Sour cream is a very popular food item. It can be used as a dip or add-on for snacks like chips and pretzels or as a topping for your favorite Mexican dish whether it be tacos, burritos, quesadillas or enchiladas. Since sour cream can be used in a variety of ways, most people will want to buy a large container of it in case they need a lot of sour cream for a family party or a social gathering with friends. When you have leftover sour cream and you don’t know when or where you’ll be using it again, the all-important question remains for our readers: Can you freeze sour cream?
Can You Freeze Sour Cream?
The answer to this hotly debated question is yes, precautions and steps must be taken. However, the consistency of the sour cream itself is likely to be affected to some extent and will not be the same after the freezing and thawing process. Instead of having its original, smooth consistency, the sour cream will become more like cottage cheese in terms of having a lumpier consistency.
During the freezing and thawing process, it is likely that the sour cream will have its fat separate from the other ingredients. However, despite the change in its consistency, the taste and flavor of the sour cream will remain the same and will be safe to eat.
The Freezing Process
In order to achieve the best tasting results from freezing your sour cream, it is important to abide by the following steps and measures:
- Mix or whip together the sour cream together in a bowl so that the texture and composition are evenly distributed. By doing this before freezing, the contents of the sour cream will stick together and separation of ingredients will be minimized.
- Place the sour cream in either a tightly sealed freezer bag or a freezer-safe container that is airtight. Remember to squeeze or let out any excess air from the container / freezer bag before freezing the sour cream.
- To save space, remember to lay the container or freezer bag evenly in the middle of the freezer without being squished or morphed by other freezer contents.
- Lastly, please label the date of when the sour cream was first put into the freezer with a permanent marker. The time period of freezing for the sour cream should be a length of two to four months. Anytime longer than the four months for the freezing process will start to ruin the taste and texture of the sour cream.
The Thawing Process
In order to thaw the sour cream, remove it from the freezer. Then, you must defrost it in the refrigerator for up to a day until it has thawed out completely. It is important to remember to not thaw or defrost your sour cream on the kitchen counter. By doing this, you run the risk of the food product thawing in an uneven manner, which would allow bacteria to exist in the warmer parts of the cream that defrost first.
After thawing, it is possible that the sour cream will look more like cottage cheese than the actual cream that it was before freezing. Some of the parts of the cream may have separated into smooth and lumpy parts. However, you can bring back the original texture and makeup of the sour cream by adding some cornstarch to the cream and then stir it all together to improve its consistency. By adding the cornstarch, the texture will be much smoother and the sour cream will be thicker as well.
Best Way To Use Frozen And Thawed Sour Cream
The best uses for sour cream that has been frozen and thawed are those uses in recipes where it is alright for the cream to have a completely, smooth, and consistent texture. If this is the case, your sour cream will be good for being added as a topping for a baked potato or as a dip for your chips and pretzels. Also, after freezing, the sour cream can also be used as ingredients for various baked goods such as muffins, pancakes, waffles, or cakes. When opting to freeze your sour cream, it is good to remind yourself that there will be many uses for the product.
As apart of a prepared or cooked food dish, sour cream will freeze very well if it has been mixed in or added to the existing ingredients. If you re-freeze your sour cream again as apart of a recipe, you can rest easy in knowing that the consistency or texture won’t change at all. Prepared dishes or meals with already frozen sour cream will not spoil or go bad if you decide to re-freeze it again. Once you have frozen the sour cream the first time successfully, you can re-freeze and thaw out it again as you did previously with no changes in flavor, taste, or texture.
Does Sour Cream Go Bad?
If you’re at the local supermarket in the dairy aisle and you see a big sale on containers of sour cream, what should you do? Would it be worth it to buy a few containers in bulk in order to save time and money? Will it be possible to store the sour cream properly for the long-term without it spoiling on you? The ultimate question remains; does sour cream go bad?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a strong yes. Sour cream can go bad quickly if the proper storage steps and precautions are not taken or are barely followed. Fermenting the cream to become sour does not automatically generate a long shelf life. Thus, it is up to the consumer to take the right steps in order to ensure that their sour cream product will last a while. The longest shelf life for sour cream is when it is in powdered form, which is not so easy to find in the supermarket. If you don’t have the luxury of buying powdered sour cream, you should continue to read on to figure out how to properly store sour cream, what will the shelf life be, and the signs to look for when its’ at risk of going bad on you.
