Half and half is the perfect creamy milk blend to add to coffee. Slightly richer than milk, but not quite as heavy as cream, it strikes a fine balance right in the middle.
As a dairy product, manufacturers will not recommend the freezing of half and half, however, it can be frozen to prevent waste and extend its shelf life. Below you will find out everything you need to know about freezing half and half, and how to use it once thawed.
Types of Half and Half
Half and half is a blend of equal parts milk and cream with a 10 to 18 percent fat content. Heavy cream has at least 36 percent fat which makes it very rich and also allows it to be whipped to peaks.
Since half and half has a much lower fat content, it cannot be whipped, but still adds richness without being as heavy as cream on its own. If you are calorie-counting, it is a good alternative to heavy cream.
As opposed to the blend of half whole milk and half heavy cream, there is another variation of half and half which is called ‘fat-free half and half’.
This type replaces the milk fat with corn syrup and thickeners, making it lower fat, yet a very processed product.
Although half and half from general grocery stores has been ultra-pasteurized to extend its shelf life, it is always best to store it in the refrigerator.
Can You Freeze Half and Half?
Yes, half and half can be frozen to extend its shelf life, however, it is important to know that the consistency of the product will not be the same once defrosted. The milk fat will split on freezing which causes a curdled texture.
Despite the altered texture being unpleasant to drink in your coffee, half and half will still be perfectly good for using in baked products and cooking, providing the same creamy taste as before it was frozen.
There are a couple of tricks you can do to minimize the curdling during the freezing process.
How To Freeze Half and Half
Placing an unopened container of half and half in the freezer is the best way to ensure a good quality product once thawed. As the container is still sealed and the milk-cream mixture has not come into contact with air, it should not curdle once thawed.
If you are freezing half and half that has already been opened, make sure it is still fairly fresh and has not reached its expiry date.
To avoid wastage once thawed, you may want to freeze it in smaller quantities so that you can defrost only as much as you need at a time.
Below are two methods to freeze leftover half and half.
Method 1: How To Freeze Half and Half In Ice Cubes
Step 1: Portion and Freeze
Pour the half and half into a clean ice tray and place it into the freezer to freeze completely.
Step 2: Pack and Seal
Remove the frozen cubes from the tray and place them into a ziplock freezer bag.
Keeping the half and half cubes in an air-tight environment will prevent the absorption of odors from surrounding foods which could affect the taste. Remove any air from the bag by pressing it down before sealing.
Step 3: Label
Label the bag with the date and place it in the freezer.
Method 2: How To Freeze Half and Half In Containers
Step 1: Decant
Pour one cup (or less) half and half into air-tight resealable bags or containers that are freezer-friendly. The containers must be air-tight to prevent the half and half from spoiling faster and from absorbing odors from surrounding foods.
Step 2: Close
If you are using ziplock freezer bags, seal them by pressing out as much air as possible.
If using containers, do not fill the container to the brim as the liquid will expand on freezing. Close the air-tight containers.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
Label the bags or containers with the contents and date if necessary. Containers should be placed upright in the freezer.
Freezer bags can be placed on a baking sheet to freeze flat. Once frozen, remove the baking sheet and easily store the frozen half and half stacked in the freezer with plenty of space to spare.
How To Thaw Frozen Half and Half
Half and half should be defrosted by placing it in the fridge overnight to thaw.
Once defrosted, you will notice that the half and half has separated and does not look very appetizing. The milk fat separation is natural and does not mean that the product has spoiled.
For a slightly better consistency, place the defrosted half and half into a blender and give it a whizz for 20 to 30 seconds or give it a good whisk by hand.
Manufacturers do not recommend freezing half and half due to the altered texture once thawed. However, defrosted half and half can be incorporated into any cooked dishes or baking recipes for a fantastic outcome.
The best way to freeze half and half is by putting the original unopened container straight into the freezer after purchasing. This way, it won’t split as there has been no exposure to oxygen and you can thaw it without experiencing a curdling effect.
Even though you might not be pouring it into your morning coffee, it is definitely worth freezing half and half to preserve it for future use.
Up Next: Can you freeze sour cream?
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