Single cream is perfect for adding a depth of flavor to any dish you can think of, whether that’s something sweet like fruit or cake, or savory dishes such as curries, soups, or stews.
Single cream is also sold as pouring cream, or light cream, and has a much lower fat content than double cream, at about half.
But what if you’ve overestimated how much cream you’ll need, or if you know it’ll go off before you have a chance to use it? Can you freeze it?
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Single Cream?
The short answer is that it depends on what you want to use it for. If you’re thinking of whipping it once it’s defrosted, well, unfortunately it won’t whip.
Single cream is like a lot of dairy products, in that the levels of fat make it a little difficult to freeze it properly (see also Freezing Double Cream). You will notice that it may become grainy, or some separation will occur once you thaw it, and there’s nothing to stop this.
If you are planning on using defrosted single cream in cooking, freezing the single cream is the perfect way to preserve it for later.
The shelf life of single cream – like all dairy products – depends on how fresh it is when it gets to the store, the way it has been processed, whether it’s been near any heat sources, and how it’s been packed.
Normally, single cream will last about a fortnight in the fridge, and maybe a week after its expiry date.
When you freeze single cream (see also Freezing Clotted Cream), it will last for about 4 months before the quality noticeably degrades, provided it’s been packed properly.
How Do You Freeze Single Cream?
If you know you won’t open and use the entire carton before it goes off, you don’t even have to remove the cream before you freeze it.
Simply stick the single cream into the freezer, provided that its original packaging is freezer friendly.
In An Ice Cube Tray
If you think single serving portions of cream would be easier, you can freeze single cream (see also How To Freeze Crème Fraîche) in an ice cube tray.
This helps cut down on the defrosting time, and you can take out as much as you need at once.
Divide the cream between the compartments, and stick it in the freezer. Remove the ice cube tray after an hour, and put the frozen cream into a resealable freezer bag. Seal it, label it, and freeze it.
In A Larger Portion
If you have lots of leftover cream, but you know what you’ll use it for once it’s defrosted, pour the cream into a rigid, airtight container.
Make sure to leave some headroom, so the cream can expand without bursting the container, and seal it. Label it, and freeze it.
The Best Way To Defrost Single Cream
When you want to use the cream, take the container out of the freezer and put it straight into the fridge. Allow the single cream to thaw for as long as it takes.
How quickly it will defrost depends on the amount of cream you want to thaw at one time. It may take a couple of hours, or it could take overnight.
If you don’t have that kind of time, you can put the container into a bowl of lukewarm tap water to speed it up, but there may be more texture changes.
Once it has fully defrosted, you may see some separation. Stir the cream to encourage the solids and liquids to combine once more.
Single cream is easy to freeze (see also Freezing Double Cream), and the separation that occurs once defrosted is also a simple fix. This means that you can enjoy single cream and add it to any dish whenever you want!