We all know how to store the milk or cream or pour it. But in the case of half & half, oftentimes, we end up scratching our heads as to what to do. You may have a full cartoon and want to use it before the expiry date since you may not want to chug the entire carton in one go. What other options do you have?
Freezing Half & Half
The great thing is that you can easily freeze half & half. Putting the half & half in the freezer will make it last up to three months. For better protection, transfer it in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag.
Will it alter the taste?
If you plan to use half & half in baking or cooking, you are less likely to notice any change in the texture or taste. Moreover, if you are using it for morning coffee, simply give it a good whisk. Your half & half will taste fresh as ever. If you want to know more about freezing half & half, you have come to the right place. But before we get to the freezing part in detail, let’s go over some basics.
What Is Half & Half?
Half & half is a combination of light cream and whole milk. Generally, it has a 3.5% light cream and 18% to 20% of milk fat. The fat percentage in half & half can vary between 10-12% based on the brand. In case you don’t want whole milk, there are fat-free or non-fat half & half options as well. Generally, they have carrageenan or corn syrup as a substitute for cream content. While they have less fat, you will still get the creamy and thick taste.
How To Freeze Your Half & Half?
Half & half is generally categorized as a specialty dairy. Therefore, you don’t want it to go to waste, and freezing half & half is the best way. It is a game-changer as freezing will increase the longevity of the half & half. You should freeze it as a single-serve portion. Here are some steps that you should follow while freezing half & half:
- Measure the amount of half & half that you want to freeze.
- Transfer the measured serving into a ziplock bag. It is better to go for small bags depending on your serving size.
- Place the bag on the baking sheet and squeeze to take out as much air as possible. Allow the half & half to get flattened and fill the bag entirely.
- Ensure that the bag is sealed properly. Additionally, write the date on which you are freezing and the best-before date.
- Put the baking sheet in the freeze and try not to open it for a couple of hours.
- Once the half & half is properly frozen, take the bag from the baking sheet and place it directly in the freezer.
Freezing Fat-Free Half & Half
Honestly, a fat-free half & half does not freeze well. This is because of the ingredients that replaced the fat and cream. Those ingredients do not sit well in the freezer, and you will not get the same texture. Even if you whisk or shake the half & half, it is less likely to get into the original consistency.
Freezing Half & Half In The Carton
Half & half generally comes in a carton made of cardboard. It is better not to freeze the half & half directly in the carton. It is especially not recommended when the carton has already been opened. Rather, go for a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or an airtight container that can be sealed properly.
The cartoons are essentially freezer-safe and can turn soggy while thawing. Additionally, it can also expand while freezing. If the carton is unopened, put it in the freezer as it’s likely to expand.
How Long Can You Freeze Half & Half?
The answer to this question will depend on the freezer. If you use the freezer a lot, the temperature will fluctuate every time you open the door. This will put the flavor and consistency of the half & half at risk. But if your freezer consistently experiences 0-degree Fahrenheit or lower, you can freeze the half & half for an indefinite time. Use it within the first three months after freezing to enjoy the best flavor of half & half.
How Long Will Thawed Half & Half Will Last In the Freezer?
After being thawed, the shelf life of half & half can vary. You will have to figure out the best date for the half & half. For instance, if you have frozen your thawed half & half on September 1st, 2021, and have the best before the date of September 5th, 2021, you can safely use it for four days. When storing it in the container or Ziploc bag, ensure to write the date on it.
How To Safely Use Frozen Half & Half?
Ensure to thaw your frozen half & half properly before using it. Always use the thawing method in order to defrost the half & half. In the frozen state, the fat and water will separate and turn a bit grainy. After you have thawed, ensure to thoroughly shake or whisk the liquid.
This will give you a smooth and creamy texture. Even a simple change in the texture can impact the overall taste of your morning coffee. But for baking or cooking, you are not likely to notice any difference.
How Long Can Open Half & Half Be Used For?
After you have opened the half & half, it must be used within 3 to 5 days to enjoy its enjoyable taste. But make sure that you give it a good shake before using it. This will reconstitute milk fat that may have separated, giving you smooth flavor and texture.
Half & half has a longer shelf life as opposed to other dairy products. One of the reasons is due to the higher fat content in it. The bacteria that form in the milk to cause sickness are attracted to the water instead of fat. Therefore, dairy products with higher content of fat can stay safer for a longer period.
Additionally, half & half is pasteurized at a higher temperature in comparison to milk. It heats the liquid hot enough to kill off the bacteria without curdling the milk. Ultra-pasteurized dairy such as heavy cream and half & half are heated at a higher temperature. The process kills more bacteria, thereby providing half & half with a longer shelf-life.