We tend to get a bit finicky when storing dairy items because we are never quite sure how they will react to the various storing methods. Generally, milk does not have a good reputation for freezing and remaining fresh for substantial periods. So, with half-and-half, most of us would be scratching our heads when reading the carton instructions because half-and-half is more than dairy and have specific storage requirements.
So, you could be stuck with an unopened carton nearing its expiry date or even have leftovers you do not like to throw away. Under such circumstances, can we refrigerate or, better, can we freeze half-and-half?
Can You Freeze Half-And-Half?
Fortunately, we can freeze half-and-half by transferring the contents to a ziplock bag or an airtight container and placing it in the freezer. We shall explore every aspect of freezing half-and-half in this article, but here is a quick recap for those who are not yet sure what half-and-half is.
What Is Half-And-Half?
Half-and-half is a combination of light cream and whole milk. Typically, it features 3.5% milk fat and half light cream comprising 18 to 20% milkfat. But, with half-and-half, the milk fat is around 10 to 12%, depending on which brand you purchase.
So, the non-fat and fat-free half-and-half is a good option for people who do not relish whole milk. Alternatives like carrageenan and corn syrup are available for the cream content. While delivering the creamy taste, they have less fat.
So, How Do You Freeze Half-And-Half?
Compared to regular dairy, half-and-half is expensive. So, you think twice before wasting it. Instead, you can consider freezing it as a better option. The ideal way to freeze half-and-half is to store it in single-use portions to ensure minimum wastage.
Freezing Half-And-Half For General Use
- As indicated above, measure out single-use servings of half-and-half.
- Transfer each serving to individual freezer-safe ziplock bags.
- Lay the ziplock bag on a baking sheet and gently press it to remove all air. The half-and-half flattens out. Please ensure there are no air bubbles inside the bag.
- Seal the bag thoroughly and double-check for leakages.
- Label the bag with the freezing date and note down the recommended “best by date.”
- Place the freezer bag and the baking sheet into the freezer and let it lie undisturbed for a couple of hours.
- The half-and-half should freeze by this time. Next, remove the ziplock bags from the baking sheet and place them carefully against the freezer walls.
Freezing Half-And-Half For Coffee
The method of freezing is slightly different.
- Pour half-and-half into an ice cube tray, filling half of each cube space. It should be around a tablespoon of half-and-half. Generally, half a cube should be sufficient for coffee, but you can freeze more if you wish to.
- Insert the tray into the freezer to allow the half-and-half to freeze solid. Please ensure that the liquid does not spill over the freezer floor.
- Transfer the frozen half-and-half cubes into a ziplock bag and transfer them to the freezer for continuous freezing.
- You will need to defrost the cubes before you have coffee.
Freezing Fat-Free Half-And-Half
We do not recommend freezing fat-free half-and-half because the ingredients used in its preparation are not freezer-friendly. You can expect the texture to change drastically. Shaking and whisking the frozen fat-free half-and-half will not return to the same consistency.
Freezing Half-And-Half In Its Carton
We do not recommend freezing half-and-half in its carton because of various reasons.
- It is best to transfer the contents of the opened carton to freezer-safe ziplock bags or airtight containers.
- It is not advisable to freeze the half-and-half cartons directly in the freezer because they can become soggy. Secondly, half-and-half expands when freezing. So, there are chances of the liquid spilling out and causing a mess inside the freezer.
- We have already mentioned that it is better to freeze half-and-half in single-use serving portions. Freezing the cartons with more leftovers can result in wastage because you cannot defrost such frozen half-and-half partially.
How Long Can You Freeze Half-And-Half?
A lot depends on how you use the freezer. For example, if you keep opening the freezer frequently, the temperature can fluctuate, affecting the half-and-half’s consistency and risk spoiling it. But, if there are no such issues, the half-and-half can technically remain frozen indefinitely. Nevertheless, we recommend consuming the frozen half-and-half within three months of freezing it. Then, you can enjoy the taste as good as fresh.
How Do You Defrost Half-And-Half?
You can defrost half-and-half by removing the required servings from the freezer and transferring them to the fridge overnight. The half-and-half thaws naturally and becomes ready for consumption the following morning.
How Long Does Thawed Half-And-Half Last In The Refrigerator?
The thawed half-and-half can remain fresh in the fridge for around four days. However, we recommend consuming half-and-half before its “Best by date.” It is not safe to consume half-and-half past its expiry date because it can get spoiled.
Will The Half-And-Half Texture Change After Defrosting?
Freezing half-and-half separates the fat and water content to develop a grainy texture. However, you can shake or whisk the defrosted half-and-half to enable it to return to its smooth, consistent texture. But, it will never regain its original texture when it is fresh.
How Long Can An Opened Carton Of Half-And-Half Last?
Every carton has an expiry date printed on it. Though consuming the half-and-half by that date is recommended, you can extend its shelf life by seven to ten days by refrigerating it. Freezing half-and-half can extend its life by another three months.
Can You Refreeze Half-And-Half?
You cannot refreeze half-and-half after defrosting it. It is best consumed within three days of defrosting. Refreezing can result in massive changes in texture that can lead to its spoilage.
How Do You Know If Half-And-Half Has Gone Bad?
Half-and-half is a dairy product, and hence it is easy to spot whether it has spoiled. Spoilt half-and-half will have a curdled texture. The odor is also a giveaway. Besides, if you find any mold formation on the carton, it is better to throw it away and purchase a new one.
Half-and-half can be had with various recipes. Therefore, it becomes essential to store it properly for convenient consumption. Therefore, freezing half-and-half is an excellent option, provided you correctly follow the procedure described here.
So, can you freeze half-and-half? You can happily say you can.