Known as a creamy holiday comfort, a boozy celebration, and a traditional festive drink, eggnog can be enjoyed hot or cold, spiced, plain, or with alcohol.
Once you’ve had your fair share of eggnog, you may need a break from this rich and creamy beverage, but unfortunately, its shelf life does not allow it to be stored for more than a couple of days. The great news is that you can freeze eggnog and not a single drop has to go to waste.
Once thawed, eggnog can be used in smoothies and even in baking recipes and desserts. Here is how to go about freezing eggnog so you can celebrate with this holiday drink all year round.
Types of Eggnog
Eggnog is a creamy drink made with milk, cream, sugar, and eggs. The alcoholic version which can include brandy, rum, whiskey, or bourbon is sometimes referred to as ‘milk punch’. Eggnog is traditionally enjoyed in North America over the Christmas holiday season.
Pre-packaged eggnog which is purchased in-store has been heat-processed giving it a longer shelf life than the fresh homemade version. This rich, sweet dairy drink can be served cold, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, or as a comforting warm drink on cold winter days.
Can I Freeze Eggnog?
Eggnog contains raw eggs, cream, and milk which are all known to be heat-sensitive and highly perishable ingredients. The shelf life of eggnog in the refrigerator will, therefore, depend on exposure to light, heat, moisture, and its preparation method.
To extend its short shelf life, eggnog can be frozen, although it has to be stored carefully to prevent textural changes such as separation of the ingredients and a lumpy consistency.
Due to the process of pasteurization, store-bought eggnog will stay fresh in the fridge for five to seven days, while homemade eggnog only lasts for one to two days. This makes freezing the perfect solution to prevent waste.
Although freezing eggnog extends its shelf life up to six months, the consistency could change when thawed. This, however, is no problem, since even if eggnog is not served as a drink after freezing, it is still a great ingredient to use in baking, desserts, and cooking.
How To Freeze Homemade Eggnog
Leftover store-bought eggnog (which has already been opened) can be stored in the freezer using the same method as homemade eggnog.
Step 1: Cool
Let the eggnog cool to room temperature.
Step 2: Pour and Package
Pour the eggnog into freezer-friendly plastic containers with air-tight lids or use thick resealable freezer bags. Leave an inch of headroom at the top of the container or bag as the eggnog will expand on freezing which can cause the packaging to crack or burst open if too full.
Close the container tightly. If you are using freezer bags, ensure that there are no leaks and lightly press out any air before sealing.
Step 3: Label and Store
Label the container with the date and contents and place it upright in the freezer.
Tip: You may want to place freezer bags flat on a baking sheet to freeze, to allow them to freeze evenly and prevent any spillage. Once solid, remove them from the baking sheet and stack them in the freezer as a great space-saver.
How To Freeze Store-bought Eggnog
Store-bought eggnog is best frozen while it is still completely sealed and before it has been opened. Always place eggnog in the freezer well before the expiry date.
Step 1: Pre-freeze
Place the unopened eggnog carton upright in the freezer for a few hours until frozen solid.
Step 2: Package
Place the frozen sealed carton into a freezer bag. This extra layer of plastic protection prevents freezer burn and the absorption of surrounding odors.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
Label the container with the date to keep track of how long it has been stored and place the frozen eggnog back in the freezer.
Step 4: Consistent Temperature
Fluctuations in temperature will affect the quality of the eggnog. Ensure it is kept at a constant temperature below 32˚F (0˚C).
How To Thaw Frozen Eggnog
With raw egg and dairy as its main constituents, it is extremely important to take care when defrosting eggnog to prevent spoiling. Remove the eggnog from the freezer and place it straight into the fridge to thaw.
Never defrost eggnog at room temperature as this will cause the ingredients to separate and become unpalatable or turn sour.
Even when thawed in the refrigerator, there is still a chance that the eggnog may separate. To reconstitute its creamy texture, give it a good whisk or blend it in a blender to create a smooth and frothy consistency.
To enjoy the eggnog warm after thawing, pour it into a saucepan and heat it on the stove over low heat. This stovetop method is recommended for the best end product and even heating.
Alternatively, you can reheat it in the microwave but you will need to check and stir it on 30-second intervals to spread the heat evenly and prevent it from overheating which will completely ruin the texture.
Since eggnog can be frozen, it is not a bad idea to purchase a few cartons during the holiday season and keep some sealed for freezing so that you can enjoy this creamy drink long after the holidays are over.
Served hot or cold, eggnog is a comforting winter warmer or delicious blended into cool creamy smoothies. Eggnog is also a great addition in dessert recipes, cakes, biscuits, and bread pudding. Get freezing and celebrate the holidays all year long.
Up Next: Can You Freeze Almond Milk?
Image by bhofack2/depositphotos