Sitting somewhere between yogurt and sour cream, creme fraiche is perfect for thickening pasta sauces and soups or can even be mixed with sugar and served alongside fresh fruit for a sweet treat.
However, because you rarely need a whole tub of this indulgent dairy product for a recipe, you might find yourself throwing out the remainder or leaving it to sit in the fridge until it starts to grow mold.
To preserve the shelf life of creme fraiche you can in fact freeze it, however, it can be a little tricky to get it right. The good news is there are a few different ways you can freeze it depending on how much you use in one go.
So, let’s have a little look at how to freeze creme fraiche, and how you go about defrosting it, too…
How to freeze creme fraiche
Method 1: Freezer Bags
To begin, you’re going to want to ensure your creme fraiche is, well, fresh. It’s no use picking one that is fast approaching its use-by date.
As we said, there are a few different methods to freeze creme fraiche, but if you’ll be using a few spoonfuls of it every time, it’s best to freeze it in bags:
- You’ll need thick freezer bags for this method as you want to avoid any leakages or unwanted odors seeping in.
- Spoon your creme fraiche into the freezer bags. The amount you put in each bag should depend on how much you’re likely to use each time.
- Seal up the freezer bags, but be sure to squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
- Then simply place the bags into the freezer.
Method 2: Ice Cubes
If you will be using just one tablespoon in your recipes, it seems pointless to freeze such a small amount in several freezer bags, so it may be more convenient to freeze it in the form of ice cubes.
This will allow you to choose the quantity of creme fraiche you need without having to defrost the entire lot:
- Spoon your creme fraiche into an ice cube tray. Fill each slot to about 80%, so there’s a little room on top for the creme fraiche to expand while it’s freezing.
- Next, wrap your tray in cling wrap to protect it and prevent spillages. You can then place the tray in the freezer for several hours.
- Wait for the cubes to freeze completely and then transfer them into a freezer bag before putting them back in the freezer.
How to defrost creme fraiche
Defrosting creme fraiche is super easy.
Just transfer your cubes or bag into a bowl and refrigerate overnight so the cream can slowly thaw.
HowevEr, it’s the next bit you really need to pay attention to:
Thawed creme fraiche looks a little different from when it’s fresh.
The texture will change, as the fats will have separated from the liquid.
To fix this, you’ll need to whisk the creme fraiche vigorously to blend the fat and liquid back together. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a grainy, lumpy creme fraiche rather than that smooth, velvety texture.
Factors to consider before freezing creme fraiche
You’ll want to ensure you freeze fresh creme fraiche, rather than a half-opened tub that is approaching its use-by date. The fresher the creme fraiche, the better chance you have of preserving its original texture.
Other than the use-by date, you’ll be able to tell if your creme fraiche has turned bad by its scent. While it should smell tangy and a little acidic, it should still smell very fresh, so if it smells overly sour it’s probably unsalvageable.
It’s a hard fact that creme fraiche simply won’t taste as good after freezing as it does fresh.
This goes for all dairy products, particularly those with a high fat content like creme fraiche, as the fat will separate from the liquid. This is because ice forms within the actual body of the cream, so the water content has melted but the fat is left solid.
This doesn’t mean that freezing is off the cards completely. It just means it’s vital that once your cream has thawed you whisk it to blend the fat and liquid back together. This will increase your chances of salvaging the original texture.
When kept in the fridge, creme fraiche will last 5 to 7 days.
Kept in the freezer, it will keep for 2 to 4 months. To preserve its shelf life, keep the freezer temperature at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best way to freeze your creme fraiche depends largely on how much of the cream you’ll need in one go.
For small amounts that can be used for salad dressings or to drizzle on soup, it’s a good idea to freeze the creme fraiche in ice cubes, as this way you can just take the precise number you need each time.
Alternatively, for larger quantities for use in recipes, it’s best to freeze a precise amount in a freezer bag.
Whichever method you choose, ensure your freezer bag is well sealed to reduce the risk of ice forming in the cream.
Creme fraiche is a delicious, indulgent ingredient that has an endless list of uses. It’s perfect added to soups or recipes or used to accompany fresh fruit. It’s extremely versatile and is a halfway point between sweet and savory making it adaptable to almost any dish.
Creme fraiche is always best served fresh, however freezing it is a good way to preserve the cream and get more out of it over the space of a few months.
It’s also extremely handy for freezing in small batches so you can access precise amounts rather than defrosting the entire lot.
The most important thing to remember is to thaw the creme fraiche in the refrigerator and then to whisk it thoroughly to blend the fat and liquid back together, as once defrosted, creme fraiche tends to separate.