Besides being paired with fruit or granola for breakfast, yogurt is a versatile dairy ingredient used in sweet and savory applications. Yogurt can be used in baking recipes, desserts, salad dressings, as a meat marinade, dip, or simply enjoyed as a healthy snack.
Although freezing most types of dairy is not generally recommended, yogurt can be frozen and preserved in the freezer to prolong its shelf life.
The texture will change a little on freezing, but there are still plenty of ways in which you can use fresh frozen yogurt to save money and food wastage.
Here is everything you need to know when preserving yogurt in the freezer.
Types of Yogurt
Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. Although cow milk is generally used for yogurt production due to its wide availability, yogurt can also be made from goat, sheep, and soy milk.
Depending on the fat ratios in the product, yogurt is available in full-cream, low-fat, and fat-free varieties and comes in a wide range of sweetened flavors from natural, vanilla, and peach, to strawberry, pineapple, and toffee.
Greek yogurt is traditionally known for its thick and creamy consistency with no added flavorings.
Due to the water component of the dairy being strained off during production, and the lack of additional artificial ingredients, this plain whole yogurt is high in fat with less sugar and carbohydrates than the flavored varieties.
It has a natural, and slightly sour flavor which makes it ideal for use in savory and sweet dishes.
Can Yogurt Be Frozen?
So, can I freeze yogurt?
Yes, yogurt can be frozen to extend its shelf life. Since yogurt contains water and dairy fat components, it will split when frozen causing a grainy texture once thawed. This can easily be remedied by blending the yogurt well to reconstitute its smooth consistency.
Yogurt that has been frozen makes a great addition to smoothies and can also be used for baking and cooking. Freezing fresh yogurt will, however, not result in the same sweet and smooth product as store-bought ‘frozen yogurt’ dessert.
This ice-cream-like frozen dessert contains additional ingredients and stabilizers with varying milk fat, sugar, and water ratios to that of natural fresh yogurt.
How To Freeze Yogurt
Method 1: Original Container
Step 1: Check Freshness
Yogurt can easily be frozen in its store-bought container as long as it is still fresh and sealed. If the yogurt is close to expiry, it will not freeze well and should rather be used straight away. If the tub has started to swell, the yogurt has likely gone sour.
Individual portion tubs freeze best, although large tubs can also be frozen. Keep in mind that if you freeze a large tub of yogurt, you will likely have to thaw and use the entire tub as opposed to only portioning out the small amount you need and keeping the rest frozen.
Step 2: Label
Label the unopened tubs of fresh yogurt with the date so you can keep track of how long it has been stored in the freezer.
Step 3: Freeze
Place the tubs in the freezer.
Method 2: Portioned
Step 1: Decant
If the yogurt has already been opened or is too large a portion for a single-use serving, it is best to freeze it in smaller, separate amounts. Pour the yogurt into ice cube trays or into a silicone muffin baking tray. You can also add a little bit of fruits such as strawberry to make a nice dessert.
Step 2: Pre-freeze
Place the tray into the freezer until the yogurt has frozen completely.
Step 3: Pack
Remove the frozen yogurt ice cubes or muffin rounds from the mold and pack them into resealable freezer bags.
This will protect the yogurt from further contact with air which will cause freezer burn and will prevent the absorption of surrounding odors. Press all the air out of the bags and seal.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
Label the freezer bag with the date and place it into the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Yogurt
To thaw yogurt, it should always be placed in the refrigerator overnight. Small portions will only take a few hours to defrost. Once defrosted, the yogurt may split and have a grainy consistency. To fix this, simply give it a vigorous whisk to reconstitute its creamy texture.
Yogurt portions that have been frozen in ice cubes or a muffin tray mold can be added to smoothies frozen. This adds a great creamy texture yet gives a cool and refreshingly icy consistency.
Although there may be some textural changes once yogurt has been frozen and thawed, it can still be used in many delicious ways. Freezing yogurt while it is still fresh is a good way to prolong its shelf life, saving you money and waste.
Freezing unopened individual mini-tubs from the store is a good way to keep the yogurt well preserved, free from contact with air, and perfectly portioned.
If you have leftovers or had to buy a tub larger than you need, simply portion it up yourself, just remember to keep the frozen yogurt portions in airtight packaging to prevent the absorption of surrounding odors.
Fresh yogurt that has been frozen can be used in any baking recipes, for cooking, sauces, and salad dressings. Don’t hesitate to get creative and pour the yogurt into popsicle molds for healthy frozen summer treats.
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