature between 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
The good thing about store-bought goat milk is that there is no worry about handling the milk during the pasteurization process.
How long does store-bought goat’s milk last in the freezer?
Just the same as home pasteurized milk, goat milk can last up to 6 months if you decide to freeze the milk. However, it can only be defrosted once. If you cannot finish the goat milk after defrosting it, put the remaining milk in the refrigerator. It can usually last up to 2 to 3 more days.
When defrosting milk, be sure to remix the liquid again to break clumps that may have occurred during the freezing process. To avoid wasting milk, we recommend separating the milk into smaller containers before putting it in the freezer.
How Can You Make Goat Milk Last Longer?
When harvesting goat milk, make sure to use a clean and seamless stainless-steel bucket or food-grade plastics with no old milk residue. Old milk, even hardened, can react with the new dairy, and could potentially cause the fresher milk to go bad faster.
There are several ways to make goat milk last without spoiling. However, if harvesting your own goat milk, it’s essential to be careful of how the goat milk is handled, because this will determine its longevity.
Pro tip: don’t give yourself carpal tunnel wrist problems by milking by hand. Read this article I wrote on the better, easier, and faster way to milk goats: Easy Guide: How To Milk A Goat With A Breast Pump.
After gathering the milk, make sure to filter it as soon as possible. This is just a precaution so that no dirt, hair, or bugs are in the milk. Then wait for the milk to cool. Since the milk comes straight from the goat, it’s bound to be warm.
Remember to not leave out the goat milk to cool at room temperature for too long. It will get nasty after a couple of hours. After it’s cooled enough, transfer the milk to small containers. We recommend using glass jars, as glass keeps the container’s content colder longer.
Once it is sealed and finished cooling, transfer the milk to the fridge. If it’s stored properly, the milk can possibly last up to 10 to 14 days.
In order to make it last for a long time, you can even freeze goat milk. If it’s raw goat milk, freezing it will make it last as long as 2 months. You can defrost the milk to consume it but do not refreeze – keep the leftover milk in the fridge. It will stay good for another 2-3 days.
Pasteurizing milk is another way to keep the milk fresh for a longer time. While it has the same longevity in the fridge, it can last up to 6 months in the freezer. Aside from lasting longer, pasteurized milk is also safer to consume and good for your kids to drink.
Want to freeze-dry the goat milk? Read more about How to Freeze-dry Milk (Goat, Cow, Sheep, Human, Nut) in my complete guide here!
How Can You Tell If Goat Milk is Bad?
Don’t worry about drinking spoiled milk by accident, because it’s pretty obvious once it goes bad – the smell is horrendous. You’ll be able to smell the unmistakable spoilage once you open the container of the milk. The rancid smell is very similar to what spoiled cow milk smells like.
On the off chance you can’t identify the smell, try tasting it. If it doesn’t taste right, throw it out. For example, when spoiled, goat milk has a bitter taste compared to its usual sweet and slightly salty taste.
You really can’t miss it when it’s gone bad.
Can Goat Milk be Canned to Store it?
It’s not recommended, but it is possible. However, to be safe, the milk used must be pasteurized, and a pressure canner should be used in order to do the canning process right. Despite it being canned, we would still recommend storing it in a cool place.
How Long Does Goat Milk Last When Freeze-Dried?
When you freeze dry goat milk, it turns into powdered milk. At this stage, store the milk in a glass jar that is vacuumed sealed or a Mylar bag with the additional oxygen absorber. Freeze-dried milk powder has a shelf life of 20-25 years and can hold up to 90-95% of its original nutritional value.
Freeze-drying goat milk is probably the safest way to have goat milk for the long term without having to worry if it goes bad in the freezer. You will be able to finish the milk before it goes bad.
When you want to use the milk, get a small amount of the powder, and add water. Milk is best served chilled, so we would recommend sticking it back into the fridge before drinking it.
What Other Things Can I Do With My Goat Milk?
Goat milk isn’t just great as something to drink. There are so many other alternatives to use your goat milk for. Some examples of products you can use your milk for our goat milk, cheese, and soap. Both products also have several benefits.
Let’s start with something edible first. Goat milk can be transformed into goat milk cheese, also known as chevre. It’s also inexpensive and easy to make. We use the coagulation method, where the goat milk is combined with heat and acid to create the cheese.
Goat cheese is packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also a good source of selenium, magnesium, and niacin. However, just like any food, you shouldn’t eat too much of it just because of its nutritional value.
In addition, it’s a great alternative to regular cow milk cheese. The cheese is easier on the stomach and is hypoallergenic, meaning those who have milk allergies will probably not have an adverse reaction if they consume this product.
Another awesome product you should definitely try to make at home is goat milk soap. The soap is made through saponification, where the other ingredients are combined with a base called lye. There are several easy-to-make goat milk soap recipes online that you can use for your own bars.
Homemade soap tends to be more beneficial than store-bought. Goat milk soap happens to be rich in saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats help with the soap’s lather, while unsaturated fats will keep your skin moisturized and nourished.
