Anyone who loves baking as much as I do knows that heavy cream is essential in making some of the best frostings, cakes, ice cream, and cookies out there. If you've been baking, and have some old heavy cream leftover, this article will tell you everything you need to know about the most crucial question for this dairy product—how long does heavy cream last?
How long does heavy cream last?
When it comes to storage, heavy cream is not difficult to keep. Heavy Cream should stay good for a whole month or even longer if it has been heavily pasteurized. One thing to remember is always to keep it refrigerated, regardless of whether it has been opened or not. Do not keep it at room temperature, especially uncovered, for more than an hour, or it will spoil faster.
How long does heavy cream last after opening?
Unopened heavy cream containers can also be used for up to 30 days, assuming they have been stored properly. See the instructions below for proper storage tips.
If your opened container has been at room temperature, it will last up to two hours. After this, you will want to check for signs of spoilage.
How to store heavy cream
Use the following storage tips to prolong the shelf life of heavy cream.
- Always keep your heavy cream sealed and constantly refrigerated for longer shelf life.
- If the original packaging does not seal well, transfer it to a sterile, airtight container.
- The best way to store it is at the back of the fridge, instead of the door, so the temperature remains constant.
Can you use heavy whipping cream after the expiration date?
An open can or carton of heavy cream can still be used up to 5 days after expiration. However, you'll find the best quality by using it prior to the expiry date. Other factors may affect longevity, one of which would be proper storage.
How to tell if heavy cream is bad
You can always tell if your heavy cream is spoiled by the way it looks and smells. If there is a sour smell or you see any discoloration or molding, it is time to throw it away. Other things to look out for are the following:
- Separation. If the liquid and solid parts are noticeably separated, you'll want to discard the leftover in a food waste container.
- Bubbles. This can be an indicator that heavy bacteria build-up has already started.
- Sour Taste. If the cream has a sour taste, do not use it anymore. Unlike sour cream, you do not want any tart flavor.
Food safety is important with milk products because it helps to prevent foodborne illnesses, which can cause serious health problems. Pregnant women are at an increased risk for food poisoning. A number of bacteria can be found in spoiled milk, including listeria monocytogenes, yersinia enterocolitica, and e. coli.
Ultra-pasteurized cream is a type of cream that is heated to an ultra-high temperature, which kills more bacteria and extends its shelf life. The process of ultra-pasteurization alters the flavor and texture of the cream, resulting in a thicker texture and a somewhat cooked taste.
Using up leftover heavy cream
If you are not planning on making desserts that require heavy cream, you can always whip it up and use it to make homemade iced coffee or frap!
You can also mix it 50:50 with fresh whole milk and use it as a creamer for coffee or tea. My delicious Starbucks Irish Cream Cold Brew and Dutch Bros Golden Eagle both feature heavy cream.
You can also use heavy cream to make butter, cream cheese, and DIY Cool Whip. The recipes above are a great way to use up that extra cream!
Can I freeze heavy cream?
You absolutely can. Heavy cream is freezer–friendly and can be frozen for up to three months. I like to use ice cube trays to freeze small portions. Take note, though, that freezing affects its texture. Once you thaw it, you will notice a separation and a bit of graininess. This is normal; it just needs a good stir before using it again.
Allow your frozen heavy cream to thaw in the fridge overnight, and use a whisk to mix it up before using for the best results.
Frequently asked questions
Heavy cream, also called heavy whipping cream, contains more than 36% to 40% milk fat. The high-fat content makes it thicker and allows you to make firm, stiff peaks. As the term suggests, this cream has the highest butterfat content available.
Yes, it is. This type of cream contains only 30% to 36% fat. Since it has less fat content, it produces softer whipped peaks that melt quicker.
No, it is not. This cream contains only 15% to 18% fat, commonly used as creamer for coffee. It is also a cooking cream, so you can use this as a substitute when mixing it with soup, stews, or sauces to thicken them.
Unfortunately, there is no use for spoiled heavy cream. It's best to throw it out as food waste.
Next time you use half a container of heavy cream, you know what to do! Remember that your heavy cream will last up to 30 days in your refrigerator under proper storage. Like most dairy products, be sure to store fresh cream in a tightly sealed container in the fridge or freezer.
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