An unopened, properly stored package of dried nonfat milk lasts three to five years. Powdered whole milk, reduced-fat milk and buttermilk, however, aren't suitable for long-term storage because of their fat content. Even under optimal conditions, the taste of the milk may begin to change after a few years. Under the right storage conditions, even if the taste changes, the dried milk remains nutritious and safe for consumption.
Buy, reconstitute and sample a few brands of dried nonfat milk. Confirm that you like a particular product before stocking up, because quality varies widely.
Opt for powdered milk labeled "extra-grade" for the highest quality. Extra-grade products are most easily reconstituted and contain the least amount of scorched particles. They also contain the least moisture and lowest bacteria count, which makes them best suited to long-term storage.
Purchase powdered nonfat milk that's packaged in a vacuum-sealed, airtight, moisture-proof mylar bag. The packaging should shield the product from light. Refrain from opening the package.
Store the dried milk in a cool, dry place. If the product is protected from oxygen, moisture and light, and stored at a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect the milk to last about four years. Storage at 50 F preserves the flavor much better. Refrigerate the powdered milk for the best results.
- Once a package is opened, transfer its contents to a tightly sealed container and keep it in a cool, dry place out of the light. It only requires refrigeration after being reconstituted. However, the powder is no longer suitable for long-term storage.
- Purchase dried nonfat milk that's fortified with vitamins A and D.
- Along with flavor, vitamin content degrades after storage of more than several years even under the best storage conditions.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, travel, and lifestyle writer living with his family in Orlando, Florida. He has professional experience to complement his love of cooking and eating, having worked for 10 years both front- and back-of-house in casual and fine dining restaurants. He has written print and web pieces on food and drink topics for Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and other publications.