Aseptic Processing & Packaging: What does it mean?

Have you ever seen milk in the store… next to the juice boxes or chicken broth? Not in the refrigerated case! Or had it left on your doorstep. In a box. With an expiration date far beyond the point of no return? Sound the alarm. “What do they put in that?” It must be something terrible, right? Probably conjured up in a creepy science lab somewhere. Now take a deep breath. I’ll explain everything.


The Nature of Processing

When you think of it, vegetables have no business sitting on the shelf for weeks either. The same goes for broth, soup, and dozens of other things you probably take for granted. What these have in common is that they are low-acid foods. Juice can get away with being at room temperature because its acidity controls the microbes. For products with lower acidity, it really comes down to processing and packaging.


Processing is a bad word, right? It means doing all kinds of strange things to change ingredients from their original form to something else. Well, not necessarily. You see, not all processing is created equal. Take canning, for example. Cans are filled, sealed, then cooked in a big oven. When poorly applied, this burns taste, texture, and sometimes nutrition out of the product. Furthermore, canned foods, though sealed, may require preservatives to keep shelf life. The most common? Sodium. Lots and lots of sodium.


Then there is pasteurization.

A product – let’s say milk – is heated to a certain temperature for a period of time. The worst microbes die off or go dormant for a while, but not to a sufficient level to hold them off for long. You wind up with a short shelf-life product trapped in the fridge.


Aseptic Processing

There is a better way. Here is what happens to your Elmhurst plant milk. It’s called an aseptic process, and it’s simple. Aseptic processing is based on sterility. Sterile means free from living organisms or microorganisms. In non-scientific terms, this means even cleaner than clean, but to keep it simple, we’ll just call it clean for purposes of this article. It combines four things:


Clean package + clean product + clean environment + hermetic seal


The clean product is filled into clean packaging material in a chamber of clean air. This means no contaminants allowed. Before the package exits the machine, it is sealed off from the human world, kind of like a genie in a bottle. There is not a single opening, not even a pinhole, to the outside. This is what we mean by hermetically sealed, and the point is to keep out our friend oxygen, which contaminates. The only thing that can free the product is you, the consumer, at home. If a genie appears, let us know.


How do we make ‘clean’ product, you might ask? Rather than ‘cook’ like the can of vegetables, we superheat our milks for two seconds at 280°F. The blink of an eye. Your plant milk doesn’t even know what hit it, and that’s the point. It’s too fast to compromise its flavor, but strong enough to kill any bacteria naturally found in food. That’s the extent of our aseptic processing: two seconds.


What It Means And this, my friends, is what shows up at your door. So open your carton of Elmhurst Milked. Open now, or open it later. Only after you twist-off the cap to break the seal do you have to refrigerate. Until then, you can shock your guests by pouring it into their coffee straight out a box sitting on your doorstep. And impress them with your aseptic knowledge when the room turns to relieved laughter. Fun.


To summarize, in tandem with our proprietary HydroRelease™ method, aseptic processing adds value to your plant milk. We eradicate the bad to liberate the good – the nutrition, the deliciousness, the purity. What’s more, freedom from the walls of refrigeration allows you to experience our products in entirely new and remarkable ways – starting with delivery right to your porch. So enjoy your carton of Elmhurst Milk worry-free! The convenience is on us.