Storing The Sour Cream
Very similar to most other dairy products, sour cream should definitely be stored in the refrigerator especially after it has been opened once or more. The original seal, cap, or top must be kept on top of the sour cream at all times and might be tight. If you don’t have the original top for the container, you should get one that is airtight. The most important detail to keep in mind when storing the sour cream is to not expose it to the outside elements. These elements include oxygen, heat, sunlight, water, etc. There’s no quicker way for the sour cream to go bad then to leave the top opening and let the sour cream be exposed to bacteria, and other harmful elements.
Sour cream, when stored, should be cool, dark, and dry at all times. After being used, the sour cream should always be sealed tightly and placed back into the refrigerator. You should also try to keep the sour cream away from the refrigerator door in order to maintain the same temperature at all times. You can also freeze the sour cream but it may be best to refrigerate it instead in order for the product to be more readily available for usage. With freezing, you have to be careful during the thawing and defrosting processes.
It is also not recommended to store sour cream at room temperature, especially when it’s been opened before. A kitchen cabinet or the kitchen counter is no place to put your container of sour cream.
Shelf Life of Sour Cream
Most packages and containers of sour cream come with a “Use By” or “Best Before” date on them. It’s important to remember that this isn’t an expiration date so much as it is a date that indicates when the quality of the sour cream will begin to inevitably decline. If the sour cream is unopened, it is likely to last about two to three weeks after the initial purchase. The container should last for about a week after the “Use By” or “Best Before” date goes by as well.
After the container or package of sour cream is opened, it is likely to last about a week or two before it begins to lose its overall quality and go bad. Each kind of sour cream is different and if you’re looking for the type that will last the longest, you should check out powdered sour cream. As a consumer, you should check every week or so to see if the sour cream is still good and it would be wise to discard the product after a month passes from the date of purchase because it’s likely to have gone bad by then.
Check out this interesting video that explains what happens to dairy when it goes bad:
Signs of Bad Sour Cream
Overall, there are a couple of different ways to tell if your sour cream is still good or not. You should first open and check the container or package to see what the texture of the product is like and if there’s any discoloration. You’ll also want to make sure that there’s no serious mold or bacteria forming or that the sour cream has become clumpy. If the liquid of the sour cream has begun to separate from its’ other contents, it hasn’t gone bad but you should stir the mixture together again to keep it in good shape. Also, if you were not convinced by the appearance test, it would be wise to do a smell test after opening the container. If there’s a four smell or unusually pungent odor compared to its’ normal one, you may want to send the sour cream to the trashcan.
Last but not least, a definitive way to tell if your sour cream is still worth it is to do a small test with a spoon. It won’t make you sick and you can tell whether or not the product still appeals to you with its’ original flavor or if its’ just not the same and has a bland, flavorless appeal. Use your best judgment with this delicious and useful product.
Sour cream is a delicious and useful dairy product that can be used as a topping, ingredient, or can be eaten on its own by consumers. There are many different ways for this particular product to be utilized. It is especially popular in being used with Mexican-style dishes like nachos, burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, quesadillas, etc. In addition, it can also be added to chili, baked potatoes, and even crackers or chips as a dip. Sour cream is mostly popular in Europe and North America but can still be found in multiple countries around the world. Sour cream is first created as a result of mixing and fermenting regular cream from a cow with certain types of lactic acid bacteria. The fermentation causes the cream to sour given the product its’ unique flavor and taste. It’s important to keep in mind that there are many different kinds of sour cream from low fat to no fat at all. However, sour cream does go bad so if you want to keep it for longer, it’s best to freeze it.