One of the best methods to stretch a grocery budget or prevent perishables from going bad is to toss them in the freezer. What dairy products besides ice cream and frozen yogurt survive the arctic temperatures? Surprisingly most do.
Pasteurized homogenized milk can be frozen for up to one month. Non-fat and low-fat milks will freeze better than whole milk. Caution: Liquids expand when frozen so be sure to remove about 1/3 cup before placing the carton in the freezer. Another option for the infrequent milk user is to freeze individual portions in smaller glass jars.
Thawing Tip: Once thawed be sure to shake your milk well. This necessary for taste and quality to remix the mix fats.
Hard cheese such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella and Swiss can be frozen for up to 4-6 months. Beware, they may become dry and crumbly upon thawing. It’s usually best to only freeze cheese that will be used for cooking or melting and not slicing. One way to combat the crumbliness is to shred the cheese and place measured amounts into freezer bags for use in tacos, casseroles or lasagna.
Storage Tips: If freezing blocks of cheese divide into chunks no bigger than 1 pound and wrap tightly.
Soft cheese such as cream cheese and Mascarpone can be frozen for up to 4-6 months. It may lose a bit of creaminess once thawed but after a quick mix with a spoon will be fine for baking or cooking.
Sour Cream & Yogurt
These two are tricky. They can be frozen but may become grainy and separate after thawing. Fruit flavored yogurts may fare better because of the sugar and fruit but should be stirred well to reincorporate once thawed.
Since eggs can last in the refrigerator for a few weeks past their due date it’s often unnecessary to freeze them and instead leave them alone in vintage egg cartons. If, however, you find yourself with an abundance and need to freeze remember they must be removed from the shell to avoid expanding and breaking. Once that is completed here are your two options:
Whole Eggs – Stir (don’t whip or whisk) to mix the yolk and whites. When packaging leave ½ inch of head space to allow for expansion. You can also pour the stirred eggs into ice cube trays and freeze. When completely frozen transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for storage. Some people advise adding 1 tbsp. sugar or 1/2 tsp. salt per cup whole eggs to help prevent the graininess that can occur when thawing.
Separated Eggs – After separating the whites and yolks gently stir each and add to freezer containers again allowing ½ inch head space.
Measurement: 1 TBS of yolk equals one egg yolk. 2 TBS of whites equals one egg white. 3 TBS of whole egg mix equals one whole egg.
Butter can last for 6-12 months in the freezer. Unsalted butter can lose its flavor over time and should only be frozen for 3-6 months.
Storage Tip: Even if butter is still in the store packaging, overwrapping it can help prevent freezer odors from seeping in.
Cottage Cheese can be frozen for up to one month. The same goes for Ricotta cheese which has a similar consistency.
Avoid freezing cream all together. Light creams and Half & Half do no freeze well and heavier creams will not whip up to usual volume after freezing. Whipped cream can be frozen in individual portions by scooping into mounds on a tray and freezing. Once frozen transfer to a container for storage.
How To Thaw
All dairy items should be thawed in the refrigerator and may take a day or two, so plan ahead. Once thawed be sure to use the product within a day or two.
Now it’s your turn, have you tried freezing dairy products before? What was your experience like? Do you have any tips to add or share?
Photo Credit: Northfield