Goat milk soap has been known throughout the years as a way to improve dry skin and be a natural exfoliant as the soap contains Alpha-hydroxy acids. The acid is used to treat several skin conditions.
Some studies even say that goat milk soap may help prevent acne. This is due to the lactic acid and exfoliating properties the soap has. The soap is also gentle on the skin, so it helps maintain the skin’s moisture.
How Long Does Goat Cheese Last?
Depending on the type of goat milk cheese you produce, typically in a fridge, it will last 2-3 weeks if sealed properly, then once it is opened, it’ll only last a week. However, if you made hard goat milk cheese, it could last about 1-2 months if sealed, but once exposed to air, it’ll only last 4-6 weeks.
Do not forget to refrigerate the cheese to keep it fresh. It’s also easy to tell once goat milk cheese has gone bad. The easiest indicator is if the cheese has started to grow mold. If the cheese is on the soft side, just make another batch of cheese.
Meanwhile, If you made the hard type of goat milk cheese, simply cut off the moldy cheese, and the rest is safe to eat.
Another indicator is the smell. If your cheese starts to smell sour or rancid, then it’s time for you to throw away the entire block. Cheese tends to change smell as it ages. That’s completely normal. However, once it starts smelling “off,” get rid of it.
How Long Does Goat Milk Soap Last?
Goat milk soap will not spoil, go bad or even expire. If unused and stored in a cool, dry spot, the soap can even last as long as 10-20 years. Even if the scent is gone, the goat milk soap will still give off its supposed nutrients to your skin if you use it despite there being no scent.
A few people might assume goat milk soap has an expiration date due to the main ingredient being goat milk, which does go bad. Some of us may have experienced “bad” natural soap a couple of times in our life. However, if goat milk soap is made correctly, it actually does not expire.
In order for goat milk soap to retain its scent for long periods of time, use high-quality fragrance oils so it can last in storage for years to come.
Meanwhile, if you use essential oils, the scent will only last for a short while. However, if you feel you go through 1 bar a month, then there’s no harm to using just essential oils.
When Does Goat Milk Soap Go Bad?
A good indication that goat milk soap has gone bad is if it is leaking oil. Leaking oil is a sign that the soap maker did not use enough lye in their soap-making process. Some soap even tends to crumble easily.
This time it means the soap maker added too much lye. If the soap has a mold-like spot, it means the soap was not mixed well, and the ingredients did not react to each other properly.
Another example is when the soap does not lather properly, but this does not mean the soap is bad. The lathering problem simply means the recipe is on the unbalanced side.
Here’s a trick – did you know that allowing goat milk soap bars to age will allow them to last longer once you finally decide to use them? It’s just like saving wine for a good day. If you ever choose to make this by yourself, we recommend waiting about 4-8 weeks before using the bar.
Usually, goat milk soap will go bad because the soap maker mishandled the ingredients. Otherwise, the soap should be fresh and able to use for years to come.
Key Takeaways and Next Steps
Goat milk is a great alternative to cow milk, and as an added plus, it’s easier on the stomach. It maintains freshness for about the same length of time that cow milk does and is nutritious and delicious. It can be used to make cheese and soap, as a fun alternative to just drinking the milk.
If you are interested in reading about goat milk and goat-related information, read these great articles:
- How Much Milk Does a Goat Produce Per Day? Guide by Breed
- Easy Guide: How To Milk A Goat With A Breast Pump
- Do Goats Make Good Pets?
Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as homesteaders.
- “All About Goat Cheese (& How to Use It in Every Meal).” Food52, 6 Sept. 2021, food52.com/blog/13434-all-about-goat-cheese-how-to-use-it-in-every-meal.
- Gemperlein-Schirm, Riddley. “All About Goat Cheese (& How to Use It in Every Meal).” Food52, 6 Sept. 2021, food52.com/blog/13434-all-about-goat-cheese-how-to-use-it-in-every-meal.
- Kubala, Jillian M. “Goat Cheese: Nutrition, Benefits and Recipe Ideas.” Healthline, 28 July 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/goat-cheese#nutrition.
- Skrzypiec, Marcin. “How Long Does Goat Cheese Last and How To Store It?” Does It Go Bad?, 15 Dec. 2021, www.doesitgobad.com/how-long-does-goat-cheese-last.
- Starr, Kimberly C. “How to Freeze-Dry Goat Milk.” Experimental Homesteader. https://experimentalhomesteader.com/how-to-freeze-dry-goat-milk/. Accessed 26 Mar. 2022.
- Thomas, Carolyn. “How to Freeze Milk (Or Freeze-Dry Milk).” Homesteading Family, 26 Feb. 2022, homesteadingfamily.com/how-to-freeze-milk.
- Wolford, DaNelle. “How to Keep Raw Goat’s Milk Fresh and Delicious.” Weed ’em & Reap, 18 Sept. 2021, www.weedemandreap.com/goats-milk-keep-fresh-store.