We all are experts with milk and cream. But when it comes to half and half, we are confused. Have you ever wondered what to do with a carton full of half and half with an immediate expiry date? It always gives us stress if we have spent our money on something that will expire sooner.
I am sure we are not ready to waste a carton of half and half. Now comes the next question. But how? How can we increase the shelf life by half and half?
Can you freeze half and half? Of course, yes. You can freeze your half and half to increase its utility. The freezing technique differs based on the type of half and half. The most important point to note is that the texture of half and half changes once you freeze and defrost them.
The milk fat in the half and half gets curdled upon defrosting. Though the texture changes, they don’t fail to give a rich taste to your baking products.
Let us know more about the types of half and half and the techniques to freeze them.
- What is half and half?
- How to freeze half and half?
- How to defrost half and half?
- How long can you freeze half and half?
- How long can you keep the thawed half and half?
- Can you freeze half and half in the carton?
- Can you freeze half and half for coffee?
- Can you freeze fat-free half and half?
- Can you use frozen half and a half without thawing?
- When half and half have separated on thawing, has it been spoiled?
- Can you refreeze half and half?
- How do you know if the half and half have gone bad?
What is half and half?
Let us get it cleared for those still amazed about what is half and half before proceeding.
Half and half is a perfect blend of milk and cream. As the name suggests, it is half milk and half cream. Half milk contains 3.5% milk fat, and half cream includes 18-20% milk fat. It has much lower fat and is a good alternative to heavy cream with 36% milkfat.
If you are a person who doesn’t enjoy whole milk, ‘fat-free half and half’ would be the best choice. Though it cant be whipped as much as heavy cream, it gives a rich texture to your coffee. They contain corn syrup or carrageenan to replace the cream content. They have a thin and creamy texture.
How to freeze half and half?
Half and half is a costly dairy product. We can freeze them to increase the shelf life and use them accordingly.
Before you freeze the half and half, it is better to divide them into separate parts in which they are to be used. For example, if you require ½ cup for baking, freeze ½ cup separately to be readily available for use.
Follow the below steps for freezing the half and half.
- If you want to freeze the unopened half and half, you can place them in the freezer with their original packing. Since it is not opened, the oxygen does not enter inside them. So, they don’t curdle when thawed.
- If you want to freeze the leftover half and half, you can freeze them either in an airtight container or a ziplock bag.
- If you want to freeze the half and half in different proportions, measure the half and half and divide them according to the cooking needs.
- Use a zip-lock bag or airtight container and transfer the divided contents into them. It is safer to use a smaller container that fits the quantity just right.
- If you are using a zip-lock bag, make sure you place them on a baking sheet and release the air as much as possible.
- Also, make sure that the half and half flattens completely without any air bubbles and seal the bag.
- Now you can place the bag or the container into the freezer. It is best not to open the door for at least two hours after placing the load.
- If you freeze them in a ziplock bag, remove them from the baking sheet once the half and half are fully frozen. You can then place them vertically or horizontally in the freezer.
How to defrost half and half?
You can remove the frozen half and half from the freezer and place it in the fridge for few hours. When you thaw any dairy product, it is very common to notice them splitting or curdling.
It would be best to whisk the half and half until it blends well to bring back the normal consistency. If you notice a nice blend, your half and half are ready to be used for your dish.
How long can you freeze half and half?
The period until which the half and half can be frozen depends upon the type and usage of the freezer. If you use your freezer often, then the temperature might fluctuate every time you open and close your freezer. This may alter the taste and texture of your half and half
The best period within which you can use your frozen half and half is three months. Afterwhich, there might be some changes in the tastes and textures.
How long can you keep the thawed half and half?
This is one of the most confusing questions. The shelf life of the half and half varies after thawing. So, how do we know that? For this, you will need to compute the days between the date when you froze the half and half and the best before the expiry date.
For example: If you freeze the half and half on 01st August. The best before date is 4th August. Then, your thawed half and half are good to use for three days.
You may mark the frozen date on the ziplock bag or mark a label on the ait-tight container for proper utilization. If your thawed half and half are unused for more than the prescribed days, you will have to dispose of them.
Can you freeze half and half in the carton?
Freezing the half and half along with the carton is your choice. But, it is recommended not to freeze them along with the cartons. The cartons that come along with the purchase do not necessarily be freezer safe.
Half and half usually expand when frozen. But, the carton does not necessarily extend. So, the carton may split. You may need to keep an eye on it.
If your carton splits while in the freezer, you may need to immediately remove them and repack and place them back in the freezer.
Can you freeze half and half for coffee?
Yes. You can use the frozen half and half for coffee. It would be best if you thawed it well before using it in your coffee. The following steps ensure that you thaw the half and half coffee properly to make sure you get the same taste and texture.
You may fill the half and half in the ice-cube containers. Make sure you fill half of each square with half a teaspoon.
Place the tray inside the freezer until the half and half is completely frozen. Be cautious if the tray is laid only on a flat surface inside the freezer.
Once frozen, you may remove them from the tray and repack them into the freezer-safe ziplock bag.
If you anticipate the half and half to be used the next day, you may transfer as many cubes from the freezer to the fridge and leave them overnight. You
The half and half are ready for use in the morning.
Can you freeze fat-free half and half?
Not really. The ingredients of the fat-free half and half are much different than the milk and cream. They don’t freeze well, and the texture will differ drastically.
Even whisking and heavy shaking do not help in bringing the right texture. So, you cant freeze them.
Can you use frozen half and a half without thawing?
The frozen half and half may lose their original texture upon defrosting. To bring it back to the correct consistency, it is always suggested to thaw the half and half. You may also need to whisk it properly to get a proper texture.
When half and half have separated on thawing, has it been spoiled?
It is very common for every dairy product to curdle and get separated on thawing. It is because of the accumulated butterfat. Half and half also fall under the same roof. That does not mean that half and half are spoiled. It is a normal process and completely safe to use in your cooking and baking.
Can you refreeze half and half?
No. It is suggested not to refreeze your half and half. But why? Refreezing the half and half would pave the way for excessive bacterial growth. Furthermore, half and half might lose their taste and texture at varying temperatures.
How do you know if the half and half have gone bad?
Sour odor is the main key for identifying if half and half have gone bad. If you have not frozen your half and half and you find that it has been curdled, beware. It has certainly gone bad.
Half and half is certainly not that easy money product. You need to spend a pretty penny to purchase them. Manufacturers do not recommend freezing half and half because it curdles upon thawing. But, you can use them in baking recipes for an awesome output.
Just follow the steps carefully and happy cooking!