Q. My mom puts cream in her coffee and brings over a container every time she visits. The problem is, I don’t use cream very often, and find myself throwing out almost full containers of cream. I don’t know what else to do with it. Can you freeze cream?
A. Yes, you can certainly freeze cream, although there are a few things you should know about freezing dairy products. Cream has a high fat content, and the fat has a tendency to separate during the freezing process. To minimize how much that separation occurs, give the cream a good stir or shake before putting it in the freezer.
How to freeze cream?
You can freeze cream in its original container, but since cream has a tendency to take on the flavors of other foods, you may want to consider another method. A good way to minimize the risk of changing the flavor of your cream is to freeze it in a freezer bag or to place the original container in a freezer bag for a double layer of protection.
Also, if you don’t use much at a time, you may want to consider freezing it in individual servings. For small servings, pour the cream in ½ or 1 cup quantities in silicone muffin tins, then pop them out and place the individually frozen blocks of cream in a large freezer bag, and then just remove one or two at a time for use in a recipe. For single servings, consider freezing cream in ice cube trays. Simply pour the cream in the cubes, freeze, and pop them out when frozen. Place cubes in freezer bags and thaw one or two cubes as you need them. Freezing cream in smaller quantities also cuts down on the time it takes to thaw the cream for use.
To thaw cream, place it in the refrigerator until thawed completely. Never thaw cream on the counter, as the uneven temperatures can lead to harmful bacteria growth. Some separation may have occurred during the freezing and thawing process, so give the cream a stir or a shake to thicken to mixture. The colour of the cream may have turned a bit yellow when frozen, but it should return to its original white once it’s been thawed and stirred. It may still appear a bit grainy, but once it’s incorporated into a recipe or mixed into coffee it should be fine. Use thawed cream within 24 hours for best results, and never refreeze thawed cream.