Creme Fraiche is French for ‘fresh cream’ and is made by introducing culture to dairy cream.
This process is known as ‘souring.’ BBC says that this process gives crème Fraiche its thickness and signature sour taste.
The acidic flavor and thick consistency of creme fraiche make it a versatile ingredient.
It is excellent as toppings on fruits, salads, and savory items like meats and curries.
The high-fat content of creme Fraiche also makes it great for heated cooking because it doesn’t curdle.
But like most dairy products, creme Fraiche doesn’t last long. It can go rancid if kept open after using.
Plus, keeping it in the fridge will hardly extend its lifespan to more than a few weeks.
Freezing is a popular option to preserve many food items. And it certainly can be done to creme Fraiche.
But can you freeze creme Fraiche without affecting its taste and texture? Read on to find out.
Does Freezing Affect Creme Fraiche?
Yes, freezing does affect creme fraiche, but it is not irreversible.
Since it’s a dairy product and has a high-fat content and freezing, it can cause some changes.
The fat in creme Fraiche might separate from the whey, which is a pale yellow liquid when you free it.
And you may also notice some changes color of the cream.
When the whey separates, it can also freeze.
And if this is allowed to melt and mix with the cream, it will create a runny consistency.
However, there are ways to return it to its original texture.
So freezing crème Fraiche is not necessarily the worst option.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service says that freezing is one of the most effective ways to preserve foods thoroughly.
If kept at the freezing point of 0°F constantly, your food will stay good for a long time.
It is because freezing stops bacterial and enzyme activity, which are the leading causes of rancid food.
Incidentally, dairy products happen to have the lipase enzyme, which causes the rancid flavor.
The lipase breaks down the butterfat into free fatty acids.
As such, freezing slows down this enzymic activity and keeps the crème Fraiche fresh.
However, freezing creme Fraiche is not as straightforward as other foods.
It requires a bit of diligence before and after freezing. The following section will guide you on that.
How to Freeze Creme fraiche?
When you freeze creme fraiche, it is best to section it out into smaller portions.
Smaller portions are easier to manage, prevent contamination, and are easier to defrost.
Here are two different methods that you can use to freeze creme fraiche:
Freeze with Bags or Containers.
Depending on your preferences, you can either use bags or small containers. But they have to be air-tight.
Scoop out the crème Fraiche into the different containers or bags. You can portion out the crème Fraiche however size you want.
But make sure there is at least 30% space in the container to allow for expansion.
If you are using a bag, squeeze out as much air as possible when you seal the bag. If it is a container, then seal it tightly.
Label your bags and container with dates, and then place them into the freezer.
Crème Fraiche should last for up to 4 months in the freezer.
Freeze with Ice cube tray.
This method is excellent if you want to get serving-size portions.
Get an ice cube tray of any size.
But make sure it’s a little bigger than what you need, as the creme Fraiche will expand when freezing.
Scoop the creme Fraiche into the ice cube tray. Remember to leave at least 30% space in each mold for expansion.
Next, pop the trays into the freezer. Leave them in the freezer for several hours.
After they’ve frozen, transfer the cubes into air-tight containers or bags.
Keeping the cubes in the tray without a proper covering will cause the water in the cubes to evaporate.
It is due to a process called sublimation.
Next, label the bags or containers and put them back into the freezer.
How to Thaw Frozen Creme fraiche?
Thawing out your frozen creme Fraiche is possible, but it is tricky.
There is a high risk of it not returning to the original texture and becoming too runny.
It is because the water and fat are separated, so we need to mix them back together.
Follow all these steps carefully to make sure your creme Fraiche thaws out well:
Take the frozen creme fraiche out of the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator at least a day before you need to use it.
Doing this will not only help the creme Fraiche defrost on its own but control the amount of moisture released from the ice.
If you leave it out at room temperature immediately after removing it from the freezer, it might cause more significant problems.
The stark temperature difference can cause more moisture to form in the bag or container.
Defrosting in the fridge will take about 8 hours or so.
Once that is done, you can remove it from the refrigerator.
Transfer to a mixing bowl or any other more giant bowl.
Grab a whisk or a large spoon and begin gently mixing the water and the cream.
After most of it is incorporated, you need to start whisking vigorously.
It may take you up to 10 minutes to mix the fat and water into a cream.
You can also use a machine to mix the creme fraiche.
But there’s not much control, so that you might end up over-mixing it.
Once the creme fraiche has returned to its original texture, you can usually use it.
Freezing creme Fraiche may be a little labor-intensive.
However, it does work. You have to be a little patient.
Once creme Fraiche freezes, unthawing is not much of an issue, the real work comes when you have to get it back to the original texture.
One thing you have to keep in mind, however, is that not all creme Fraiche come in the same texture and thickness.
So, not all of them work out after freezing. You’ll have to try and find out for yourself.
Our tip for you is to leave freezing creme Fraiche as the last option.
It will be a great option if you have some leftovers and want to store some later.