How to Freeze Heavy Cream Successfully

How to Freeze Heavy Cream Successfully

Sometimes a recipe will call for only a partial container of heavy cream and not the full amount. Heavy cream has a shelf life of approximately 15 days from purchase before it begins the process of turning rancid. To prevent spoiling and avoid having to throw food out, you can freeze cream with a fat content of 36 percent or greater. Lighter creams do not freeze well. Freezing will not affect the nutritional content, although the cream won't whip quite as well after it's frozen and thawed. With this article, we will show you how to successfully freeze your leftover heavy cream and save it for a later recipe!

What is Heavy Cream?

Cream is made with different percentages of milk fat, and the amount of fat determines its purpose. Half-and-half varies from 10.8 to 18 percent fat and is often used in coffee and poured over fruit. Light whipping cream is 30 to 36 percent fat and has enough body to whip or to cook with. Heavy cream contains 36 to 38 percent fat and is the most versatile of the three. It can be used to thicken soups and sauces and can be made into whipped cream. Heavy cream can be diluted with milk to approximate lighter creams.

Freezing Small Amounts of Heavy Cream:

Pour the heavy cream into an ice cube tray, and freeze. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Each cube is usually equal to two tablespoons of heavy cream. Measure your ice cube tray, to see how much it holds.

Here are some conversions to help you figure out how many cubes to pull for a recipe:

2 cubes = 1/4 cup
4 cubes = 1/2 cup
6 cubes = 3/4 cup
8 cubes = 1 cup

Want Bigger Cubes? Use a 2-inch ice cube tray. Each cube will hold 1/2 cup of heavy cream.

When you're not using your ice cube trays to freeze cream, they can also be used to freeze leftover broth, buttermilk and wine (though I'm told there's no such thing as leftover wine).

Freezing Large Amounts of Heavy Cream:

Simply freeze the cream in the carton it came in. If the container is full, pour out an inch of the cream to allow room for expansion when it freezes.

Using Frozen Heavy Cream:

Defrost heavy cream in the refrigerator before you are ready to use it. Small portions may defrost in a day or less, while larger containers can take two or three days. Then, give it a good shake (or stir) to redistribute the butterfat. Heavy cream separates after being frozen and defrosted; it will look clotted or curdled. This is normal. Simply shake well before using. Frozen heavy cream will still whip and do everything else that you want it to. In fact, cold cream actually whips better.

Planning to use your heavy cream in a hot dish? Just add it directly to the recipe. There's no need to thaw it out first.

An Alternative to Fresh Heavy Cream:

If you never seem to have heavy cream on hand when you need it, or it always goes bad before you get to use it, consider switching to powdered heavy cream. It's shelf stable, and allows you to mix up heavy cream as you need it. You aren't likely to find it in your local grocery store, but it's readily available online.

Hints for Whipping Cream:

Once heavy cream has defrosted, you will not be able to whip it to the same volume and airiness, because the jagged ice crystals that form during the freezing process that may pierce some of the fat globules.

If you intend to make whipped cream from your heavy cream, You could opt to sweeten and whip the cream before freezing. Portion whipped cream into individual mounds on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet, freeze, and then remove to store in a covered plastic container until ready for use. Frozen whipped cream will keep in the freezer for one to two months.

Sources: The Balance, Our Everyday Life

Photo Credit: Our Everyday Life

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