Half and half is a popular dairy product made by mixing half cream and half whole milk. As its name suggests, it is thinner than cream and thicker than milk.
Most people use it in desserts, sauces, and soups. Additionally, it can be a creamer for coffee.
If you have stocked up on half and half, you may wonder, can you freeze half and half? The answer is yes. Although most dairy products, including cream-based products, don’t freeze properly, half and half can freeze well. Note that half and half have a thin consistency.
Therefore, the chances are that it will split or break when you thaw it and have a curdled appearance.
The good news is that you can quickly fix this by whisking it until it gets to its original consistency.
This article discusses half and half’s shelf life, storage, freezing, and signs of spoilage. Read on.
Half and Half Shelf Life
Unopened half and half will last for up to 5 days past the expiry date when stored properly. Always check the package for the expiry date before buying it.
If you continuously refrigerate half and half, it will retain its quality for up to 7 days after opening it.
When frozen, half and half will retain its peak quality for up to 3 months. Freezing may alter half and half’s consistency, but it will still be okay for baking and cooking.
If you freeze half and half at a consistent temperature of o degrees Fahrenheit, it will be safe to use for an indefinite period.
Ultra-pasteurized half and half has a slightly longer shelf life compared to pasteurized half and half. Generally, it will last for up to 14 days.
The small half and half creamers last for several weeks past the expiry date, which is usually several months after the date of production.
How to Store Half and Half
Since half and half is a dairy product, you should refrigerate it at all times. Seal the bottle or carton tightly, then store it at the far corner of your fridge, where the temperature is constant.
Don’t store it at the door since the temperature there fluctuates a lot, which isn’t appropriate for dairy products.
You can store half and half creamers at room temperature away from sunlight. The pantry or kitchen cabinet are ideal options.
Storing Half and Half at Room Temperature. Is it safe?
It would be best if you did not store half and half at room temperature.
If you accidentally leave it sitting out for more than 2 hours, you should discard it since it will no longer be safe to use, and its quality will no longer be suitable.
How to Freeze Half and Half
As discussed above, freezing may affect the texture and flavor of half and half. However, you can still freeze it to extend its shelf life.
To freeze unopened half and half, place it in the freezer in its original packaging. Since it is in its original packaging, half and half won’t be exposed to oxygen when it thaws. Therefore, it will retain its peak quality and won’t split.
To freeze leftover half and half, you’ll need a plastic jug that has an airtight lid. Pour the half and half into the jar, leaving at least ½ inch space at the top to give it room for expansion. Place the jug in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
Alternatively, you can freeze half and half in ice cube trays.
Freezing it this way is highly recommended since each time you need to use it in your dish or coffee, all you have to do is pop a few of the cubes and leave the rest in the freezer.
Pour the half and half into the ice cube trays and pop the trays in the freezer. Note that one half and half cube translates to two tablespoons of half and half.
How to Thaw Half and Half
The best way to thaw half and half is to place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Wait until it has melted entirely before removing it from the fridge.
Note that the half and half looks broken or split after thawing. Splitting is not a sign that it has gone bad. Half and half breaks because the butterfat clamps when it melts.
To regain its original consistency, whisk the half and half until all the ingredients combine thoroughly. Once you get the desired consistency, use it in cooking, baking, or coffee.
Can You Refreeze Thawed Half and Half?
Like other dairy products, refreezing half and half after you have thawed it is not advisable.
Therefore, it would be best to freeze it in smaller portions that you are sure you’d use at one go.
If you have any half and half leftover after defrosting, store it in your refrigerator and use it within three days.
Signs of Spoilage
Like other dairy products, half and half goes bad. The four most common signs of spoilage are; lumps, sour aroma, visible mold, and moldy smell.
A sour aroma and lumps are a sign that you either stored the half and half for too long or didn’t store it properly. Discard it if it has a sour aroma or lumps
Spoiled half and half can also have visible mold or a moldy smell. Throw it out if you notice mold or a musty smell.
What does it mean when Half and Half separates? Has it gone bad?
Although manufacturers use stabilizers and emulsifiers during manufacturing, there are instances when the cream separates from the milk, especially when you store it for an extended time.
It is no wonder most manufacturers advise users to shake the product before use.
Separation is not a sign that your half and half has gone bad. It is a regular occurrence. Shake the bottle and use it in cooking, baking, or coffee.
Sometimes, half and half curdles when you add it to hot beverages like coffee. Curdling indicates that the half and half is old.
Although it may still be safe to use, the coffee most definitely won’t be nice to drink. No one likes coffee that has curdled cream.
If you notice that your half and half is old, you can either discard it for quality purposes or use it in baking and cooking since it will still taste okay.
You can freeze half and half if you want to extend its shelf life. Use the tips discussed above to freeze half and half properly.
If you are doubtful about the quality of half and half, check for the signs of spoilage. Discard it if it has lumps, a sour aroma, mold, or a moldy smell.