Yes, you can freeze half-and-half just by placing it in the fridge, provided that you do so by its expiration date. If you decide to freeze half and half in its unopened cardboard box, simply be ready to use it all when you remove it from the freezer to defrost; the same goes for a half-and-half carton that is already opened. Since the cardboard used in packaging half-and-half cannot handle freezer temperatures, you are better off moving leftover half-and-half to a freezer-safe bag.
|Remove||Take half and half out of the cardboard box|
|Place||Place it in a freezer-safe bag and seal it tightly|
|Freeze||Label it and freeze it|
It is not a good idea to freeze the half-and-half inside a cardboard box if it is already opened; instead, use a sealed container or a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. If you do not have a vacuum sealer, you can keep the container in the freezer bag, or you can even wrap it in plastic wrap for a second layer of protection. You need to seal each bag tight to prevent any leaks and excess exposure to the cold air in the freezer. For cream cheese, you will want to wrap smaller portions in plastic wrap before placing in the freezer bag.
You can adjust the amount for your desired serving size, but make sure you write that down on each freezer bag. Place in freezer until frozen, and then pop out cubes and put into labeled zippered freezer bags for storage. You can also put the half-and-half into an ice cube tray, and then, when frozen, remove them from the tray and put in a sealed container or a freezer bag. I will often freeze the half and half in an ice cube jar, then, after freezing, transfer the smaller cubes into a ziploc bag.
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Once a Ziploc bag of a smaller size is frozen, you can stack bags (or bags) one on top of another in your freezer without taking up much room. When a half-and-half is fully frozen solid, you can pull a freezer-safe Ziploc bag off of a cookie sheet and stack and lay it flat on your freezer, or prop it up on the sides of the freezer to save space. Place the lined baking sheet into your freezer, and when your patties are frozen, you can transfer your patties into a freezer-safe bag and store them until needed. Depending on preference, you may either place a freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag on its side or prop it against a freezer wall.
It is best to move your food to a resealable container or zip-lock bag that allows air escape. Even if you devise a way to pull out the air and seal an open cardboard box, you would need to re-use it again if it is re-used. If a carton is not opened, and you are not concerned that you have to use all of it after you have defrosted it, you may want to just freeze it like that, though this is not recommended. If your carton is cracking or splitting, pull it right out of the freezer and repackage it as frozen while still frozen, putting it back into the freezer ASAP, or thawing it out and using.
Just make sure you leave a little room on top of the container for it to expand, and mark your freezer date on the side to let you know how long it is been in the freezer. Remember to label each freezer-safe bag with its freezing date, so that you can always tell how long you kept the frozen half-and-half. Conservatively, you could store the half and half frozen for 2-3 months, but with a cooler freezer and in truly airtight containers, you could likely store it a month or two longer. The longer you leave your half and half frozen, particularly in a freezer that gets used frequently and thus has temperature fluctuations in the minutes, the greater the risks are to the texture and flavour as you use it.
Freezing your half-and-half can change the texture a bit, but you should not have a problem using your frozen half-and-half to make baked goods. The ingredients used to substitute the cream and fats in the milk will absolutely destroy the texture of your half and half when it is defrosted, and no shaking or stirring will make it taste good again. It is best to purchase one that has a higher milk fat content, so that you can balance it out with a lower-fat dairy product for similar results. You can freeze low-fat half-and-half, however depending on the producer, there might be a few extra products that may come out when frozen, so check this out first before settling on which producer you are going to purchase from long-term.
If you know after purchase you are not going to use the entire cream, we suggest freezing some at once. You can also freeze the milk and cream small portions into ice-cube trays, about 2 tablespoons per cube, or per cup into sealed glass or plastic containers. For the sour cream and yogurt, you can freeze these in their own plastic containers, or split them up in small, sealed glass or plastic containers to store, too.
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Of course, if you are picky about coffee, you can always measure out portions into standard tray sizes. If you would like a serving to be slightly larger than the coffee cup portion I suggested, then rather than filling an ice-cube tray halfway, just fill it. If you are only going to have a single cup of coffee in the morning, take a single cube out of the freezer at night, place in a cup, and keep it in the refrigerator overnight.
Do not keep the frozen half-and-half near the front of the freezer, because if the door is left unlocked, some part of the frozen half-and-half will begin to melt. Also, any liquids which are frozen will also expand in the freezing process and that puts pressure on a container which is not designed for, or freezer-safe.
Can I use expired unopened half-and-half?
Half and half usually last at least 3 to 5 days after the “expiration” date. You get a generosity of 7 to 10 days when you open it. It depends on the producer, so it is critical to read the label. That means your unopened half and half from two days ago is probably still safe to use.
At what temperature does half and half freeze?
Half and half is a mixture of milk and cream, so it has a lower freezing point than milk or cream alone. The exact freezing point will depend on the ratio of milk to cream in the half and half, but it’s typically around 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I freeze half-and-half for coffee?
The answer is yes – you can freeze half-and-half for coffee! Just pour it into an ice cube tray and pop it into the freezer. Once it’s frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag or container. When you’re ready to use them, just add a few cubes to your coffee, and voila – perfect coffee every time.