Half and a half isn’t just the perfect addition to a cup of coffee in the morning; it’s also a great ingredient to keep in the fridge. Is it possible to store it in the freezer to stop it from expiring and make it last longer?
For more great guides on freezing, why not learn all about How to Freeze Soups (Cream vs. Other)? Or whether or not you can Freeze Milk?
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Can You Freeze Half and Half?
Though rarely seen outside of North America, half and half is the ultimate way to get some dairy in your coffee.
However, despite how convenient keeping half and half around is, it is surprisingly difficult to get it to last more than a few days once it is open, primarily because of its higher fat content.
So, could you freeze your half and half to avoid it going off?
What Actually Is Half and Half?
You need to be pretty careful if you try and order half and half, depending on where you are in the world.
If you order it in Switzerland, you will get a very milky coffee, whereas in Scotland, you will end up with whiskey and a half pint of beer.
In North America, though, half and half is the quintessential cream addition to a coffee.
Half and half in North America is a blend of half milk and half cream, creating a very light, thin cream that is great for enriching coffees or even using to make ice cream.
It does tend to go off, though, so being able to freeze it would certainly help a lot in letting you keep it in the house.
What Happens When You Freeze Half and Half?
The problem with freezing any liquid, especially a fatty liquid like half and half, is that fat and water do not like to stay together when frozen.
Milk, and half and half as well, are only held in suspension due to being a colloidal emulsion, which helps the fat stay in suspension within the water.
Once you freeze it, though, the water turns to ice, and the fat separates, so you need to be careful, lest you end up with a fatty layer sitting on top of your half and half.
How To Freeze Unopened Half and Half
If you find yourself with too much-unopened half and half, it can be pretty easy to freeze it, as the original container will likely be freezer safe.
Just make sure it actually has a rigid container and not something flimsy and burstable like a thin plastic film.
You also want to make sure that the container has room for the half and half to expand as well. If the container is too full, the half and half might burst it as it expands during freezing, meaning you will end up with half and half all over your freezer.
So long as it has enough space in the container and it is rigid enough o protect the half and half, then you can just freeze it as is.
How To Freeze Half and Half You Already Opened
The more common problem is to discover that the half and half that you opened is quickly approaching its expiry date, and thus it could go off before you get a chance to use it.
The first thing to do is to check if the half and half are actually expiring; most supermarkets will put use-by dates on their products that are more focused on the highest level of quality rather than anything to do with safety.
This means that your half and half will probably be perfectly safe to use many days after its expiry. Just give it a sniff and make sure it hasn’t gone off, and you can probably use it for a bit longer.
If you do want to freeze it to help preserve it, though, you definitely need to decant it into a different container, as the opened container will cause the half and half to get freezer burned.
The best thing to do is to store it in a freezer-safe, resealable container, one with a tightly fitted lid and plenty of space.
So long as you make sure to leave a bit of space for it to expand as it freezes, you can easily freeze a pretty large amount of half and half for a long time.
A great trick for added convenience is to freeze your half and half in an ice cube tray. So long as you keep the frozen half and half cubes covered in the freezer, they will stay good for over 6 months.
Plus, you can just pop one cube of half and half out at a time, and if you get the right ice cube tray, the individual cubes will probably be the perfect size for adding milk to your coffee.
How To Defrost Half and Half
Once you have frozen your half and half, you will need to thoroughly defrost it before using it.
Unless you freeze it in such small cubes that you can just add it directly to your coffee, you should let the whole block of half and half defrost slowly over 24 hours in the fridge. This ensures the best texture and minimizes the risk of the fat separating.
How To Use Frozen Half and Half
While freezing half and half is a great way to reduce waste and ensure you always have some on hand, the freezing process inevitably reduces the flavor and texture of the half and half no matter what you do.
You should try and save defrosted half and half for uses where you won’t really be able to tell the texture of the liquid, like in recipes calling for cream or in your coffee in the morning.
You don’t want to eat it directly or turn it into a cream topping, as the fat separation will be noticeable unless it gets a chance to meld together with other ingredients.
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