Can I Freeze Dairy Products?

It is preferable to use all dairy products fresh, but it may sometimes be necessary to freeze something to make it last a little longer. While freezing suspends the spoilage process, it is always recommended that defrosted dairy products be used as quickly as possible. Also, each dairy product is different. Here are some tips and things to consider before you freeze your favourite dairy produce:

Cheese can be frozen at 0°C or lower, but it may become mealy or crumbly when thawed. Use in salads as toppings or in cooked dishes, preferably as soon as possible after thawing. Some cheeses are better frozen than others. Gradually thaw the frozen cheese in a refrigerator for best results.

Freezing does not harm milk but does cause it to separate, changing its texture and appearance, and possibly affecting its taste. If you must freeze milk, ensure there is extra space in the container to allow for the liquid to expand. A useful tip is to decant enough milk for a day’s requirement into smaller containers, and freeze. When you wish to defrost the milk, take it out of the freezer the evening before and store it in the fridge. Milk must never be refrozen. Milk should not be defrosted by placing the container in hot water, or by leaving it unrefrigerated. This may cause the milk to go off.

Cream can be frozen for 1 to 2 months. To freeze, place your cream in a plastic bottle or carton, but make sure to leave some room for it to expand once frozen. It will separate once thawed; it is also important to note that frozen-then-defrosted cream will not whip as nicely as fresh cream. The cream will develop ice crystals the longer it sits in your freezer, and the added water content will prevent the cream from becoming as voluminous as a new tub of fresh cream. If you plan to whip your cream, it is best to do so in advance of freezing: Whip your cream to soft peaks, dollop the mixture onto baking trays lined with grease paper, then freeze until firm and transfer to zip-top bags until ready to use.

When frozen, unsalted butter can last up to five months and salted butter can last up to nine months with proper storage. To keep the butter tasting as fresh as possible, keep it in its original wrapping. It can also be wrapped up in foil or plastic and put it in an air-tight container. This will make sure the butter does not absorb other flavours. Keep the butter frozen until ready to be used, and then allow it to defrost in the refrigerator.

Yoghurt can be frozen in its original container and kept for up to two months. Thaw the yoghurt by moving it from the freezer to the refrigerator at least 8 hours before you want to eat it. Sometimes the texture might become grainy or watery but giving it a good stir might get it back to its smooth texture. If not, you can always blend it with fruit and honey for a delicious smoothie.

Although it is possible to freeze most dairy products, the best way to enjoy it is fresh and refrigerated. Except your favourite ice cream, which should either be enjoyed immediately or be frozen at temperatures less than or equal to -25°C.