Crème fraîche thick cultured cream soured with a bacterial culture. It’s just like sour cream but with higher fat and lower protein content. It doesn’t curdle like sour cream when heat is applied to it, which makes it a better condiment or thickener for tons of meals, including appetizers, main dishes and desserts.
From soups to fruit salad (see also How To Freeze Kiwi) topping, crème fraîche has plenty of uses in the kitchen. You can make it at home, and as it often goes, it’s usually easier to make a large amount at once. But what to do with leftover crème fraîche? You can keep it in the fridge for 5 to 7 days, but if you don’t use it by then, you’ll have to throw it away. That’s a pity.
The first thing that comes to mind is freezing it. And yes, that’s an option. You can store crème fraîche in the freezer for up to 4 months. But keep in mind that maintaining the original consistency will be hard work. Every fatty dairy product that was frozen begins to separate when it’s defrosting, which will affect the cream texture. While in the freezer, tiny ice cubes have formed inside the container crème fraîche was packed in. As it’s defrosting, those ice cubes are turning into water, which in turn dilutes your cream.
But that doesn’t mean your crème fraîche is done for. To incorporate the water back into the cream, give it by giving it a quick and vigorous whisk until you get a uniform texture.
Let’s see first how we can freeze the leftover crème fraîche first.
How Can I Freeze Crème Fraîche?
Dairy products aren’t known for long shelf lives, and crème fraîche is no different. And the more you keep it at room temperature, the shorter that life becomes. That’s why you should freeze crème fraîche, or any other dairy product, as soon as you’re done using it. If you’ve got a large portion of cream left, it’s better to pack them in smaller portions before freezing (see also How To Freeze Double Cream). We do this because once defrosted, crème fraîche cannot be frozen again.
The best way to store crème fraîche is to pack it in releasable plastic bags. Use a large spoon to scoop it into the bag, and leave at least an inch of free space. Once frozen, the liquid will expand. If there’s no space, your plastic bag will burst and make a mess in your freezer. Always label what’s in a bag as well as the storage date. As we said, crème fraîche after 4 months is no good.
If you need only a small portion of crème fraîche at a time, you can use an ice tray to store it. Just pour the cream into the tray and pop it in the freezer. It takes no more than 2 hours for the cream to freeze (see also How To Freeze Clotted Cream). Once the cream is rock solid, pop the cubes out and store them all in a releasable plastic bag or a container.
How Should Crème Fraîche Be Defrosted?
Defrosting crème fraîche should be gradual. Take it out of the freezer and store it in the fridge. It should sit there for 4 to 6 hours to thaw slowly.
As it’s thawing, you’ll be able to see ingredients separating from each other. It will look messy, but don’t worry, it’s easily fixed. Just pour the cream into a bowl and do a couple of vigorous whisks until you see the ingredients unify again. Your crème fraîche should be back to its original state.
Crème fraîche is a versatile condiment that’s super easy to make at home. As it goes, there are often leftovers. Luckily, crème fraîche can be frozen, so you can store it for up to four months.